Okay, this will be a rant-y post. Because after years of knitting and even more years of working with textiles, I still screw up. And badly at that.
So, a few months ago, I started this sweater for my husband. He loves the British racing green color, and I love doing cables, so it seemed the perfect pattern. It was supposed to look like this:
What yarn to use? Just a few weeks before I used a great soy-bamboo blend for this sleep sack for my son, and I loved the sheen and drape of bamboo. It was a pleasure to works with, and wears great. So for this sweater I settled on a 70% bamboo 30% wool blend, which promised to be drapey and warm at the same time.
I bought the yarn, made swatches, took measurements of my husband, adjusted the pattern where it was needed. I took time to make sure it fit well. Tried it in to him several times during knitting.
Even with other projects interfering in the meantime, I was sure that it will be ready before the cold weather arrives. And after 100+ hours of knitting, spread over almost three months, it was finished. Seamed. Ends woven in. Washed and laid flat to dry. (no pins – I didn’t want stretch the fabric.) It was lovely. Beautiful color, great sheen, a yarn that shows off the stitch pattern beautifully.
Then I put it on.
Now, this is the sweater on me., after washing:
Oh dear. Oh, dear oh dear. Granted, I’m a bit shorter than he is, but not by much. Maybe two inches. But this sweater is about ten inches too long and twenty too wide!
Yes, it was the bamboo. As I have learned, it grows when it gets wet, and DOES NOT shrink back. Spray blocking. Steaming. Washing it again. I experimented on the swatches to see if anything at all would make it remember its original size.
The stockinette stitch swatch on the left went through the drier, the cabled one I steamed. The pins don’t hold the fabric down, they only show the original size. As you can see, steaming even made it grow a few millimeters, and a gentle tumbling on low heat made the other one curl up (not a big concern for the sweater, and shrink lengthwise, but not in width.
Now I have a sweater no one in the family can wear. It is huuuuuuge. [gently banging head on the wall] Nicely patterned and great color, but looks more like a Snuggie than a sweater. I wonder if I have any other choice than to frog it, and make it into a blanket. Or a Snuggie?
Have you worked with bamboo or bamboo-wool blend before? How did it work out? What projects did you find it suitable for?