A few years ago, I purchased a big bunch of your Cascade Sierra, in teal, with no clear intention for its use. Then, last spring, I stumbled upon the lovely King of Confidence Cardi pattern in an issue of Knitty magazine. I was getting ready to attend a 12-day training, and needed some knitting to see me through the lecture portions. I hadn't intended on a colorwork sweater, but went back to my favorite LYS and purchased the three other colors needed, also in your Cascade Sierra. Then, I knit and knit and knit. You may or may not know, but making a sweater is far different from purchasing one. There's love and thought and even the ambient weather conditions being knitted into each stitch. There's care and measuring and the opportunity to create a flattering and personalized fit. And, in the case of this particular sweater, there was the chance to measure the effects of completing a Permaculture Design Certification Course while the knitting was happening, a significant event in my personal history.
The sweater's last stitches, except for the button band, were being finished as my certification process was being completed. My fellow students who had been following my progress were especially impressed to see the colorwork unfold.
As you can see, the teal was very nicely set off by pale pink, pale sage, and an earthy medium brown.
I want you to take a long look at the close-up photo below. While not of the professional quality that your company uses on its promotional materials, it clearly shows those colors, crisp and distinct from each other.
Alas, such was not the case after the sweater was finished.
I blocked the finished garment in May, and while rinsing the sweater, saw green dye floating in the water. While laying it out to dry, noticed that the brown yarn was bleeding into the other, lighter colors. I blotted as much water as possible out of the entire sweater yoke to prevent any further bleeding, but the garment dried with much discoloration.
The close-up below shows how the brown has seeped into the pink and sage, causing them to lose their crispness. The colors are now blurred, and if this were a store-bought sweater purchased by a non-crafter, it would have been considered "ruined". In my case, I had invested a lot of physical and emotional energy into this project and also have a zero-waste mindset, so was determined to make the best of a bad situation.
However, I didn't want the same thing to happen to some other hapless knitter! Thus began a back and forth correspondence with your company that has been very disappointing.
From: Birdsong Sundstrom [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 6:16 PM
Subject: WW Contact from web site
Name: Birdsong Sundstrom
Comments: I am writing because I just finished a sweater using Cascade Sierra. The body design is in teal and it features a multi-colored yoke, so
I was very alarmed to see green from the yarn filling up the water as I handwashed the sweater to block it. This is not what I would have expected from Cascade yarns so I wanted to report it.
Here's the response I got:
hide details 5/23/10
Could you please send me the color number and dye lot for the color that is
bleeding? I need this information to address this with the mill.
I heard back from the mill. Since the time that color was dyed there have been a number of improvements to our dying process to help with color fastness. Thank you for alerting us to this issue.Thank you,
Once again, it's all about you and no sympathy for me, as the end user of your product!
So, you are probably wondering why I am alerting you to this NOW, and in an open forum. First, my motivation came from wearing the sweater yesterday, for one of the first times since I finished it. Of course, here in California it was too warm to need to wear a part-wool cardi through the late spring, summer and early fall. But yesterday I realized that even though I won't "throw away my ruined sweater", the running colors had diminished its beauty for me, saddened me about making and wearing it, and I hadn't been using it this winter.
I also realized that it was likely other yarn users could be suffering the same fate from your products. Lastly, I was NOT pleased by the poor customer service Cascade has provided. If you are in the business of wholesaling to suppliers of products for people who make things by hand, taking hours and hours to do so, the least you could do is show some human kindness and sympathy towards them when things go wrong because of something that slipped past your quality control!
While I hope that you will benefit from my contacting you, I probably will not invest more energy into your products with the blind faith that quality control has improved.
thanks for listening,
Birdsong Sundstrom, former Cascade customer