Happy face yarn
Saturday June 17th 2017, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Food,Knit,To dye for

Showing off Andy’s Bing and Rainier cherries, before the sugar/flour/cinnamon/almond and top crust.

Meantime, this was some 50/50 merino/silk from Colourmart, and I knew from knitting my brother a hat out of it in double strands of navy that it was warm, soft, and well spun, I knew my hands loved the stuff, but all they had left was this faded dusty taupe/sage mix that did not do a thing for me. Cannot beat that closeout price, though– (150 g/$12 ppd) –all it needed was a little work.

Hank, scour the mill oils out in hot soapy water, overdye, rinse, then wind it up once it’s dry. Jacquard Acid Dye in (not a whole lot of) Bright Blue with just a touch of vinegar in the pot that helped the yarn take up the dye during the simmering.

It’s still got just a bit of earthy tone in some lighting from its ancestral color but I like it much better now.

Kids don’t try this at home
Monday December 05th 2016, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Life,LYS,To dye for

Since for the last nearly three weeks the idea of carting a full dyepot around was out of the question, that of course was what I most wanted to do.

So today I just decided I was going to. And then since there was still dye left in that pot, I did it again. And (add the last of that purple in that bottle, I need to remember to order more–I miss Purlescence!) again. I figured that weight-wise, the trick was to spoon the thing over into a second, empty dyepot and carry it and then later the full dyepot separately across the house to break the load down into smaller tasks, and I let the water go pretty low by the end. (One does *not* pour any amount of dye down the kitchen sink. One scrubs the purple porcelain.)

Watching a faded-gray-blue $5 closeout silk T and a mousy earthy-mauve (not my color) $6 eBay v-neck cashmere sweater turn out matching shades of purple to wear together was a lot more magic than I expected to get. Oooh, that’s what I’d always wanted that sweater to be! It was really cool.

But one of the things I’m in the habit of doing when I’m overdyeing sweaters is to tuck the wooden dye spoon under the object and lift it mostly out of the pot right at the beginning and let it hang a moment midair to try to make sure there are no wrinkle lines in how the dye latches on. Stir, lift again.

This did not go so well using, out of habit, my right hand. Which did not hold up its end of the bargains.

Somehow, as I raced for the bathroom for a towel and the mirror, sheerly by the grace of God is the only way I can describe it, only one big droplet of purple landed on my head and it hit exactly in the part line on my scalp.

Not (other than that) in my hair.

This was protein-fibers dye and it was at a low boil, the temp at which it affixes to the material at hand. Or head. Which, however, was not boiling, so maybe a few shampoos should do the job. I got some on my hands too and it’s all gone now.

As far as I can tell it’s off and that is that.

I think, though, that I’d probably better mention it to the dermatologist when she does my annual post-skin-cancer check next week. Just in case she sees that I’m in a purple state.

Two done, one to go
Friday April 08th 2016, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Knit,To dye for

I think a hand wound ball of yarn can be a work of art in itself. Hopefully one that gets unravelled quickly and happily.

Red-y or not here it comes
Thursday April 07th 2016, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,To dye for

From Colourmart‘s recent big mill-ends-of-the-mill-ends sale.

The cone, a vivid red on the orangey side, became this (first photo) yesterday and then this (second and third photos) today.

My problem was in not owning a dyepot big enough, if one exists, to allow 650 g of dk cashmere to float around in freely to let all the dye sift equally through everything; those three hanks I’d wound up barely all fit in there with the water at half full. And it was a big pot. (Side note: surely there are people who can hold up an increasingly heavy niddy noddy long enough to wind two thousand-plus yards onto it to make a single hank out of that much yarn; I am not one of them. I had to take breaks.)

I looked at my skeins, snapped a photo, and got my daughter’s opinion. There was a lot of difference between the skeins and within the skeins, mocking my efforts to immerse them together. “Artistic,” I told her.

Honestly, still pretty bright.

No problem. Easier to add than subtract. I repeated the process today, putting in first that which had taken up the least.

Not perfect but a lot better and a lot more even.


Note that I bought that second cone in case it turned out not quite what she was hoping for.

My daughter is knitting. And I had a chance to give her cashmere. All it needed was some prep work.

Sunday January 03rd 2016, 12:20 am
Filed under: Family,To dye for

There was this sweater. This screaming-hot-pink-fuschia sweater, 70/30 silk/cotton, and though it would have been just the right color on someone, that someone wasn’t me. 

Enough other people thought the same thing that the price dropped to something like $15 and I thought, I know how warm and comfortable and useful those are and I do have a dyepot….

And then it sat there for a year, nagging me. Every now and then I would pull the little UFO out and hold it up to my face in the mirror, look a moment, think, you wish!, and put it back. And feel guilty.

My daughter Sam is knitting these days, and Colourmart had a big sale on some vivid red dk weight cashmere that was the mill ends of the mill ends. I checked with her and then bought her a monster cone for Christmas on the grounds that if she didn’t like the color when she got here I would overdye it for her.

You see where this is going?

Now, I can’t do a thing about that yarn right now because of the current lack of a functional niddy noddy. (Where DID that piece go?) But I could play with the concept, and I’d be better off if I did–I have black dye in my stash but I use it very very very seldom and am less familiar with how it plays with others than I’d like to be when dealing with precious cashmere.

That sweater had never been worn, just to make sure it would be totally clean when I got to it. I handwashed it to get any mill residue off and to get it good and soaked (silk resists water at first) and then, wooden spoon in hand, I put/pushed it into the ready, simmering darkened dye bath as all-at-once as I could get it to go, stirring immediately to open it up to avoid streaks.

And it came out really evenly.

Or not.

This is really weird.

The camera flashed it back to closer to its original color, which is funny, and it shows as darker where it’s wetter after being spun out, but in real life it is one solid reddish rose slashed by darker lines in a very regular pattern.

How on earth did they spin their yarn? Because this wasn’t my doing, this was the manufacturer’s: my solid crewneck is now striped. How did that happen!? Okay, the cotton wasn’t going to take up the acid dye, just the silk and I knew that going in, but one would expect the two fibers to have been combed together, not partly combed but mostly alternated. Huh. Well, none of it is the original color now so some silk did get dispersed throughout. But it’s the strangest thing.

What’s also strange is that it is blissfully soft now in a way it wasn’t before. I have an old book somewhere on the properties of silk and I need to go find it.

Then, just because I was curious, I threw some more black dye in the pot, since the first seemed to have all been taken up, and threw in a red sweater to tone it down a few shades. 60/40 silk/cotton on that one. From the same company, a few years older. Came out a more subdued red and as evenly and perfectly even as if it had been sold that way, exactly what I’d hoped for.

But that first one. So strange. I will definitely wear it, even though I’m not a big stripes person. But I’d love to know why it came out like that.

Byssus way
Wednesday September 02nd 2015, 10:13 pm
Filed under: History,To dye for,Wildlife

The bubble wrap has disappeared, whether upward or downward in those trees I do not know. Squirrelwork!

Silly stuff aside, I want to learn how she does this. I want to understand the chemistry of all of it. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a BBC article here about an Italian woman who is the last person keeping alive a tradition going back to, in her family’s tradition, the days of the Biblical King Herod’s great-granddaughter: she harvests byssus, the dried saliva of a clam, and adds a mix of spices that not only dye the clam silk but make it luminous.

The clam is a protected species but so is she–the Italian coastguard overseas her dives.

She is the Antonio Stradivari of fiber artistry. No one else can quite yet create what she does. She sells nothing and gives away everything according to the needs of those around her.

The reporter did not know enough to ask her how she changed the fibers into what she does, whether she works it still wet straight out of the sea or dried like her sample, whether she pulls it wide like a cocoon of terrestrial silk–is it all one long thread?–and spins it from there, or just how her yarn comes to be from its raw material. How is it done. I want to pull up a chair and learn (I’ll take my brother Bryan, he speaks Italian).

And I can only hope all the attention doesn’t cause poaching of her beloved clams.

You teal’em
Thursday February 05th 2015, 11:30 pm
Filed under: To dye for

The colors in this nighttime photo are washed out: the greens are quite a bit greener and the light blue is more teal, but at least you can get an idea of how different they are from each other.

So. I had this silk turtleneck. A warm, very soft, heavyweight spunsilk turtleneck bought on clearance from Wintersilks at something like twelve bucks and free shipping in a color on the screen that I could only hope.

Um. No. And didn’t it match any of the things I’d wanted it to go with.

Today I saw again what color it could be, the one that had justified the purchase, and given the fact that I would be putting it on in a second if it were that I realized I was never going to wear it if I didn’t do something. I fired up my dyepot. Soapy water, rinse, throw it in, stir and turn over nonstop for a half hour as it bubbles away.

That was the one in the middle here. It now perfectly matches my favorite skirt. Score! Why stop now. When it came out, I threw in a silk sweater (left) and it too came out far better than what it had been. And then an older silk shirt that I’d previously dyed in the same Jacquard teal, and it had been beautiful, but then I had treated it for a stain one day and the Shout took out some of my dye–well, then, it was indeed a reversible one, wasn’t it. I should have known better.

So it sat in a drawer for a year and a half with me unwilling to toss what had been a favorite and not really believing it could be fixed.

But sometimes reversible dyes, if you’re really really lucky, can lift somewhat off the fabric in boiling water and resettle a bit as you stir with new dye. And as far as I can tell right now while it’s not quite all the way dry yet, I was really really lucky. I have my shirt back.

One of the thing about overdyeing natural-fiber clothes away from ugly or wrong colors is that you never know what kind of thread they used to sew the garment up with. On the turtleneck, it looks to have been a poly or poly/cotton blend so there are now lines of contrast around the hems and neck. This is why I tend not to overdye too far away from what the thing was.

But on that sweater. The 78/22 silk/nylon sweater. Nylon takes up wool dyes while polyester does not and all the thread took up the dye in a complete match, so it must have been nylon.

And what that means is that I can overdye it again in, oh I dunno, yale blue or anything else on the blue or green scale and the stitching will do exactly what I say again. I might, but morning and full dryness will show me exactly what I’ve got and I do like it so far.

A side note: for dyeing, only use a pot, stainless being preferable by far, that you will never ever use for cooking.

At the okay, coral
Friday July 11th 2014, 11:11 pm
Filed under: To dye for

So I had this silk dress. Classic style. Got it online at a huge sale several years ago for all of I think ten bucks and hoped it wouldn’t be quite how it turned out that yes, it was. I almost liked the color enough. (The first photo totally nails it on my monitor.) It would have looked great on me when the chemo drug for Crohn’s was messing with my skin tone, but I’ve been off that med five years now.

And I just didn’t quite.

And now today, at last, I do.

I got my biggest dye pot out this afternoon and had the Jacquard simmering and stirring away a few minutes before I added the dress, no lumps of vermillion allowed.

And then I did something I would never do with, say, a merino sweater: I went at it with two for-dyeing-only wooden spoons close to nonstop the entire half hour it was on the stove, pushing, pulling, dunking, swirling, poking, stirring, making sure neither dress nor dye stood still at all. I tried lifting it out a few times to let any lines resettle (forget it, I’m not tall enough) and then swished around hard some more.

It came out with no streaks, no spots, no unevenness (that’s a camera artifact along the right)–it all took completely evenly. I am amazed at how thoroughly I lucked out. It’s not as pink as this photo says and the silk most definitely needs a good steam ironing to live up to itself again–but that’s all it needs.

Now, I know full well there are going to be some looking at the before and afters and thinking man, she sure got those backwards. But light orange with a hint of taupe vs a calm coral, for me it just totally validated that purchase at long last.

I’d always known I could change it if I didn’t love it. I just had to want to enough. Enough to risk making mistakes.

And even then, Jacquard is a reversible dye–you can boil most of it back out if it’s bad enough to want to.

Totally perfect. And even the not-silk stitching still looks good on it.


Going to great lengths for him
Thursday January 31st 2013, 12:06 am
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,To dye for

It’s become a joke by now.

Is it done yet?

I model it for him, past my knees, towards my ankles.

He grins, tries it on, it’s shorter than fingertip-to-fingertip, and looks at me not quite laughing–but he hasn’t sung Short People at me. Yet.

This is the man who never in his life had had the luxury of a sweater with sleeves long enough to fold back the cuffs, so I’d made him one with an 86″ wingspan. Fits him perfectly.

I knit some more. The scarf is at 82″ now, surely…? But there is more of this fingering weight baby alpaca, I can keep going. It has fond memories: anyone else out there remember Russ of Robin and Russ Handweaving? He bought a truckload of this stuff back when nobody had ever heard of baby alpaca yarns. Sold it in natural colors at a buck a ball, 40 grams each, not on cones, not his usual stuff but oh so very soft. Mine started out a soft fawn.

I dyed several pounds of it ten years ago, the skeins presoaked for an attempt at color evenness and shoved in that suddenly small-looking pot as best I could. I didn’t take the time to hank and then rewind all those skeins for the dye process; I had just gotten out of the hospital a few weeks before. I lifted that pot.  It felt heroic enough. An afghan for the doctor who’d saved my life–and it had cashmere I dyed to match knitted into it, too, and my mother-in-law played a part in that, and I so wish I could find the rest of that yarn in time for this project because of that connection to her.

But. I have the baby alpaca. The leftovers seem to be the skeins that were the most felted and tangled and the least matching and oh well.

But I am knitting three strands crammed together on size 9s for softness and warmth and the shades can waver  between themselves all they want. One browner, one lighter, one redder, repeat at the 35″ mark.

My husband has never had a scarf long enough that it doesn’t look like a tall man trying to fit into normal people’s sizes. Partly too because we live where you don’t need one. This, though, is going to be long enough. I had to ice my hands several times today (the seed stitch part of that pattern is a bear to work) but I’m. Almost. There.

Spin knit dye. Yeah, that’s backwards.
Wednesday February 22nd 2012, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Spinning,To dye for

Hey, Don, you got your new computer working yet?

And over here…  Once upon a time there was some yarn at Colourmart.  Really nice yarn, in a very thin laceweight, finer than I wanted to work with but very nice yarn of very nice content and very cheap. (Their prices include shipping, too.)

They had a free twisting service to hold multiple strands together. I did not look around their site to notice that if you want the strands actually plied the way a mill would do, you have to pay an extra $5–which is super reasonable, actually.

So I bought 450 g of the stuff and asked them to twist it by threes for me.

Being me, when it came, I immediately hanked it off that cone into a big loop  and scoured it in hot water to get the mill oils out that their stuff tends to come with; I don’t like to spend hours upon hours knitting with something that’s only going to feel supersoft for someone else later–I’m paying for me to be able to enjoy it, too. The mill oils feel like dried hair mousse, so, out!

Hitchcock music time: over a thousand yards of strands only barely held together, all felting randomly with other parts of the skein in that sink. I hung it to dry and saw it and it hit me. All. That. Yarn. The only thing that saved it was the fact that there were cashmere and silk in there as well as that felting merino.

Help Cecil Help!

I’m a-comin’, Beanie Boy! I spent a long time gently pulling it back apart. I didn’t dare risk dyeing it then for fear of having to do that again.

At each stage of this I threw it in the back of the closet till what the stuff was made of refused to be ignored.

So on the next time looking it over, I was afraid that that bit of twisting they did would put torque into whatever I knit. There were a few places where it had left one strand loopy and uneven with the other two, with me trying to ease the ease back in.

There was only one way out I could see.

I ran it through my spinning wheel. Clockwise. Two bobbins’ worth, let’s try this much out first before I do more. I plied those two on each other counterclockwise, treadle, treadle, treadle.

Now I had a good, balanced yarn–and it was a worsted-weight-ish 6-ply. Um, who wants a white hat? (I know, I know, all the good guys do.)

And so that’s exactly what I knit, finishing it today without even using all the one doubled bobbin’s worth. The 6-ply was splitty as all get-out and a nuisance to knit, but after I pulled that hat out of my dyepot in the afternoon, the felting action helping me out this time, it was a deep deep indigo, the silk just slightly lighter and dancing in the background to its own happy tune.  When it is dry it will do so even more.

Wow.  Gorgeous.  And so, so soft! It was worth every minute and every angst and every stitch and every stir of that pot. This is what it aspired to be all along. I almost put it on for a moment in celebration, still wet–and had a sudden vision of being an old blue-haired grandma before my time. (No, it’s not crocking dye. Even so.) Let’s not.

Only 136 more grams to spin (maybe) , 196 to knit. Be still my heart.

Let Parker paws a moment to consider
Tuesday November 15th 2011, 12:09 am
Filed under: Knit,To dye for

That first one came out definitely a little big. The second one, a little small. The third one coming up–now, there’s your Goldilocks! With a cabled brim and slouch top-to-be.

Meantime, I’m a blue-haired old grammy. I think. Um.

I got up this morning wanting to finally tackle a dye job I’d been avoiding: a secondhand sweater I’d bought that, when it came, was not the soft green-gray I expected but rather was vivid, and I do mean vivid, fluorescent lemon/lime–but in cashmere.

Which is why I didn’t want to give it away but I sure didn’t want to accidentally wreck it.

I got up this morning and straightway filled the biggest dyepot with hot water and stirred in some teal. I’m in it now, keep going. Stir stir stir. Then I did something different: knowing the dye wouldn’t take up well if the water wasn’t simmering, I handwashed the sweater and then put it in there anyway. Worked the new color through and through and through with my hands. It changed just slightly, but for the most part resisted it at that temp. No big surprise.

All that you were ever taught (correctly) about water, temperature change and agitation being the combination that felts woolens? I did it anyway. No catchy scales on cashmere fibers, right? I squished it some more, and then took the pot to the stove. Turned it on.  Stirred like crazy, and about every ten seconds or so for a very long time I lifted it out with my dye spoon and then put it back down, careful to spread it out as it went back in: I had once had dye adhere in a pattern of dark wrinkles because I hadn’t wanted to risk the agitation. Agitate.

Pulling it out and in again like that cools down the water; it took an hour for it to finally get up to a simmer to start the half hour countdown.

I don’t do well standing on my feet. But. When I finally poured out that pot, my new soft green buttoned shirttailed collared cashmere shirt was absolutely, totally, everything I wanted. To dye for.


(Oh, yeah, except the buttonhole thread must have been polyester. I expected that. That’s why I didn’t make a radical change in the color; I have an accent effect rather than an accident.)

Oh, and the blue-haired grammy thing? I knew it was going to be hot work over the stove, November notwithstanding, so I waited to take my shower this morning till I’d finally finished the job. My hands were teal blue from working in that pot at the start, and washing them afterwards did not get it out. Oh well. It would probably take at least the day for it to be gone, two for the nailbeds.

I stepped out of the shower, happened to look at my hands–and then at my hair…

The Cat In The Hat Comes Back, version blue. Tell me if you spot it, okay?

Wednesday June 08th 2011, 10:50 pm
Filed under: Knit,To dye for

Lorraine, owner of Cottage Craft Angora, a small mill, wanted to know what I thought of her qiviut. No, she really wanted to know what I thought of her qiviut. Her 100%. (Picture of a Musk Ox here.)

Now, I’ve bought her Arctic Blend; one 2-ply skein, just to try it out, a 30/30/20/20 qiviut/baby alpaca/silk/merino mix, and dyed it myself, exploring.

It was exquisite. I could be satisfied with this soft stuff oh yes most definitely forever. It made a lot more of a lace scarf than I’d expected to get out of it–for, are you ready for this, ten bucks. Ten. And shipping.

My Mom and my sister Carolyn both wanted that one, out of all the rollaboard-suitcase’s-worth of knitted items I brought to the family reunion. Actually, all the women in the family who saw it did. Anyone would.

I lamented when the website said awhile ago that that blend was sold out; when more appeared just a few days ago, I selfishly ordered some quick before mentioning it to the blog now. Note that I am being very nice in telling you all about it when I can’t afford to stock up more than one color and weight to work with for right now, and I really really like the 2-ply. Haven’t tried the 3-ply. Yet. (Don’t take all the navy, okay, guys?)

Just one more skein… How’s that for a variant on the classic knitter line.

And then. The mailman rang the doorbell this afternoon. There was a skein of that Strawberry Red 100% qiviut from Canada, 44 grams’ worth, for me to go play with. Christmas!

I just happened to be wearing a blouse that matched the yarn as I opened the package; yes, I might like that color. Like, a lot. In the 100%, I would call it more a burgundy, myself.

She’d told me it was coming, actually, and I had just the pattern in mind for when it might arrive.

Ever planned on a name for a baby and when it was born it just wasn’t it? Yeah, I once had our family’s doctor stop by the hospital in New Hampshire to check on my newborn and then he stepped into my room to say, very pleased, that Michelle was doing well now–and I’ve always wondered if he just thought I was an exhausted new mom as I did a moment’s doubletake of an unspoken (Who? Oh right, right, we did change it), “Thanks!” (Duh.)

So. One look at that yarn and I threw out my plans and rewrote and re-mathed.

I doodled a bit to get a feel for gauge. I cast on. I kept the longtail long enough (and it came out exactly to the 1/2 inch) so that I could wrap it across the back of every bump as I purled the first row, an extra strand of yarn to strengthen that edge. Not my usual double-the-cast-on neck edge, though; this way left me the possibility of running a bit shy without having to start over and without risking wasting any.

A few minutes later I knit the first three stitches of a 126-stitch row wrong.

I thought about it a moment and realized, wait. Extra time with pure qiviut. This is a privilege. And not only that, after tinking I can weigh and measure exactly how much yarn that row took up to try to get a better idea of how far I can go with my 320 yards.

Zero grams. It came up zero grams. I can knit this stuff forever.

Quail.come in Silicon Valley
Saturday May 21st 2011, 8:44 pm
Filed under: To dye for,Wildlife

My husband says I can’t call him Dan nor a derivative of such, that would make him from Indiana and he’s a California quail.


Changing the subject, my mom mentioned once, and I pass the word along for whatever it’s worth, that pouring boiling water down a drain was an environmentally healthy way to unblock it, and that doing so once a month, good maintenance.

Well hey. (I know, there’s a $3500 tree root job needing doing, but it’s just this one sink in the immediate term.) Let’s try at least.

What began as a thought at the first pot of water carried clear across the house quickly became action: why not use that heating-up for something I want? I’d had some yarn and a project that had needed dyeing for some time; a little pink in the sink never hurt anything. And that colourmart yarn that was a tad dark? I simmered it, guessing it to have been done in reversible dyes and it was; my midnight navy is now a happy dark-while-it’s-still-damp royal blue.

The drain is running slightly faster. There is a fine lace scarf blocking in a beautiful new burgundy from the previous taupe-brown and two skeins drying and I am very very happy with how they came out. All kinds of housework got done between water-carrying stints and that Malabrigo hat is finished, too.

We were off after that to a friends’ house for a dinner party.

Coming home, there was my quail, meandering about. Made me smile. I guess maybe this really is where he’s choosing to call home now after all; I like that.

I meandered about too, inside.

Finally, I came down and sat down at the computer a moment, my chair seven feet from the window, wondering where he might be now. That male quail immediately came *running*, so fast that he skidded on the concrete and one foot went right out from under him but he recovered fast and dignity reclaimed came right up against the window at the closest point right there–and looking in a few minutes, his head turning this way and that then facing straight on, the dear little thing sang to me.

When I made mamamama gestures back as if I were singing silently in return, he puffed out his chest and repeated himself.

It was so sweet. I am so charmed. But–dude…

I’m so sorry to have to break it to you. You’re just not my kind.

Saturday November 13th 2010, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knit,To dye for


Boy, that was quick. The folks at Cottage Craft had me wait a bit while they dyed more, not having enough in the same lot, and then threw in an extra 20g as a thank you for my patience. I was surprised and very very delighted. I’d bought enough for one of my shawls (a few more skeins than shown) and now I have a little extra breathing room just in case.

Is it as soft as the stuff Rachel spun up for me? No, but hers was 100% qiviut from the raw fiber, painstakingly dehaired by hand. This is half merino.  Still. This is well carded, well spun, a fragile, fine fiber made as sturdy as one could ask it to be, and I wish I could reach out a skein to everybody through the screen and go oooh, feel this!

I do still have to go finish that baby alpaca project first, and it’s in laceweight so it’ll take me a good week or so.

Meantime, my friend Krys did a grocery run for us tonight.  We are quite grateful; Richard seems to be coming down with my germs.

p.s. and Karen? If you think you recognize that background, you do: that’s the dogwood quilt you helped tie for me around the time of our high school graduation.  Dogwood trees are rare out here but prized because, though the trees grow slowly, their blossoms last a very long time. The pink ones are, as they have always been, my favorite.

Moths and rust are amateurs
Wednesday October 27th 2010, 8:56 pm
Filed under: To dye for

You know you lead a privileged life when you can worry about such things. And yet.

It’s the perfect sweater, for a machine knit: the perfect length, the perfect classic style, the perfectly-soft that is the best cashmere can be, and without being too-young too-tight, it goes in at the waist just enough rather than being a plain downward tube. It’s my very favorite store-bought and my husband loves it when I wear it.

I need advice. Badly.  Fellow fiber types, help me out here.

So. I have this offwhite cashmere sweater. Got a good deal; had no idea that looking it up later would show a replacement cost well above $300.

I bought a reddish-burgundy fleece vest from the well-regarded O—- company (the color was on close-out) and the weather being what it is, took it straight from the box and put it on over that sweater. I was horrified, taking the sweater off later, to find it had turned slightly pink across the upper back and definitely pink under the arms.

I contacted O—-. They said get it drycleaned, email us the receipt for that and we’ll refund it. Was it an O—- sweater? (They asked hopefully.)



What if that doesn’t do it, I asked.

Uh… (he came back in a moment.)  Let’s try first and then we’ll see.

Okay, fair enough.

So, I took it to my regular drycleaner and explained. The woman waved her hands in front of her face to ward me and it off: no, no, no can do, is dye, will not come out, do not give it to us, so sorry.

Now, I’m of the mind that if you have dye that loose that it can rub right on then it can come back out again. I hope.  If I do it right.

Do I… wash it with Purex undyed unscented laundry detergent gently by hand in tepid water? Which, by the way, is how I always wash my animal-fiber sweaters. Ignore the dry-clean-only tags–that’s a cop-out, put there because they can’t put all the information you would need on that tiny tab, as TSE Cashmere is my witness. (Click on their “About” and go to “Cashmere care”–they’re not letting me link directly to the page, sorry.) Drycleaning chemicals harshen and yellow the fibers.

So I wasn’t quite sorry when the drycleaner refused it.

I know Dharma Trading Company sells Synthrapol. I have no experience with it.  I did actually buy some awhile ago–and after reading the warning labels and that bit about prolonged exposure causing brain and neurological damage, and not even being sure it’s what I need for this problem…

I think I need to throw it back in O—-‘s court before I try anything. I need to take pictures first, definitely. And one of the reasons I contacted them was simply to let them know what their (yes it’s made in China) product was doing.

I find myself with a heightened sense of appreciation for my non-damaged sweaters, so, that’s good.