Friday, August 24, 2007

Big Red Update


Last night I seriously pondered what I was going to do about Big Red. She's become finicky and I've become finicky as a result. But ultimately Big Red won.

I undid the seam on the sleeve that I worked on the other evening and was all set to try and steam block (I even got most of the body pinned) before I remembered "Oh, right, the excess dye that has turned my hands pink!"

Note the two horizontal lines on my index and pinky fingers where I carry the yarn.
"Pinky" is very apropos, no?
Please pay no attention to my creepy double-jointed fingers. :)

So having gotten ahead of myself, I undid my lovely pinning and I got out my plastic wash basin. Now here's my big question: Yes, I know that to remove extra dye you need to use vinegar, water, and heat. But is there a specific ratio? Does it matter? Because I pretty much just filled the basin with enough hot water to cover each piece and added a healthy amount of vinegar. But there was no scientific mixing involved and since I do things according to pre-determined ratios all the time (because otherwise, buildings collapse and people get sued), this made me nervous. Would something happen if I used too much vinegar? If I didn't use enough would I have to keep repeating this over and over again?

But a funny thing happened when I rinsed Big Red. I realized how BRILLIANT the concept of blocking is. This is funny only because I am apparently the last one to the party. The sleeves that I thought would be too tight are suddenly a delightful size perfect for wearing layered over a long sleeve shirt. The stitches look orderly and professional. And in general I'm loving this sweater even more than before and this is only after a rinse and not actually blocking the thing!

There's just one problem (and I'm not talking about the fact the sweater and my apartment both reek of vinegar): there's still dye coming out of the sweater.

Now, to clarify, I only did one wash in the vinegar and hot water mixture. I laid the sleeves and the body out to dry on towels on top of my yoga mat (might as well put it to some use). And used some paper towels to pat dry and get some of the excess moisture out. I then left a paper towel on the sweater for a bit just to see if there was any residue left. And there was.

Please note the towels in the picture are actually pink and not Big Red's imitation of a red sock tossed in with a load of whites.

So I think finishing Big Red will take another wash or two in a vinegar bath until I don't get any more excess dye (Didn't have time last night in between making a huge batch of zucchini bread... yum!). But I wish there were more detailed instructions on how to do this rather than just willy-nilly mixing up a stinky bath.

I'll have to pick up some nice smelling wool wash this weekend.