Adventures in blocking

It’s fall, as of yesterday. Time to take off the ankle bracelet. Time to put on jeans and real shoes. Time to wash and block the February Lady!

I’ve been dreading blocking this sweater because of all the stories I’d read on Ravelry about this yarn, Dream in Color Classy, growing. But I couldn’t wear it without washing it because it was full of excess dye that I didn’t want on my clothes. I ran it through a short warm cycle in a zippered pillowcase in the washing machine with Brown Sheep wool wash and some vinegar to set the dye last night. When I took it out, it was enormous! It had grown to 1.5 times its length, and at least twice its width. And the fabric felt very, very thin. I was freaking out. But the ball band did say machine wash, lay flat or machine dry. It was time for the leap of faith.

I put it in the dryer for 20 minutes. Still damp. Still all stretchy looking. Another 20 minutes. My dryer cools down towards the end of the cycle, so it was still dampish. I laid the poor bedraggled thing out on a towel and patted it into shape to dry overnight. It was still pretty waffly.

This morning I checked it, and it was still a bit damp. I still really wanted to wear it, so back into the dryer it went. And it came out the same size it had been before I washed it. A miracle! The yarn did lose a lot of fuzz in the dryer, and it’s a little fuzzier than it was before I blocked it. I wore it this morning, and it grew about 1.5 inches in length during the day. Here it is:

feblady4

And here’s a closer view of the lace:

detail

I don’t know if I’d use this yarn again. It’s so gorgeous, and it smells great (even after washing), but it’s so nerve wracking blocking it! And if it’s going to require machine drying to make it pop back to size, I wish it didn’t make it fuzzy…

But it’s done, and cozy and wearable. On to the Central Park Hoodie!

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14 responses to “Adventures in blocking

  1. You look great! Sorry it was so nerve-wracking. Happy ending is good!

  2. Super cute and a great color on you.! Wow, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to put it in the dryer. Glad it worked out.

  3. It does look great. Nice job

  4. You look fantastic in that sweater! I love it! I’m glad everything worked out – I’m sure I would have been a nervous girl.

  5. OK…now I have to knit that sweater…it looks great! I did read in one of the Harlot’s books about the tendency for machine was wool to grow. I think she threw hers in the dryer for a bit as well. I tried it on a sweater once. I remember just closing my eyes and throwing it in the dryer, saying a little prayer, then walking away really fast. It all worked out!

  6. I think it’s the super-wash wools that tend to grow. The regular wools felt! Or full, if we want to get technical. Still, I was really freaked out before and during the drying process, and am glad it worked out. My nerves can’t take much more of that!

  7. I love it! Very interesting about using vinegar to set the dye. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to do that when washing any knitting for the very first time. So next time you wash it, will you just throw it into the dryer for the full cycle? I wonder how you’re supposed to get it to shrink back down to original shape if you just bypassed the dryer and laid it flat to dry.

  8. This looks great–love the color, too!

  9. It still looks beautiful, color and all. I’ve used vinegar to set color on new fabric for years and it works. Great job!!

  10. Brava, for a job well done. Gorgeous, both you and your art. Dee

  11. It came out perfect! I think we’ve all be agonizing with you and I’m so glad it all has a happy ending. Makes it all worthwhile.

  12. It is beautiful though. Perfect color for you. Looks great on, too!

  13. I am so glad that I read your blog, I was just about to purchase this yarn next payday for this very sweater – I think I’ll pass now on this yarn. (This will be my first sweater and I am new to blocking). Thanks .