Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wool in the Wash!

  Things don't always turn out the way we want them to. I never expected to face so many challenges in such a short time, and it has thrown off my schedule and finances. (The car breaking down; that could be expected, but it was unplanned for...) I'm desperately in need of some new clothes, so I thought I could make a few lacy summer tops from the yarn in my stash to save a few bucks on the wardrobe budget. Most are coming out well, but I had one that didn't fit me as perfectly as I had hoped. Before the a/c in the house quit on me (note: I live in Florida and its SUMMER), I used Caron Cakes (20% wool) to make a warm but breathable top to keep me from shivering... In the air conditioning. Maybe I won't be wearing that top any time soon, but I did find a solution to fix the fit: High heat in the dryer.

Caron Cakes, wool, worsted weight, yarn, top, blouse, tank top, granny stitch, square, crochet, garments, drying, shrinkage

  Still looks great, right? I know, I'm surprised, too. Many of my acrylic yarns hold up well to washing and drying, but I don't usually use high heat to dry them. And no, this wasn't an accident like with the soap saver, I meant to put in in there in order to shrink it. I was using my dress-form for fitting, thinking that one size bigger would be okay for a top. But it wasn't okay with this material. (You'll see more about that in the upcoming GrannySpiration Challenge.)

Caron Cakes, wool, worsted weight, yarn, top, blouse, tank top, granny stitch, square, crochet, garments, drying, shrinkage

  Knowing that Caron Cakes would hold up to machine washing and drying, I decided to give it a try on high heat. I had previously thrown one of my hats in with a load (another accident) and it came out just a tiny bit smaller... Not enough to ruin the project, but it turned a roomy beanie into a well-fitting beanie. I was confident that the dryer could turn my somewhat loose blouse into the form-fitting top I wanted.

Caron Cakes, wool, worsted weight, yarn, top, blouse, tank top, granny stitch, square, crochet, garments, drying, shrinkage

  It suffered through the abuse and came out as I had hoped! It fits perfectly. As can always be expected, I had the end  of a tail pop out. It happens every time. Other than that, the top is still in one piece and no more fuzzy than when I had washed it by hand.

Caron Cakes, wool, worsted weight, yarn, top, blouse, tank top, granny stitch, square, crochet, garments, drying, shrinkage

  Extra-tall stitches were used for super-stretchy, airy lace. I did notice more fuzz around these areas, but as I said above: That was there after hand-washing. Perhaps the choice in materials was just the wrong way to go for this project. I've made two other tops similar to this; one in acrylic and the other in a cotton/bamboo blend. Both have better drape and are so much cooler (in slang meaning and temperature) than this version, and neither has fuzz around the taller stitches.

Caron Cakes, wool, worsted weight, yarn, top, blouse, tank top, granny stitch, square, crochet, garments, drying, shrinkage

  I guess I'm in an experimental mood. First, with trying to fix the color in my cotton yarn; now with making summer tops in wool blends... Maybe this heat is just frying my brain. What was I thinking? IT'S WOOL. Well, I was thinking of how I shiver in the air conditioning at the time, but now all we have is a portable unit that's doing its best to keep the house at a balmy 89°. No wool needed now! Experiment failed. Meh, you can't blame the yarn. It held up awesomely to washing and drying, and I even have a little left over after making my top a size too big. That part of this experiment was a win.

  So, I'm pretty sure that this pattern could be made up to a size large with just two balls of yarn. It follows more of a "format" than a pattern, which makes it easy to adjust how you want it to fit. With the other two tops I've worked up, I've found different areas and methods that can be changed to make it even better. And that means I have a lot of work to do! I'll be sharing the bare-bones how-to at the GrannySpiration Challenge. More will come soon after to help you mix and match techniques to create a perfect-fitting, easy-to-make top.


Happy Crocheting!

PS- There's more than just the granny stitch that makes this pattern suitable for the Challenge... There's a square in there! Can you find it? Hop on over to Crochet is the Way's Facebook page and you can see a sneak peek of the entire top.

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