Don't believe everything you read.
Case in point: The "hand wash" cycle of your washing machine is not the same as washing a garment by hand. I know it sounds like it should be. But it isn't.
I wish it were. I like a shortcut as much as the next person. Life would be so much easier if we really could toss all of our hand knits in the washer and go merrily along. But we can't. Bad things happen. Even to good people. Don't let your heart get broken.
I've heard a couple of gut wrenching stories in the past few months. Just this week we got a phone call about a woman who had put a Helen's Lace shawl in the washer. It came out a shrunken, matted mess. All those hours of work were wasted. I felt just terrible for her.
I am a skeptic by nature. I wouldn't have believed the washer. Even if it said "hand wash" in all capital letters right there on its front. I probably wouldn't have believed it even if it whispered sweet nothings in my ear. But that's just me.
This wasn't an issue a couple of years ago. Washing machines were much less sophisticated. You only had a few choices like Normal, Permanent Press and Gentle. Or Hot, Warm and Cold. My washer lets me pick from 9 temperatures, 9 levels of spin and 14 different cycles. That's 1134 combinations. I'm pretty sure I don't need that many.
I guess it brings up some other questions. Should knitters be busting the washing machine companies' collective chops about calling a cycle hand wash when it clearly isn't? Should yarn companies label their product differently?
I'd like to try and avert another tragedy. Beautiful yarn is a terrible thing to waste.