Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

Settle Down Now

Dear Ann,
I seem to have caused some freaking out with my reference to putting the finished sample for the Mitered Crosses Blanket in my so-called foreign washing machine. I need to clear this up, stat, before the knitting police haul me away.
1. Why did I refer to my galley-kitchen-sized stacking washing machine as “foreign”? Longtime readers will remember an incident with my prior washing machine, the venerable Herr Miele. Like its predecessor, the current washing machine, Eine Kleine Nacht Miele, is from Deutschland, or at least has relations there. Its ways are strange to me, from its multiple choices of temperature (including both “cold” and the mysterious “no heat”, and hots ranging from merely “hot” to “very hot” to “sanitize”) to its cycles lasting from 39 minutes to 2 hours and 13 minutes, while using no measurable quantity of water. Hence I call it “foreign.” I mean no offense, but I was raised on the kind of machine that takes up half the basement, has a choice of “Hot/Warm/Cold”, holds many gallons of good old American H2O, and is operated by pulling the dial out while simulaneously trying not to pull the dial OFF. Right or wrong, to me that is a proper domestic appliance and always will be.
2. Why in the name of all that is sacred did I put a blanket comprised of 18 skeins of rare and mostly discontinued Noro Silk Garden into the—[unearthly howl]–WASHING MACHINE? Here’s why and how: EKN Miele has a setting called “handwash.” If you saw a human handwashing a garment in the manner of this machine, you would say, “That’s not ‘washing'; that’s ‘moistening.'” The handwash cycle on this particular machine is extremely gentle. It is the washing-machine equivalent of a mother spitting on a Kleenex to wipe a spot of schmutz from a beloved child’s cheek. I have tested it many times. I am confident that I could wash a living creature on the handwash cycle, with no harm done.
blocking4.jpg
And in fact, no harm was done.
3. Should people wash their Noro Silk Garden blankets in the washing machine? On the advice of counsel, and as a matter of protecting myself from liability, I say HELL NO. I am sorry to have mentioned it. I am over the age of legal consent, and I have machine washed my blanket as a matter of personal choice, at my own risk and on my own responsibility, in a privately owned and maintained washing machine. I do not advise, counsel, or recommend that anyone else take such action.
It’s really all right.
Love,
Kay

Tags:

60 Comments

60 Comments

  1. I use my “take up half the basement” “domestic” washer for my handwashables all the time. I use it like a big basin for soaking that also spins the water out. I love it. The blanket looks awesome. Can’t wait to see your photo shoot.

  2. Memories of German washing machines! I’ve lived in Germany twice — and remember deciphering all those settings — and trying to figure out what a “kochwasche” was. Oh, but it had a wool cycle as well — which was muchly appreciated in the winter where people smoked everywhere you went. And your sweaters reeked. Except when I put something in the wrong cycle and it took 2 1/2 hours to wash stuff …. That was the winter (pre-Craig Ferguson) that there was much snow in NYC — which we discovered by watching Letterman on some German channel at night — he would go outside on West 52nd St — and it was so good to glimpse the city…
    Now I am trying to get my husband to go to Wollmeise on his next trip … it was 45 minutes from where we lived according to the Google …

  3. On the advice of an expert-knitter friend, I have machine-washed my Silk Garden sweaters, and in an American machine too (albeit a front-loader, and using cold water). They come out lovely and soft, no problem.

  4. I wasn’t at all concerned before, but now…well, in that photograph, Olive looks a bit felted, doesn’t she?
    Re: your earlier question, there are probably lots of landscape-y opps (Japanese tea gardens, stone sculpture gardens, and the like) but my first thought for a blanket portrait shoot would be fairly tight shots with Japanese stone “pillows” – lovely textural contrast, subtle palette…oooh.
    Do you know any collectors? or anyone with a key to the museum? You must – MDK knows EV’rybody!
    Wish I could do it! Good luck :)

  5. Will I be able to wait for that photo shoot? Hardly. Looks soft and lovely and inviting!

  6. It looks just beautiful. My Silk Garden 269 was shipped from Canada today. I will keep you posted on whether I dare put it in the machine. When I actually finish it about a year from now… I will have all the squares done in a jif. It’s the making up that paralyzes me.

  7. Once a lawyer…

  8. As a wannabe quilter – who prefers 2 sticks and string – this might just be the kind of quilt I could handle – Fabulous job – exceptionally cute pup!

  9. I am with you sister. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same in Mr. Bosch on the Wool setting. Your blanket is lovely. I am inspired.

  10. Those German washing machines are just as you say – all it’s own little opera, veering madly between heaven and a level of hell where printed-on tags on clothes are literally washed away during one of those long cycles. Twice now I’ve been to Germany for work and was in an apt both times. The first time I accidently washed my clothes in one of those 2 1/2 hour cycles. I thought I had broken the machine. I can always tell which shirts I had with me – the labels are long gone. At least on my last trip this past summer, I figured out the delicate and handwash cycles.
    And the dryers that aren’t vented, but have a part that comes out of the dryer that you have to empty! The clothes are never totally dry, even after repeating the cycle 2-3 times. Doing laundry there is an Event.

  11. I might have heard, or even seen, someone put a whole not-for-washing wool blanket in a washing machine, added water for a soak (with a bit of wool wash), then turned to the spin cycle (no agitation). Then I might have heard, or even seen, the blocking of the blanket come out perfectly.
    Or maybe it was a figment of my mind.

  12. Ah Miele. The machine of choice. I have a great fondness for mine !

  13. So glad you posted again, I was really worried there for a minute! Alternately thinking that somehow I entered a time-warp in which you had already finished the denim version of the blanket….

  14. Gaaaaaaaasp [I just exhaled after holding my breath for like five hours]
    I have a lot invested in your blanket, like it’s a nephew or something.

  15. But does your Rowenta know that you’re seeing other appliances?

  16. I have a Clapotis that I made in Silk Garden, and it’s grown quite a bit, to the point that I call it a Clapoghan. I have washed AND dried it a few times now, in an attempt to shrink it a little – and it’s really hard to get that Silk Garden to budge. I wouldn’t hesitate to put any projects made out of it into the washer, myself. YMMV :)

  17. Phew, is all I can say.

  18. I went to school in Germany and clearly remember when my fiber-filled bras were washed at the hottest setting “kochwasche” , which, basically, means “boiling wash”. The completed laudry looked like a garment that Brunhilde would have worn–if only I had owned a helmet with horns.

  19. I have never more than soaked and spun my NSG items in the washer (top-loading American) with fabric softener or wool wash and cold water. I then lay them out flat to dry and give them twenty minutes or so in the dryer on low setting. As we all know, SG does have a tendency to grow with use, I think the fluffing in the dryer helps to bring it back to its senses.
    Other than American laundering devices, I’ve only used a Japanese laundering device – it washed and dried!

  20. LOL!!!

  21. Love this. New place has a fancy washer with 12 million or so settings, so I’m sure I can use this somehow!$

  22. You people just crack me up, bloggers and bloggees alike.
    I was telling the Hub about the $9000 when I realized that is **18,000** copies! 18,000 people!! That just is seeming phenominal. Ok-sorry this is really one post late.

  23. Thank you for reminding me that there are jeans in the washer that should be in the dryer.

  24. Like Katy just before me, you reminded me that I have towels I need to transfer to my all-American Kenmore dryer. I didn’t know any company other than Kenmore made washers and dryers. ;-)
    And I was a little afraid that you had tested that gentle cycle on Olive….

  25. ROTFL
    We’ve got a “Handwash” cycle on ours, too. Seems to work pretty well with my socks, so I might throw a swatch of my handspun in there and see how it turns out.
    Oh, and I see the seat stealing dog is still guarding his new blanket. ; )

  26. You put OLIVE in the washing machine???
    Thanks for needed chuckles – the other thing I read this morning was the Socks for Japan update. I don’t know how to make links in my post here, but you’ll want to look it up, and keep tissues handy.

  27. Mine may be project number 194 (where the counter is at this moment)! Ended up going with Berocco Peruvia for the BC – and perhaps a contrasty i-cord of Lamb’s Pride. We shall see. As we cannot WAIT to see your blanket, post-blocking! XXO

  28. Oh, thank you for addressing this issue so promptly. I was wondering how I was going to get to sleep for all the worrying…
    And the picture with Olive was a reassuring bonus – can’t wait to see the whole afghan in the photo shoot.

  29. In reading Quinn’s comment, above, it put me to mind of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, located in my hometown: San Francisco, CA. When I was a little girl, my mom always made sure we went there in the spring to see the blossoms, sip Jasmine Tea and eat the cookies and little rice crackers served with. Their almond and their sesame cookies are like no other to me.
    Thanks for the memories.
    LoveDiane
    P.S.–Can’t say it enough, BEAUTIFUL blanket!

  30. Whew! I am glad to see the blanket survived & that the new owner is satisfied with your tireless efforts.
    (I still think you are the bravest knitter I know)

  31. Eine Kleine Nacht Miele. Ha!

  32. Renee – that’s the method I learned from Sally Melville in one of her workshops. She said that was how she washes all her knits. It does require a bit of supervision, but my basement can usually stand some cleaning, too! And that’s the real reason for making a big ‘ole swatch – so you can test it in the washer!

  33. Good to know Olive is machine washable! (And that I can post comments!)

  34. Well, the dog is no worst for wear. I’m trying to think what handknits Ive even tossed into the washing machine. Oh, just items made with Lion Brand poly brands. They can take just about any abuse.

  35. I luv this blog!!

  36. Ok, sounds like this was a “professional driver on a closed course ” so I won’t try it at home.

  37. During my semester abroad in Freiburg Germany (then specifically referred to as West Germany), I learned the hard way what the Kochwasche cycle on the washing machine meant! What memories! Thanks for your post.

  38. To get a little pedantic, German washing machine temps are based on the actual temp in Celsius. “Cold” is 30 deg (which ain’t cold, in my estimation), “No temp” would be cold water straight from the tap, and the rest of the temps would correspond to 40, 60, 80, and 100, 100 deg. being the “kochwasche” setting, since that is the boiling point of water. I never dared to use that setting when I lived there, but I have heard that if you want the whitest whites imaginable, that’s what you do.
    Blanket is gorgeous, of course.

  39. I think my hand knits would be washed a lot more frequently if I had such a cycle. Maybe I will investigate the German washing machine once my current washer is dead (in 20 or 30 years hopefully).

  40. I love how far away Olive is sitting from you after she heard you say, “I could wash a living creature on the handwash cycle”! A bath in the tub is bad enough, eh?

  41. First of all, the blanket is stunning. Olive looks pretty determined to keep an eye on it.
    I’m still only on the first block of mine, which is a gift for the husband, and I’ve already warned him that if he even considers tossing the finished blanket into the “heavy-duty” cycle he is so fond of, he’s going down to the LYS with the felted doll blanket to get some more Noro.

  42. I made a 10 stitch blanket of 28 skeins of Noro Silk Garden. I machine washed and dried it…in a Laundromat. I actually did want to felt it just a tad, but no such luck. No adverse effect that I can see – it got fluffy and soft. Well – it does tend to collect static electricity – maybe that’s related to drying in the machine?
    I recently made a small blanket rom Silk Garden Sock and machine washed it too (dried flat though) – again no adverse effect that I could see. Despite of what is on the label I think of Silk Garden as machine washable yarn.

  43. I have a Malvo (or some such machine for which I know not the national origin). It has a knits cycle. I can wash any handknit in it. The cycle is gentler than anything I could do by hand. I often finish knits in the dryer – lay flat on a towel and wait until dry to the touch and give it a few minutes in the dryer. Fluffs things up. No harm no foul.

  44. Beautiful blanket, Kay. All that’s missing from your hilarious legal disclaimer is the dreaded, “Please govern yourself [and your handknits] accordingly.”

  45. You are so dang funny! Went back and read the saga of Herr Miele and haven’t laughed that much since Dave Barry retired. And that blanket is just gorgeous.

  46. Gorgeous blanket, gorgeous dog. Snorted coffee over the Herr Miele story . . .

  47. I wish I could knit as fast as you.

  48. I use the wool handwash setting all the time – ist gut!

  49. So glad to see that I was not the only one who read today’s post and was concerned for—Olive. Although, she does look kind of fluffy in the background. Hmmm? It’s also good to know I have other options if my beloved Miss Maytag ever decides to leave us.

  50. Kay: I admire your patience. Your post reminds me why I have resisted the urge to blog, as I get enough unsolicited advice/commentary/suggestions at my office. Does anyone have a sense of humor, or for that matter, a sense of proportion anymore? Doesn’t seem so.
    EZH (and for those of you who might be wondering, no, not her, she’s tod)

  51. this blog is so funny is it harmones
    that makes you do all this or does noro
    give off fumes or something

  52. Ha, ha — my American Whirlpool has an extremely gentle cycle — it has, on multiple occasions washed hand spun, kettle-dyed wool with amazing results. You just have to know your machine.

  53. Balto wears the blanket handsomely.

  54. I love the word “schmutz”. Thanks for that.

  55. But how did the cream cheese hold up?

  56. Oh how I miss my (Italian) washing machine that never felted a thing!
    It took some trial and error (and unintended felting) to adapt to the American version.
    I donated the mishaps to the dog blanket pile. No one complained ;)

  57. The animals always get the best spots. This blanket looks extremely cozy.

  58. Kay, reading of your “named” washing machines is very entertaining. I have successfully washed my hand knitted “ombre alpaca blanket” in my washing machine, but I am loath to reveal that to people who inquire. The yarn was so expensive that I purchased it on the installment plan, as I knitted the next color of each ombre section. Psychologically, I had no problem repeatedly spending the amount required for one or two color sections at a time, but could not face the cost of the entire blanket at once. Ahh, a study for behavioral economists.
    I air dried it on a sheet over the summer grass, in the shade of a sunny day. Bliss in summer and winter.

  59. OMG woman, that reads like you actually *did* put your dog in the washing machine! LOL Please don’t change it. I want my friends to see this.