Early Fixing

Although the February Fixathon has yet to begin, I'm fixing a project I abandoned long ago. If you've ever poked around my archives, you may have seen the Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket, which I affectionately named the Alphablankie.

Click to see it bigger!

I knit it while I was pregnant and it was to be John's special blanket. I took it with to his baptism and used it a lot. Then we moved to our new apartment. In the hurry of moving, it was put on the floor of our linen closet along with some duvet covers and sheets. Linen closets are usually safe places. Ours was not. Our dishwasher was somehow leaking into the wall and I didn't notice this until a persistent wet spot developed on the carpet outside the linen closet, two weeks after we moved in. I opened the closet and to my horror, found a soaking wet pile of sheets and the alphablankie. I actually started crying when I saw the mildew on it. Despite numerous washings, hydrogen peroxide and some bizarre mildew stain treatment I tried, there was widespread staining. Since it's 80% cotton/20% wool, I couldn't use straight up chlorine bleach. I sadly put the blanket away until I could face it again.

I'm not big into dyeing things and I hadn't heard the best things about Rit. All of my giant pots and kettles are reserved for food anyway. When I found some Dylon cold water dye at Denver Fabrics, I figured I the blanket couldn't get any worse and bought some dye in French Navy. While I briefly pondered dyeing a swatch first, I quickly got over that notion, soaked the blanket in water and tossed the whole thing into a trash can full of dye.

The blanket weighs about 12 oz. and I had enough dye for 8 oz. of fabric, but I figured a lighter color would be prettier. For a while I really thought it was going to turn out purple and I'd have to save this blanket for some future daughter. Fortunately it started looking much more blue after about twenty minutes.

I thought the soaking in the dye would be the longest part. I was so wrong. After the hour spent soaking, the instructions direct you to rinse until the water runs clear. I shudder to think how many gallons of water this took, filling my trash can up, sloshing the blanket around, dumping the water. Although I never got to the point where it was entirely clear, it was a very pale crystal blue when I gave up. A few times through the washing machine and the rinse water was clear! I tossed it in the dryer and it's now this lovely shade of demin blue.

I think that between the attempted stain removal and the dyeing I did some damage to the wool part of the yarn. Little tufts of soft white fiber gathered up on the blanket in the washing machine, but I'm really okay with that. I know Cotton Fleece isn't really a machine wash and dry yarn, but this is a baby blanket for goodness sake and it's holding up just fine! The mildew stains are still visible if you look closely, but they're nowhere near as noticeable as they were against the original ivory color. I rescued John's alphablankie!


At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Stain Removal said...

That seems like quite an adventure you had there. Congratulations on managing to save the alphablankie!


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