In knitting as in life, we all make mistakes. The advantage of knitting is that usually you can easily fix them… But not all the time!
As a good serial blunderer, it was inevitable that I would come to commit one of those rare errors that do not unravel. And as I am nice, I share with you this little lesson in patience that could save your knitting!
When I started my LILI PILI shawl, I knew very well that I had to wash my skeins. If the hand-dyed wools are absolutely sublime, they often tend to smear in the first washes. In the case of a three-color shawl, it is essential to wash them before starting to knit, especially if like me one of your balls is white. Otherwise, the darker, more saturated colors may rub off onto the lighter skeins. This is particularly the case for colors based on blue and red. By washing them separately before putting them in a reel, we avoid disaster.
This advice, I had given it many times to clients, which did not prevent me, head of mule that I am, from ignoring it and starting my shawl immediately. I was so excited about my color choice and couldn't wait to see them knit together! And then, the Riverside Single ply that I had chosen didn't drool much, normally.
This stubbornness on my part has, alas, caused my beautiful bronze ball to leave significant orange stains on my white stripes while I was washing my shawl in order to block it. Needless to say how annoyed I was… Nothing to get excited about, this time! It teach me to talk nonsense like "I like to live dangerously"
For those reading this in the middle of making a white and blue nautical sweater, don't panic; as I learned a little too late, there is an alternative solution to that of washing your skeins. The dyes used by indie-dyers are, for the most part, acid-based. However, as Ariane explained to me, by adding a little vinegar to the water before washing our knitting in it, we balance the pH and thus prevent the dye from drooling. If only I had listened in my high school science class!
The moral of this story could be written thus;
Your chronic impatience you will heal
And your skeins you will wash
In the meantime, vinegar you will add!