(I may have been channeling a bit of Scarlet O’Hara when I came up with that subject line.)
A while back I came across a revolutionary (to me, anyway) post by Elinor over at Exercise Before Knitting. In this post, she alleged that you can, in fact, use the washing machine for handwash-only yarn projects.
Take a moment to acclimate. Allow yourself to feel the shock and horror, and then, if you haven’t run screaming from the internet to never look back, think about this: If she’s not entirely off her rocker, that means no more handwashing all those socks, that giant bulky sweater (what, you don’t have a Vivian or an Owls sweater? what’s wrong with you?!), whatever things people knit from non-washable wools.
(Side note: I threw my Petrie in the regular wash the other day, being that it’s a) machine washable and b) cotton, so not entirely likely to shrink or felt anyway, and it came out just fine. I begin to see the appeal of cotton.)
Being a fan of general experimentation*, especially if it doesn’t involve buying fancy equipment—don’t get me wrong, I love a good beaker like any other gal (…what?), but I don’t have room in my house for a Bunsen burner and related accoutrements—I pondered, and thought, and realized that had worn all of my handknitted socks.
Now, summer time is not really the time to be wearing handknitted socks, especially if you’re me and you hate wearing anything on your feet in general. Believe me, my descent into sock-knitting addiction was incredibly confusing, particularly since I lived in Florida. So not having any clean handknit socks was not weighing heavily on my mind. Having a pile of socks taking up space on the floor rather than being tucked neatly into the sock drawer was sort of taxing, but not in a way that makes me actually do anything about it, since I kind of hate handwashing socks. It’s just tedious to me, and takes more time than I would like, to soak them in the sink and then spend a good amount of time wringing out the socks, one by one, then putting them on a towel for another purging… I’m tired just think about this.
So last night, I placed my knitting faith in Elinor’s words of wisdom, and following her instructions, I threw all of my handknit socks in the washing machine and went about with my evening. (If you’re curious, I’ve been watching a BBC drama called State of Play, and it’s quite excellent.) I allowed the socks to soak for about half an hour or so, prayed to the Appliance Gods that my washing machine wouldn’t go insane (you haven’t met this machine; anything is possible) and twirled the dial to the last spin cycle and, well.
Fifteen or so pairs of socks, all washed and mostly dried in under an hour. I’m not kidding. I pulled them out of the washer and most of them were at least 80% dry. All of them were dry this morning. Maybe 5 minutes of effort on my part. I like this game, especially since I’m knitting yet another pair of socks.
Before you ask which socks I wore today, let me just stop you right there. My footwear today was my summer standard: flip flops. Oh yeah.
*Typically, my “experiments” involve me saying “What happens if I do this?” and are food-related; I figure the worst thing that can happen is I throw out a burning mass of something and order a pizza. That’s my kind of science.