I am facing one of my blind spots regarding knitted color work, the problem of yarns that bleed when washed. Dark and intense colors are the worst, and some of my favorite color work sweaters have become dull over time.
I have tried color catchers, but they can’t handle the intense concentration of left over dye in some yarns. I realize now that I need to check all my yarn before I knit color work with it. You might even consider testing your single colored projects since any color can fade with time. I wish I had checked my cardigan knit from Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel color way. I feel a little sad when I see fresh balls of this yarn and see how pale my sweater has become over time. If you feel resistance to trying this process, think about how many hours you will spend knitting this project, and then all the years you will wear it, and how many times you will wash it. I’m active, messy person and I love to wear my sweaters. They need to be cleaned a couple of times a year, and I can’t afford to get them all dry cleaned, so anything I can do to extend their life is worthwhile.
First I place little swatch of yarn in very hot soapy water to see if it changes color. All of the yarns in the quadrant below bled a little, but the black yarn was like ink. I washed all the yarn with a little shampoo and water and tried purl soho’s recommendations for fixing dye with amazing results. You can see how much the black dye bled in the upper left hand corner, but the dye bonded completely to the yarn after I added the citric acid mixture. The yarn was dry in less than an hour thanks to my trusty food dehydrator. Yes, I am a genius. If you sew ribbon on your cardigans, either to reinforce the button bands or to hide steeks, they may also bleed color. Try the citric acid technique or be sure to match the ribbon with a darker colored yarn that won’t show if it bleeds.
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