Posted by: Jenn | March 23, 2009

This Just In: Soak Wrongfully Accused!

Reports circulated last week that Soak, a well-loved wool wash, had wreaked havoc on the sweater of a Portland local. Jenn, knitter of the victimized sweater-to-be, propagated the accusation during an afternoon visit to the yarn shop Dublin Bay, where she originally acquired her sample size Soak. In conversation with the proprietress and a staff member, both experienced Soak users, Jenn claimed that the product severely desaturated the hue of the yarn used for her Climbing Vines Pullover (Interweave Knits, 2008). She found this particularly vexing since the collar of the sweater was knit after the rest had been washed with Soak–so there now exists an abrupt color change between the two.

Exhibit 1: Sweater, pre-Soaking

Exhibit 1: Sweater, pre-Soaking

Her claim was met with shock and alarm by both parties, neither of whom had experienced such a phenomenon with the beloved wool wash.

After hearing of this great controversy, I contacted Jenn, the disillusioned knitter herself. This is her story, as was told to me:

Illustrious Reporter: So, how did you begin to suspect that Soak was not the actual  culprit in this sad story?
Jenn, Disillusioned Knitter: Because I liken myself to a bastion of truth, and because I really, really wanted to finish this sweater, I tried Soaking only the collar in the same wool wash as I used for the body. But there was no observable color change. I had a Myth Busted! moment.

IR: Jamie and Adam would be proud. But were you ready to give up, or were you still holding on to some hope?
J, DK: I was kind of on autopilot, actually. I took my partially soaked piece to my blocking board (really the guest bed), and laid it down to dry. And that’s when I had my epiphany.

Exhibit 2: A green collar vs yellow-green sweater. Soak lurks in the background.

Exhibit 2: A green collar vs yellow-green sweater. Soak lurks in the background.

IR: Epiphany, huh? I think even James Joyce would consider that a little strong in this context.
J, DK: I might agree had not a sizable incandescent bulb popped into a glaringly bright and flashy existence above my head. Plus, I thrive on hyperbole. But this totally is within the normal limits.
…The blinds were open. The sun was streaming in. I thought, “What the hell?! Isn’t this Portland? In the winter!?!” And several seconds later, “Mother of god.” The sun rays across the sweater where breathtaking–you know, in a horrifying, world-crashing-around-you kind of way. And I knew what had happend. Sunlight bleaches wool. The yarn is 80% cotton & 20% wool. Mother of god.

IR: Wow. It sounds like Soak is definitely off the metaphorical meat hook, then?
J, DK: Yeah, absolutely, since the sweater sat there for a week of similarly sunny days. My first theory, “Soak desaturated my sweater,” is out. Instead I’m forced to acknowledge the alternate, “Jenn UV bleached her own sweater, the silly woman.”

IR: That is a pivoting story, and I, for one, feel very glad to have the reputation of one wool wash restored. Do you have any final thoughts?
J, DK: Just one– Does it count as slander if I really thought it was true?



  1. And now will ye be lookin’ to soak the collar in the glorious rays of the sun for seven days?

  2. Yes, precisely. So I’ve got the rest of the sweater covered by towels…it looks kind of ridiculous, but is totally worth it. Turns out that only one sleeve was bleached, as well, so darker one is also set out. If the colors never match up, I’ll just rip out the bleached sleeve and use that yarn to redo the collar and add ribbing to the armholes–and end up with a vest. But man, I want this to work out as a pullover!

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