Posted on September 19 2014
"This minimizes the friction and will prevent yarn from pilling," she explained.
Make sure your sink is clean, and then fill it with a dime-size amount of soap and cold water. Margaret's soap of choice for cashmere and other knits is a lavender-scented shampoo from EO that she buys at Whole Foods.
Let items soak for 5 to 10 minutes. You don't have to monitor them constantly, but walk by every few minutes and give them a light rub. Personally, I submerge one hand so it touches the garment and agitate it just a touch so the water shows some movement.
Empty the sink basin and start the tap with cold water, rinsing each item individually to make sure all soap is gone.
Be warned: Your sweater will be heavy with water. Push them against the walls of the sink to get out excess moisture (avoid wringing or aggressively squeezing—be kind to your clothes!).
"Keep the sweater inside out and put it in the dryer on a low spin cycle to get the majority of the moisture out," she told me in a step that kind of blew my mind. "It's important to make sure the dryer is set to low spin and heat or else the sweater will shrink." A full cycle isn't required, and Margaret told me to keep a close eye on it, checking every 5 minutes or so. The goal is to remove some of the water but not for it to emerge ready to wear.
A cardinal rule of sweaters? "Never hang!" Put a clean towel on the floor and lay the sweater on top of it, arranging the shoulders and sleeves so it has its proper form (note from me: put the towel on a tiled floor, like in the bathroom, so you don't find a damp carpet later…). If you're in a rush, Margaret has a fix for that too: "If I'm in a real hurry, I've been known to blow-dry my sweaters on cool for a few minutes followed by a cool iron to complete the drying and take the wrinkles out."