Archive for February 21st, 2010

Cathy was inspired by a Rowan pattern designed by Kim Hargreaves. It’s a lovely design …and she chose a different yarn, Silky Wool (65% wool and 35% silk) by Elsbeth Lavold. Cathy did all her prep work…knit her swatch…liked the knitted fabric that she produced…adapted the pattern and her size to this information. What she didn’t do was wash the swatch (or clean it in the way in which it would be cleaned throughout the life of the garment). Many of us don’t do that (including myself) even though we should.

For several reasons Cathy was not having a love affair with her finished sweater jacket… she didn’t like the way it fit; she didn’t think it was flattering and the color turned out to be not as flattering for her as she thought it would be. I tried it on….I liked the style, the fit, and the color. We worked out a trade…I now own this sweater jacket. I chose my buttons…and thought I would block/wash the garment first. I block my knitted garments/items with the wash method – wash on the gentle cycle in cold/tepid water. I let the water spin out and then take the garment from the washer to a towel. The garment is rolled in the towel to remove any excess moisture. The next and final step on the way to drying is to lay the garment on a towel that is laid out on the table (could be a bed if you don’t have a large enough table). Then I pat the garment into shape. For this one I made sure that the bust measurement of the sweater was right….I had a momentary thought that the neck looked a little large…oh well, it was late…my brain was tired…and what did I know at that point.

What I learned a few days later when I tried the sweater jacket on for our Saturday morning workshop was a major surprise….the sweater grew! And I don’t mean slightly. The above-the-wrist arm length had changed to the middle of my hand. It grew at least 4-5 inches. In all my years of knitting I had not encountered this. I shared this dilemna with each of the Skein Lane Knitting Workshop Groups…a few days later I got a call from Dee…she pointed me to the book “Big Book of Knitting” by Katharina Buss. And the magic answer on page 14 is: “Silk keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. It is also very comfortable. But it is not easy to knit. Silk has to be knit very tightly because finished pieces stretch the first time they are washed. Don’t check the gauge until after you have washed your sample piece.”

Who knew that silk grows? Clearly I didn’t. What probably compounded this growing situation was the Silk Wool was knit only moderately tight.

Oh, what to do!? I washed the sweater again in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in warm water and let the water spin out. The next step…the sweater jacket went to the dryer on the ultra care cycle for 10 minutes or so. I checked it and let it dry another 10 minutes. Then it was back to the “drying” table for 24 hours. It was still slightly damp after the 24 hours, so back to the dryer for a few minutes more. The result – SUCCESS! The sweater sleeves came back to original length. I am going to “tighten” up the neckline and shoulders by crocheting a stablizing chain in each of those areas. Now back to the buttons and then a new garment to wear. Stay tuned for the photo of the finished garment.

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