Wednesday, April 20, 2011

pre-soaking cotton yarn to avoid color bleed // blocking my swatch

knit picks simply cotton yarn in worsted prussian heater and camel colors
since bobbi (expert knitter; friend; project manager of this sweater) has instilled the fear of god in me if i don't PROPERLY gauge my new sweater, i'm going the full nine in terms of prep work. in addition to blocking my swatch, i also thought that i should do something about the color-fastness of my dark navy yarn, which will be striped with my much-lighter camel colored yarn. (this sweater turning into a muddled colored blog is probably actually a bigger concern of mine than this stupid swatch.)

cotton yarn pre soak in vinegar and salt to avoid color bleeding necessary for a striped knit sweater

after some brief internet research, i amassed my materials.
* 1/4 cup of salt
* 1/2 cup of vinegar
* 4 cups of hot water
* bowl

first, you need to be working with a skein of yarn...not a ball or this won't work (a ball is too tight). luckily for me, knit picks packaged this one up already as a skein. also, don't do this with wool! only with cotton. apparently the hot water will cause the wool to felt.

soaking cotton yarn in vinegar and salt to avoid color bleed yarn is organic cotton in navy blue from knit picks

then i dissolved the salt & vinegar in the hot water, put in my skein of cotton in, soaked for 20 minutes, rinsed. then because i didn't want to smell like a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips, i quickly gave it a soak in wool-lite, and a final rinse. then set it out to dry. honestly, this literally took me 5 minutes to put together...and after seeing almost no color come out of this dark blue yarn, i'm feeling pretty reassured.

organic cotton dark colored yarn drying after soak in vinegar and salt mixture to avoid color bleed
blocking organic cotton swatch before designing a sweater

while all of this was going on, i also blocked my swatch. before that, i took crazy measurements of the pre-blocked swatch and got my pre-blocked gauge. then soaked it a bit hear in some wool-lite, rinsed it out and pinned it out with some T-pins. i'm so proud of myself for being so thorough and not cheating my way through this sweater!

blocking and pinning organic cotton swatch


Jessi said...

i made a test gauge on my sweater project, but didn't block it :{

Evelyn and Flora said...

whoa! good for you! i've never blocked anything before but your page has inspired me to give it a go- im crocheting a cardigan and have already seamed a side. is it ok to block after seaming (when everything is put together), or do i have to block the individual pieces (body,sleeves,etc) then seam them together???
by the way, i just LOVE your jadeite piece!

acommonthread said...

@evelyn & flora - blocking is so great! especially if you're using wool, it makes everything looks sooo nice and drapey. i think you're supposed to block individual pieces if possible because you have more control over each one. that said, you can always block your pieces after you've worn them a few times and need to get them back into shape...

Beth said...

very nice work! so, can i much different was your preblocked gauge compared to your post blocked gauge?

also, won't it take forever for that skein of cotton to dry?

i have to admit that i'm rarely this meticulous with regard to pre-work of my project, which is likely why i have so many ill fitting garmets!

i can't wait to see the finished sweater! happy stitches!

acommonthread said...

hi beth - thanks!! i'm pretty proud of myself too...this thing better be perfect ;)

pre and post blocked gauge was actually really different! i went from a CO of 160 to 138........which makes a huge difference. preblocked 4" = 15.67 and postblocked 4" = 13.67" (yes, that's right, i'm using 2 decimal places).

and yeah, the skein did take forever. and i started getting worried that i'd end up with sour yarn. so, i started this horrible process of unraveling into a pile, letting it dry, moving it to a ball, then unraveling more to dry. i think a better solution is unwrapping your entire skein around the legs of your chair to let it dry.

Nikki said...

Interesting. I shrink everything knit so my 10 year old neighbor has some really nice sweaters of mine ;)

Kristen said...

I work in cotton a lot and really need to start doing this! I love your blog by the way, I've been following you for a little while now and everything you post is so inspirational! :)