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Pilling and what to do

I’m entering the conversation here for the first time because it suddenly dawned on me that we all have this problem with some yarns and I haven’t yet found a good solution. My new Carbeth for example is developing pills. They really make a new sweater look shop worn in my opinion so I’d like to hear if anyone has any advice on this. I have tried one of those shavers from Knitpicks if I can name a brand. It seemed like mowing long grass with a hand mower. I also have a little tool which you are supposed to drag across your sweater and harvest all the fibers. It’s only about 3" wide and it is quite laborious to use. Are there any other handy devices out there for this job?

Some people love the gleener, I have one, but haven’t used it yet.

I love my gleener, and recommend you invest in one, but always approach a sweater for the first time by try it out on the inside so you know you’re not combing fibers out of the yarn that will just aggravate the problem. What yarn did you use that it’s pilling so quickly? Is it plied? Is it a single?

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Thank you, I will look for a Gleaner tool and see how it goes. Pilling is occuring on my new Carbeth sweater in Cascade Eco+ and on one other cardigan knit in Homestead Tweed by Plymouth Yarns.

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I have an 8 year old cardigan I wear a lot that is made with Eco and Eco+: Takoma. The yarn is soft and fairly loose in its ply, so fibers do creep out of the structure and pill, especially in the underarm area. I give it a gleen once a year. I have a skein of Homestead in the stash from a sample pack Plymouth sent me a few years ago, but I’ve never cast on with it. It does look to me like a yarn that would behave like that, but I’m wrong as often as not in those guesses. Some yarns pill a bit and then stop, others never finish their shedding.

There’s a thing spinners do called the purse test (it may not be an “official thing” maybe just among my friends) where you spin a yarn, swatch it up, and carry it around in your purse for awhile to see if the ply will wear well (i.e.: not pill). Short of going through all the project notes on Ravelry in hope that someone will tattle, I think it’s the best way to predict how a yarn will wear over time.

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Thank you, I don’t mind if a sweater only requires it once a year. Maybe what I am seeing is a one time big pill out and it will not be so bad moving forward. Time will tell I guess.

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Another place to look on Ravelry for excellent & very honest yarn-wear info is to search for that yarn itself & then go to the comments tab. I say it’s “honest” because it’s not always consistent, which makes sense given different projects gauge etc. Also often Rav automatically generates a link to the project w/pic the knitter made.

Of course it’s a crap shoot on whether there are many comments or none at all, but I’ve found this to be extremely helpful, especially for yarns on close out sales. Those comments have saved me many times since I’m genetically predisposed to buy close out yarn.

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