Friday, June 12, 2009

Not so 'super'- wash

Please cue the theme to Rocky:

Why Rocky? Well, I've sure gone some rounds with this heavy-hitter. This sweater was a challenge. First there was "at the same time", then there was "the sleeve incident" and in the last round I had to contend with "not so 'super'-wash".

Somehow I have managed to knit for years without ever dealing with superwash wool. Silly me, I expected it to behave, well, just like wool. Maybe even better than wool. After all, it calls itself "super", right?

My first clue that all was not well came in the blocking process. I soaked the sweater sections in a luxurious Eucalan bath and they took it upon themselves to get a little too, well, relaxed. I pinned the pieces to the schematic in the pattern and was horrified to find there was no way all that extra fabric would fit those dimensions.

Eek! This is why you should wash your swatches!

Well, what could I do? I carried on and hoped for the best. So much finishing!

When all was said and done? Yup, it was too big. (Not monstrously so, but just enough to bug me.) I did a little survey among knitters (W.W.B.D?) and got mixed reactions. The majority of answers fell into two categories: 1) "Superwash? Oh yeah, that stuff grows like crazy!" and 2) "Weird, it got bigger? That's never happened to me." Most knitters agreed on one thing; my big sweater could very well benefit from a trip in the dryer.

DRYER!?! I know, I know, scary right? I gave my sweater another bath, said a Hail Mary, crossed my fingers, toes and miscellaneous limbs (I do yoga, remember?) and sent Snowdrop on a trip around the dryer.

She survived... Mostly.

While the sweater shrank back enough to fit better, it did full a little. The yarn has lost a bit of it's former luster. And then there are the pockets:

Patch pockets + shrinkage = puckering. Dang! I am however, quite pleased with my choice of buttons:

mmm...velvet-y suede.

So, have I really won the fight? I plan on removing the pockets and re-attaching, adding another button and possibly re-jigging the sleeves. It looks like Snowdrop and I are having a re-match. Place your bets now!


Reckless Glue said...

oh god I had this exact same problem with my first sweater, Flair (also super-wash) and I agressivley blocked pretty much lost all shape and the collar went disappointingly floppy. When I re-purposed the yarn for wallis though I knew not to bother with the blocking so that worked out well in the end (though still too big and likely still growing!).
Live and learn...
I still like it though and know you can rock it!

Sel and Poivre said...

Maybe not so super wash but despite the issues it really does look quite chic - your choice of colours adds so much beyond the ones in the mag!

Fox said...

Julia - it is wonderful! Now enjoy wearing something most knitters would not even attempt to construct - let alone fix!

kgirl said...

the things they don't tell you, hey?!

the buttons are lovely, and I think only you will see the minor issues you mention - perhaps a steam will ease the puckering on the pockets?

I think it looks neat slightly fulled, too

subliminalrabbit said...

i know the hairy experience of sending a sweater through the dryer to try and shrink it... good luck with the alterations!