For this week's Thrifty Thursday, I scoured the sweater racks at Savers in Bloomington and came across a beautiful wool shawl-collared cardigan from J. Crew. I have to admit, I was a little annoyed at the 12.99 price tag. Even for a J. Crew sweater in excellent condition, come on, it's Savers, and it's been who-knows-where.
But it had so much going for it. I love a shawl collar. I love a sweater with a little structure that could be worn as a jacket. I love that it has some silver sparkle in the yarn (holidays, here we come!). And it's so soft and cuddly, it's like wearing a baby blanket.
Oh, yeah, and it's Dry Clean.
Now, if I was working outside the home, with a wardrobe that required regular dry cleaning, it wouldn't be such a big deal to drop off the sweater with the rest of the clothes. But to make a separate trip, and shell out even more money right away, doesn't seem cool to me.
The sweater smelled and looked clean, and I don't believe wool needs to be cleaned much at all, but you never know where it's been or what the last owner did to it. So I decided to throw the wool sweater in the wash.
Woolite was the gentlest detergent I had on hand.
I let the washer fill with cool water and Woolite .
Then I gently submerged the sweater. Gulp. Point of no return.
I hear there are fancy new washers that have settings for washing wool. Mine is about as old-school as they come so I had to move the dial manually, to do what I wanted. First, I let the sweater soak for about 30 minutes, with the lid of the washer open, so it wouldn't agitate. Agitating, along with heat, turns a pretty knitted item into a shrunken piece of felt. As soon as the wool is wet, you want to move it and touch it as little as possible so you don't mess up the fibers. The same is true for curly hair, except when curly hair gets frizzy you can condition and reshape it all over again. Ruining a wool sweater is forever.
I moved the dial straight to the spin to drain the soapy water. Then I moved it back to the beginning to let it refill for the rinse, let it sit for a few minutes, then set it to spin again.
While the washer was spinning, I set up a drying area for the sweater. I know there are special mesh racks for drying sweaters, but I don't have room to stash something like that. I used a laundry basket turned on its side with a towel for a clean drying surface.
I gently laid the damp sweater flat on the towel with the sleeves up off the floor.
Then, because I wanted it to hurry up and dry already, I set up a fan (not pictured) and both my dehumidifiers. After a few hours I removed the towel, which was damp, and set the fan in the opening of the basket so air would move through the holes to the sweater.
By evening the sweater was mostly dry, and it looked great. No pilling or fuzziness. It honestly didn't look (or smell) differently than it had before, but now I had peace of mind knowing it was clean.
This was the best picture I could get in my badly-lit house. I stood directly under a light to show off some of the sparkle.
Total price $12.99
The cashier at Savers told me that if I had brought a donation, they would have given me a 20% off coupon. Also, next Monday there's a 50% off sale on all clothing and shoes. I could have put the sweater back and gambled on it still being on the rack Monday to get it half price. But I liked it enough not to chance it, and I had to consider that the time it would take to go back, and the gas it would take to drive there, would make it less of a good deal.
I did start a punch card, which will get me a discount in the future if I continue to shop there.
Total time in store 45 minutes
(much of which was spent negotiating in the toy section with Miss Punky)