Monday, September 05, 2005  

Ignore the Washing Instructions

Since the combined hectic stress of 16 interviews in 2 weeks and a full week of classes gave me a sore throat and that "something's not quite right" feeling by Friday, I spent the entire day lounging around, watching movies, knitting, and drinking what I conservatively estimate was 643 gallons of tea. I finally got my act together and finished the last 2 seams on Brownie - the drop stitch cardigan from Interweave. It took EXACTLY 10 balls of the Margrite Bulky - how exact? Here's what I had left from ball #10 after all the seams were completed -

I was on a roll. I'd finally finished the sweater, and I loved the way it fit. The amazing softness of the yarn led S to dub it "the teddy bear sweater." Dreaming of the crisp fall days where I'd throw this on with a pair of jeans and walk through the falling leaves, I filled up a big bowl with cool water, carefully submerged the newly-completed sweater, and, without agitating, let her get fully saturated. I then VERY carefully squeezed out the water and even more carefully lifted the sweater out of the bowl without letting any part of it hang down and stretch out. I wrapped it in a towel and carefully squeezed out the excess water. The blocking board came out, and I very carefully, again without stretching, laid Brownie out to block.

"Hmmm....." I thought - "this seems like an awfully big sweater. Haven't most of my sweaters FIT ON THE BLOCKING BOARD?????"

So with that horrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, I tried Brownie on. And discovered that the cute, fitted sweater I had so recently sewed up had transformed into what can only be described as a bathrobe. With sleeves that were easily 6-8" too long.

Panicking, I checked the care instructions for the yarn, which is 80% merino wool and 20% cashmere. According to the instructions, I'm supposed to hand wash cool, dry flat away from direct sunlight, and stay far, far away from the dryer.

Apparently, those instructions roughly translate to:

"If you want your garment to look ANYTHING like it did when you finished knitting it, as opposed to some stretched out bathrobe-esque disaster, please wet the garment slightly (should be damp throughout), and throw into the dryer, on high, with the sheets, for approximately an hour. You can, if you like hanging out in the laundry room, keep checking the sweater for fit every 5-10 minutes, but don't worry - it'll just barely shrink back to its normal size, and the sleeves will be a touch too long."

So, after about an hour in the hot dryer, the sweater is back to normal, fits great (except for the slightly too long sleeves), and is ready for a zipper. I, meanwhile, was ready for a really stiff drink.

In much less traumatic knitting news, I finished the Red Sox Socks - I gave them to my friend yesterday, and I'm hoping they'll both fit, and also bring her boys luck as they head into the playoffs!

There was also quite a lot of excitement on the animal front chez-Maeve this weekend - we decided it was time to take the introductions to the next level. Prior to this weekend, Abby and Cricket had met several times through the gate at the front door, and all went very well - no hissing, or puffing up, or aggression of any kind. There were even occassional nose-kissing sniffs through the gate!

So next step - let Abby inside, and let Cricket approach her.

AWWWWW!!!! We're not to the point where we'll let Abby wander around freely, and we've started putting the baby gate up in the hallway so that Cricket can get under it, but Abby can't. Hopefully, after a few more supervised weekends, they can be trusted to hang out a bit together...

And finally, I hope that everyone had a good holiday - I spent mine with family and friends, on my parents' porch, eating Maryland blue crabs, steak, and homemade ice cream. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better end to the summer!


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ireland cardigan

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Alpine Lace
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