On Monday afternoon I finished my denim coat and tossed it in the washer to shrink it.
This is knit from Rowan Denim: a cotton yarn. I am not felting the coat, but shrinking it lengthwise and fading the color. I put it in the washer with a large dark colored bath towel (for friction) and sent it through a regular cycle with hot wash and cold rinse. A lot of dye washed off. It actually stained the inside of my washer slightly.
From the washer into the dryer, where it took about 90 minutes to dry on a hot cycle.
Then I repeated the wash/dry process again last night.
After the first wash/dry, it shrunk nicely in length — pretty much exactly how much I expected: about 17%. There was some slight fading of color.
After the second wash/dry, it shrunk in length a wee bit more, so in total it shrunk about 20%. There was a little more color fading as well.
Because the coat is a textured knit, more fading occurs on the parts that “stick out” so you get a nice contrast on the relief portion of the cables.
I used 34 skeins of Rowan Denim in the “Memphis” colorway and a U.S. size 5 needle.
There was a comment recently about the advisability of attaching sleeves before shrinking: wouldn’t the lengthwise shrinking affect the set of the sleeves? It doesn’t. I’ve knit denim sweaters in the past, put them together entirely, and then tossed them in the washer, and it has worked out just fine each time. I discussed this almost two years ago, in this blog post. The only drawback to waiting until I finish a garment before washing it? It’s a long wait to get to see how the design looks after shrinking fading! But that is incentive to knit faster.
There was also a question about whether it would shrink proportionately over the different pattern motifs — would they all shrink at the same rate?
I am extraordinarily happy with this coat. It is oversized, and that’s what I wanted. Since I will be wearing it as outerwear, I wanted a very loose fit so it would be easy to put on over something with sleeves. I think it is going to make a great light autumn coat.
No photo of it being worn — I was unable to get a good shot indoors.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go pet Lucy, who is waiting patiently.