Saturday, December 27, 2008
A tale of two sweaters
This is the sweater that I knit for my son for Christmas. It fits and he loves it... in fact, he's hardly taken it off since he unwrapped it Christmas morning. I used Dream in Color Classy in the November Muse colorway, yarn held doubled. I have knit this sweater before...
I knit this one late in 2006 for my boy. This one is Patons Shetland Chunky that my son picked out himself. He wore the heck out of this one and it has outlasted his growth spurts... it's still in excellent condition, just sadly too small.
In hindsight, I should have used the same yarn the second time around and saved a boatload of money not to mention stress. The Dream in Color knit up beautifully. It was a treat to work up and created such a lovely, squooshy fabric. All was well until it hit the washer. I washed it on the handwash cycle in my washing machine. I peeked on it several times during the washing process and was a bit alarmed by what I found... large clumps of fluffy wool coming out of the sweater. Still though, I pressed on and the sweater seemed to be faring well... I figured it was just part of the first wash process.
Then I put it in the dryer -- again on the delicate cycle. It took forever to dry up but it sprung back in to shape fairly well. What I wasn't expecting was how the sweater would come out dull in color and covered in pills. Overall the sweater had a halo but not a good one -- definitely the look of an old, worn out sweater. Not what I was going for!
For the sweater knit with Patons, I had washed and dried it with the rest of our laundry -- no special treatment -- dozens of times. It was constantly in rotation due to how often my son had worn it. The sweater knit with Patons even after years of machine washing looks far better than the sweater knit with Dream in Color after one washing.
Be careful with Dream in Color when you're truly making a machine washable garment. For a child, without question the garment needs to at least be able to be washed on the delicate cycle. Take the 'superwash' with a grain of salt. I've seen it hand wash and block out beautifully and that's how it should be treated in my opinion.
Stick to wool/acrylic blends for kids knits in particular. I think that the blends that are in our craft stores and LYSs are far underrated and have gotten a bad rap. Don't swear them off too quick. You'll find a wide array of attractive colors, soft fibers (even if they are acrylic) and you'll save a boatload of money especially when compared to Dream in Color Classy's steep $18 a hank price tag.
The good news is that after hand washing, depilling and overall general fuddling with, the Dream in Color sweater did regain some of its integrity and is at least presentable now. My son loved the sweater and it'll keep him cozy and warm for some time to come -- or at least until the next growth spurt.
added later: I did what to say that I've knit a couple of sweaters for my boys using Mission Falls 1824 wool and they wash up beautifully and are so, so soft. Not all superwash wools are created equal!