Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The knit REALLY hit the fan

Perhaps you remember the lovely "Land and Sea" wool gansey-style sweater I knit for Jonesy while we were cruising the Pacific Coast of Mexico two years ago. He loved it. But, as we sailed farther and farther south, he never had the opportunity to actually wear it because of the heat. So, it lingered in a storage cubby on the boat.

Until that fateful day. "What was that awful smell?" we both wondered. A nose-guided search of the aft stateroom revealed the source. Yep. It was that storage cubby. The one where Jonesy kept his sweaters (both handknit by me) and his sweatshirts. The odor? Strange colored molds and mildews had grown on the damp clothes. But what was worse was the condition of the red wool gansey sweater. It had GIANT HOLES in it! WHAT?

We soon realized that there was a little shaft of sunlight shining down from the top of the cabinet. That's not a good thing. When our bank of solar panels were installed, Jonesy drilled a hole in the rear arch to thread the electrical lines down through the support poles - and then ran the lines thru the cabinet. Oops. Everything washed up just fine - except for this red sweater which was on top. But the worst part was that we had all the metal work cleaned while in Cartegena and they used a strong acid (Oxalic acid) to remove rust. That nasty chemical oozed down the line and devoured the sweater.

I was determined to rescue the sweater. I still had a skein and a small ball left of the yarn. So I asked the Gansey experts on the Gansey List Yahoo group for advice. As soon as we pulled into the marina here I put the mess in a large washtub of fresh water and a little baking soda to neutralize the acid and let it soak. But...the acid had seeped into much more of the yarn than I had realized. As soon as the fabric got wet it started to dissolve right in front of my eyes.

There was really nothing left to salvage as there were holes almost everywhere. I bundled it up and trotted off to the garbage dump. Goodbye Land & Sea Sweater! I enjoyed the knitting process and maybe will make another one some day.

ADDED to boat chorelist: Seal up the holes at both ends of the electrical lines

Holy Moly! I don't think I've ever heard such a dramatic sweater destruction story anywhere. While I'm sorry your beautiful hand knit sweater died a painful death, it was pretty funny to read about. What a coincidence!
Oh No! That is horrible! I am so sorry. Looking at it almost brings tears to my eyes.
Based on the moth picture from a few days ago, I was not expecting acid to be the culprit! Sorry your work was ruined, but better a sweater than your stash.
Oh that is a terrible story! But at least, the things are clear: it was completely salvaged. I hate when things are damaged only to the half, it is worth saving them, or not?...
I'm pretty sure you will soon start a new sweater to replace this one.
How sad!!! But glad to see you're doing well. Missed you last week.
Oh so sad for Jonsey and his beautiful sweater. He wore it so proudly in that picture. At least it was clean when it went to its final resting place...Darrell
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