Library and Archives Canada, PA-034386
A few of you have asked me about taking care of your kove pieces, so I thought I'd provide a full description here for future reference.
I'm always super cautious when it comes to wool - including wool blends. Maybe it's the two (precious) Abercrombie sweaters that ended up in the dryer when I was a teenager. Or maybe it's just because wool garments are usually an investment, and I want my pieces to look great for a long time.
The kove winter collection is entirely comprised of a wool / acrylic blend, while the spring and summer collections include some cotton / acrylic blends, which are easier to care for. Regardless, since each piece is created by hand, it will require a little extra attention when it's time for a wash.
Here are my recommendations:
Washing wool-blend kove pieces:
Wool-blend kove items are made with 80% acrylic, and 20% wool, which makes them supersoft as well as durable. It is important to remember that acrylic melts when heated, so please do not iron or tumble dry.
The best detergent to use is one formulated specially for delicates. Woolite has been around forever and is a reliable choice. Seventh Generation also makes an extra gentle version of their formula and is better for the environment.
2. Spot cleaning
I always recommend spot-cleaning as much as possible, as this will prevent unnecessary wear on the entire garment. To do this, take a damp white cloth with a small amount of detergent, and blot gently but do not rub. Rubbing the fabric will cause it to break down and felt.
When it's time to wash the item (I wash mine once or twice a season, tops), fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and swish in your detergent. Gently submerge the item, and squeeze gently to ensure it is fully soaked. Leave to soak for up to 10 minutes.
Next, gently lift the item out of the water, and refill the basin with clean cold water. Rinse the item in the water, pressing gently on the bottom of the basin but do not wring. Repeat until all the suds are gone. You can squeeze the item lightly, but avoid wringing out excess water as this will have the same effect as rubbing the garment.
Lay the piece out flat on a folded towel and gently form it into it proper shape. This will set the wool and ensure the piece retains its original shape when dry.
You may wish to change the towel after a few hours, depending on how much water has been soaked up. I usually flip the cowls over or turn them inside out halfway through to allow the other side to dry. Avoid the urge to play the garment in the sun, as this may fade the colour.
Allow to dry completely, and you're done!
Washing cotton-blend kove pieces:
Cotton-blend kove items are made with 50% acrylic, and 50% cotton, which makes them silky soft. Again, remember that acrylic melts when heated, so please do not iron or tumble dry.
1. Spot cleaning
Spot clean as described above, taking care not to rub the garment. Fraying will not be as obvious with the cotton blend, but it does create unnecessary wear and will break down the fabric.
Again, with cotton I recommend hand washing as I described above as it reduces the wear and tear on the garment. If you have to, machine wash on a gentle cycle in warm water.
The cotton blend will take a bit of gentle wringing to get the excess water out, but be careful not to overdo it or the fibers will fray.
Dry cotton items flat on a folded towel, or hang to dry using the wide end of a drying rack with the item fully supported. Avoid direct sunlight to preserve the colour.
That about covers it. If you have anything to add, please do!