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Old 03-26-2008, 10:55 AM   #1
MomofAlex
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Will a blocked cotton sweater stay the blocked size after washing?
I'm piecing together a baby sweater knit out of KnitPicks Crayon and am fearing that it will be a bit small. If I block it to make it a big bigger (mostly in arm length), after the recipient washes it will it keep my blocked size? I'm afraid not, but one can always hope! Thanks, Jean
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:59 AM   #2
DorothyDot
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In my experience, yes. It will stay as blocked. That's why most of the non-wool yarn instructions say to machine wash AND machine dry on low.

Dot

PS - Whoops! I just saw your word, Cotton. That changes things dramatically - my experience is almost entirely with acrylic fiber yarns. Wool, not familiar. The only cotton I've knitted with is either for dishcloths or for socks; and cotton yarn for socks is entirely too un-stretchy for me to recommend it to anyone else for this use.

But as a sweater? I'd think that un-stretchiness would make stretching and blocking not real successful from the get-go. Again, I've not really done that, so maybe someone more cotton-yarn-experienced would be better able to answer.
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:57 PM   #3
MomofAlex
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Just to clarify - this is a toddler sweater. The pattern is Little Star Sweater by Zoe Mellor from "Adorable Knits for Tots".
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:35 PM   #4
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Hiya mom,
K, just for the record, cotton has absolutely NO stitch memory at ALL!! LOL
Sooo, that being said you have to "refresh" it everytime you wash it.
But beings it's a smaller sweater it should be ok, just DO NOT hang it. Cotton when it is wet is very very heavy and it will stretch because of gravity, so either dry it on low in the dryer til it's dry or lay it flat on a towel or absorbant surface, forming it into shape. It's not near as picky as wool yarn but not as carefree as acrylic. O yeah one more thing, ALWAYS, ALWAYS wash in cold or the item will shrink (think blue jeans).
So one advantage of cotton is that as the child grows mom can take the sweater out of the wash n stretch it a little bit then let it dry and it'll hold THAT size n shape.
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:55 PM   #5
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Thanks fibernut and Dot - I think I got my answer. I was hoping that I could "encourage" the sleeves to be longer, but it sounds like I'll need to either 1) reknit them or 2) ask the mom to give them a tug before drying.
Come to think of it, that's what I do with a few of my store-bought cotton items - not sure why I thought/hoped this would be different!
Thanks for the help. Jean
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Old 03-26-2008, 03:59 PM   #6
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I work almost exclusively with cotton/cotton blends (most recycled thrift sweaters) and I design sweaters to be narrower and a bit longer from the get go as they grow in width, shrink in length when worn. (No elasticity to pull back horizontally.) I actually DO hang cottons to force them to lengthen and force the fibers to pull in horiz (to reduce the width).

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Old 03-26-2008, 08:16 PM   #7
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Come to think of it, it seems you have to re-block wool sweaters after every washing too.
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:18 PM   #8
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i'm glad you asked this question because i've been wondering this myself.
in general, when working with natural fibers (like wool), do blocked items stay in that blocked shape after washing? and if not, then that's really disappointing :(
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