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Knit Tool: D-Fuzz-It Sweater and Fabric Comb

D-Fuzz-It

 First Impressions

Pilling is an inevitable fact of life, no matter how fine the yarn you use. While some people enjoy plucking the pills off their garments, others give up and relegate a perfectly good sweater to the back of the closet.

The makers of the D-Fuzz-It Comb, a small plastic device, claim that it removes pills from knitted wool, cashmere, and acrylic garments. Not really a comb, the D-Fuzz-It has a straight edge covered in a hard black mesh coated with a scratchy material.

When you hold a garment flat and brush it lightly with the comb, excess fuzz and pills catch on the mesh and are pulled off your garment.

Ambitious Marketing?

The packaging shows the comb plowing through pills like a lawn mower, leaving in its path a pristine new garment. But any knitter knows you can't rub a rough surface against a fine knitted one without some damage.

The mesh on the D-Fuzz-It comb is quite rough, and I had my worries. I put it to the test against three pilled test swatches: Rowan Wool Cotton, Koigu Premium Merino, and Hawthorne Cottage English Leicester Longwool.

Tragedy Strikes

Using it on the Rowan Wool Cotton swatch was a disaster. My first swipe across the swatch snagged not only the pills but entire stitches.

After three or four quick, gentle brushes, the swatch was pretty much ruined. The comb is advertised to be used with wool, cashmere, and acrylic. However, it was completely ineffectual on a swatch that was 50% wool.

Moderate Mayhem

Disheartened, I proceeded to try the comb on a Koigu Premium Merino swatch. This time it removed much of the fuzz, but in the process it caused the entire surface of the swatch to take on an almost feltlike texture. The ends of the comb had a greater tendency to tug stitches loose, which I noticed with the Rowan Wool Cotton as well.

Relative Success

Finally and with much trepidation, I tested the comb on a swatch of Hawthorne Cottage English Leicester Longwool. This is a strong, high-quality yarn that had only a few pills on the swatch.

Using the comb very gently, I was able to remove the offending pills without ruining the rest of the swatch. The key was to apply it to a visibly pilled area, brushing only once or twice if possible. When I brushed the swatch more than that, it immediately started snagging stitches again.

Proceed with Extreme Caution

I was prepared to love this tool, but instead I was disappointed. Rather than improve the look of my swatches, it aged them irreparably.

For these reasons, I can't recommend the D-Fuzz-It Comb for your precious handknitted garments. If you do decide to try the comb, use it with extreme care and caution.



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Reader Comments

"i have used my dfuzzit on acrylic and have had very good results. it works especially good on little gils acrylic cableknit tights. i guess acrylic is a little tougher than fine wool." stockman, 1/2/2002

"Jo-ann Fabrics also carries sweater shavers. That's where I purchased mine." janet, 7/10/2001

"I used defuzz on a store-bought sweater that uses yarn similar to Katia Gigante. It got rid of the pilling, but one of the stithes as well. Since the yarn varies in weight, I guess it's an easy thing to do. Be careful!" allicobb, 7/6/2001

"I found something in my local wool shop that I think is wonderful: It is called a sweater stone. It is made of a volcanic stone and has the smell of sulphur which does not stay on the garment. It takes off the pills just like that! on wool sweaters. There is a black sand that comes off the stone, but this just shakes out. It is made by Sweater Stone, Box 467, Issaqua, Washington, U.S.A. 98027. It sure beats the heck out of those things you were using. I was using those too, for a very short while and was super upset at the results."  mickey, 4/09/2001
"I purchased one of these a long time ago and quickly learned that it was damaging. Since then have tried to wash my finer garments/fabrics inside-out, so the washer agitation doesn't promote pilling."  epontious, 3/20/2001 "I too have used the "D-Fuzz-It" with vertually no success. However, I have also used a small battery operated device called the "Sweater Shaver" and I liked it very well. The only difficulty now is finding a replacement. Have you any idea where I might find it?"  Suzanne C., 3/9/2001

Note: U.K. readers can find sweater shavers at 7DayShop.com. In the U.S., we found a jumbo sweater shaver at Walgreen's and another at Harriet Carter Unique Gifts Online. Let me know if you find other sources and I'll add them here! - Clara

"I have tried the de-fuzz it comb with disastrous results. BUT - I do have a successful gadget that I have been using for years that takes care of the pills on any type of fiber or fabric. It is a small, hand-held device with a small round screen with round holes and a cutting blade underneath. When turned on, you rub the screen against the knitted fabric and only the pills get anywhere near the cutter (which is horrendously sharp). It has worked perfectly on the finest merino and cashmere as well as wool blends and chunky wools. It is the only thing that I have found to work. The blades never get near the fabric, so no stitches are snagged and the fabric remains unaltered except for removal of the pills. Unfortunately, the name has rubbed off my cutter, and I haven't seen one in about ten years. If you see one - buy it. I can't recommend it enough!"  Melinda L.B., 3/8/2001

"The other problem is that the comb pulls the pills off rather than cutting them cleanly, a process that starts more pilling. An article I read in Spin Off magazine stated that pills form where there are breaks in the fiber. Pulling on pills breaks the fiber and causes more pills to form. The only help is cutting the pills off with very sharp scissors."  beappel, 3/8/2001

Who Makes It

Oak Hill Industries Corp.

Where You Can Buy It Online

Patternworks

Average Retail Price

$2.50