We are almost to the end of the shawl saga that began so long ago. I love the pattern I chose. I am ok with my choice of yarn. I had seven skeins of a Brown Sheep 80% cotton 20% wool blend in my stash (or as established yesterday my sable). It is a greenish blue color called Sea Jade.
The first skein I used had several breaks in the yarn where it was tied at the factory. That frustrates me as I like to add new skeins at the edges to incorporate the ends in a less obvious way. I didn’t notice a couple of these until I was in the center of an intricate row, so I worked them in where they were, but wasn’t exactly happy.
The rest of the skeins didn’t have any breaks, so that was a plus. Then I started to notice my hands were turning a bit green. Oddly, it was concentrated on my left hand. Duh. The hand that was keeping tension was the one turning green. If I knit long enough, the edge of my fingernails also turned faintly green.
Obviously the dye was rubbing off a bit. I found that unusual because I’ve knit for a very long time and have never had this happen before. I’ve used hand dyed yarns, hand painted yarns and just plain old regular yarns. Hum.
I was discussing the dye issue with a knitting friend, expressing my concern that the shawl I have worked on for so long was quite possibly going to turn the girlfriend I am knitting it for green. And not with envy. Then we debated the wisest way to set the color so that would not happen. Vinegar was discussed and well as alum. The jury was still out.
Last night I was rolling the last ball and happened to read the band. I’ve read it before to see the content and suggested gauge, but missed the paragraph about washing it. Not the actual recommendation to hand wash and dry flat, but the “first washing” recommendation.
The instructions stated you should add vinegar to the wool soak, then add more vinegar to the final rinse water. What this said to me (and my aforementioned friend) is that they knew this dye was not set. This must not be the norm, or all yarns would have setting the color as part of the wash instructions.
I am still feeling uneasy about the whole thing. I can’t start over with a different yarn. My friend’s birthday is in two weeks. The yarn wasn’t super expensive, but it wasn’t bargain basement either. The number of hours in this project just won’t allow me to scrap it even if it wasn’t the eleventh hour for the shawl.
It makes me worry about the other Brown Sheep yarn that I have in my stash. It is a lovely lavender that I was considering for a shawl for another one of my friends next spring. Now, I’m not so sure.
Have any of you had a similar experience when using a cotton/wool blend? Is this typical and I’ve just been lucky. I need to know.