Friday, June 25, 2010

The Twenty Two Dollar Experiment

Silk Cocoon: Fotograf: Gerd A.T. Müller
Courtesy Wiki Commons

In search of additional silky wool for the Log Cabin blankie, I went up to the yarn store the other day. I found what I was looking for and a little something else for a cute little cardi that I had in mind for the chilly moments encountered in summertime, specifically, air conditioned venues. The pattern is free on Ravelry. I didn't want wool, because let's face it, menopause and wool in the summertime just don't make for a good match. I looked for worsted weight bamboo, but the store didn't have any. I'm not crazy about knitting with cotton, and the hemp? Meh. I opted for, Rowan's Summer Tweed. It's 70 percent silk and 30% cotton.

About 1/3 of the way through the cast on edge, I noticed this yarn has a peculiar, funky and bordering on nasty smell. In the nursing biz, we call that malodorous. As though saying something has an odor isn't enough, we have to add the prefix, mal, to distinguish the smell as being particularly offensive. One should be able to say, it smells like shit, and any other nurse should have complete understanding, but no, we are a group compelled to add a little literary flourish to our otherwise drab charting: the patient had a large, malodorous stool. It's still shit, but now it reads better on paper.

Back to the silk. I've used one out of 8 skeins so far and can't bear the thought of returning the remainder of the yarn to the store yet. The odor encountered while holding the beginnings of this sweater in my hands was enough to stop me from continuing. Not wanting to give up, I've tossed a second skein of the silk into a basin full of scorching hot water and soaked it in Eucalan for nearly an hour. Of course I read the instructions not to soak this fiber. Why do you ask? I lost a little color with the use of hot water, but what the heck, it's that or nothing. For the rinse, I added a splash of white vinegar (no citric acid powder on hand). The skein is hanging out to dry now, and so far, so good. It smells like vinegar and eucalyptus and believe me, that's a lot better than the stench I first encountered.

I've not knit with silk too often, and what I have knit and spun has had no odor, probably due in part to the fact that the silk was not the predominant fiber in the blend. When I googled stinky silk yarn, quite a few things popped up. It's not as stinky as dog though, so maybe it'll be OK and there are some sites where knitters have stated the smell goes away after a couple of washes.

Fingers crossed.

Have you encountered stinky silk before? How did you manage the smell?


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh i LOVE that pattern! so sorry about the stinky yarn, have never heard of it before but then the only yarn i ever bought was walmart! yikes!

smiles, bee

Stephanie V said...

No, never had stinky silk before and have knitted with it a few times. If it ever happens, though, I;ll know what to use.

SkippyMom said...

"It's still shit but it reads better on paper."

BEST line all year - leave it to you Rudee to be funny and offensive all in one line [in a good way]

Wow! Too great! Thanks for the laugh.

I hope you are able to complete it - the pattern looks lovely.

Miss 376 said...

I hope the washing works, it looks a lovely colour. I've never had stinky silk either.

Rose said...

Not in yarn, but I have bought a silk yarn tank top before and had it stink to high heaven. It never went away, but that was before I was a knitter and knew about Eucalan. Hope it helps!

NCmountainwoman said...

I've used a lot of silk but have never encountered a bad odor. What a bummer. BTW: I love the pattern.

Devon said...

I never had a 'malodorous' silk yarn, only have knitted with it a couple times. As long as it is better than 'dog', just be sure to wear it when Leo is around.

sapphireblue said...

I like your counter top. I've only ever knit with something that contained 10% silk.

I wonder if that rinse would work on my stinky llama sweater.

Queenmothermamaw said...

I have never experienced the yarn stinky but the nursing description of stinky, yep right on. Shit by any other name. Just had a conversation with gd the other day about using the word feces. No she said, it is ----.LOL, ok. blessings

Sandy said...

wow stinky yarn....what causes that?

Brenda said...

Hmmmm....nope never heard of it. Just curious why you didn't take it back?

Rositta said...

Yes, I have a really pretty top I knit with raw silk that stll stinks even after numerous washes. I never wear it anymore sadly, it was terribly expensive...ciao