You could say that Julie Weisenberger has a thing for gadgets. The creative brain behind the knitwear design line Cocoknits, Julie has brought us the Knitter’s Block, an ingenious set of padded floor tiles that you can assemble in different shapes to block whatever you want. Then came Knitter’s Keep, a handy magnetized slap-on wrist bracelet to hold your stitch markers and tapestry needles while you work.
And now, Julie has assembled an attractive tote bag with all the tools she thinks you’ll need for hand-washing and blocking your handknits. It’s called the Sweater Care Kit.
What You Get
The Knitter’s Keep comes in a jute tote bag with the Cocoknits logo and insignia on it. Tucked neatly inside, you’ll find two mesh zippered laundry bags, two super-absorbent towels, a mesh pop-up dryer, and a bottle of Eucalan.
Let’s start with my favorite part of this kit: the mesh pop-up dryer. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. By virtue of its ability to lie flat, the hoop can be easily slid under your carefully blocked garments. Then, once they’re in place, you can buckle the straps on either side of the hoop and it bends, like a Pringle potato chip, to allow air to circulate on the bottom side of your garment. I’ve seen mesh dryers before, but they all have feet and take up lots of room. This compacts into almost nothing when not in use. I priced out somewhat similar mesh pop-up dryers for about $7 to $9 online, not including shipping.
Next, the laundry bags. I’m not a machine-washer of my handknits, even when the yarn label says I can, so the mesh zippered laundry bags hold little utility for me—though I may use them for overflow yarn storage. I priced a set of four relatively cheap mesh laundry bags at about $20 online, so let’s put it at $10 for the two here.
Now, as for the towels. Having highly absorbent towels is vital for that roll-up-and-blot-excess-moisture step that starts the post-wash process. This constitutes the bulk of the kit’s $75 price tag. This type of towel is actually rather expensive, the largest alone pricing out between $25 and $35 for remotely similar facsimiles online.
On the second of the two towels, a large grid has been printed to help in the pinning out of garments. The kit doesn’t include any pins, but you can easily pick up a set at your local craft store. Being able to pin to a grid is especially helpful for sweaters where you need things like sleeves to block at the same length.
The kit also includes a small bottle of unscented Eucalan, a product choice I wholeheartedly approve.
Is this a vital necessity right up there with embroidery scissors and the darning needle? No. You could easily live a fulfilling knitting life with your towel and your makeshift drying rack.
That said, I have a thing for the charm factor, and that’s where this kit shines. It’s useful, it is designed to make knitters’ lives easier and more satisfyingly productive—and it’s pretty. It’s the sweater-knitter’s version of a perfect housewarming gift.
But the prettiness is just an added bonus. Julie is first and foremost a knitter, and that sensibility comes through in everything she does. Her tools are not gratuitous tchotchkes. They have thought behind them, cleverness, and also a touch of “Why didn’t I think of that?”
You probably could assemble your own equivalent of this kit for slightly less, but would you? If your answer is yes, then more power to you. But for the rest of us, here’s a charming kit that holds all the essentials.