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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The saddest thing ever

Here's proof that I shouldn't get up before 6 a.m.

So I spent the day at a school in the Bronx, and that ain't close to Brooklyn. To prepare myself for the early morning wide, I brewed a heaping cup of French vanilla coffee. But as I walked into the living room around 6:15, I somehow lost my hold of the cup, dropped it and watched in horror as it shattered, sending fragrant coffee everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

I was immediately concerned about my couch -- it was COVERED. So I sopped everything up, used some Oxyclean and took off a touch late, smelling like a Starbucks the rest of the day. (A child actually said to me around 2 p.m., "You smell like pancakes!")

When I returned home nearly 12 hours later, I realized that my laptop was acting funny -- a handful of certain important keys weren't functioning. Recalling the Diet Coke with Lemon fiasco of 2004, I freaked out. I'll leave out the angry call to Circuit City, which sold me a misleading warranty, but long story short is that I bought a new keyboard, so now my laptop looks ridiculous but at least I didn't lose anything.

It wasn't until 11 p.m, when I picked up my nascent Glee, that I realized the full extent of damage wrought by my butterfingers. She's covered in coffee! How did the coffee get all over EVERYTHING? I'm surprised it didn't hit my car parked two blocks away.

So my question to all of you: what now? This is knit out of the Suss Ultrasoft that I picked up at the sale this spring. If I'm gonna make this, I need all the yarn. Can I salvage it? Should I unwind it all and soak it? I'm at my wit's end.


Anonymous yahaira said...


I would unwind and wash in HOT water with some dish soap immediately. The longer it stays the more it sets. I know that vinegar and baking soda help (hmm how would I know this) but Im not familiar with the yarn (and how all that acrylic reacts).

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always been told to soak something in cold water first, as washing a stain in hot water is what sets it. Soak in the cold first, to dilute it, then wash it in warm water.

What would happen to this yarn if you dyed it? I don't know how these things are spun, but if it's natural except for the acrylic running through it, maybe you could dye it and just be left with an undyed streak through it. I don't know if that might be the stupidist suggestion ever.

I went through a phase of slipping on my stairs at least once a week, and always whilst carrying hot, black coffee. I always got it out of the carpet/wallpaper etc.

4:45 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Oh no . . . what a bad, bad start to your day. :( Who knew one little cup of coffee could cause such a fiasco. I'm glad you've got some good yarn washing tips already - I had no idea what to do in that situation. I hope the coffee all comes out!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Peacock said...

Ouch!! .. I was thinking you scored some really fab hand-dyed yarn until I read your post!! Ouch!

here's a link to a stain-removal site.. good luck!

and I think Alice's suggestion to dye it is a pretty good second choice.. dye it with coffee. ;) .. it's a natural dye, it doesn't require an extra mordant (but alum helps. If you're not doing much dyeing, you can find really small bottles of alum in your grocery store's spice aisle.) And it's better than losing the yarn completely! (bad enough if you lose the project as you first envisioned it.) ...

the acrylic will resist the dye (er, coffee), but the viscose (rayon), alpaca, and even (to some extent) the nylon should all (sadly enough, perhaps) be willing to become a lovely coffee brown.

I feel so sad for you! I hope you are able to salvage your project!! does it need to be white? (cringe!)

7:16 AM  
Blogger Sandra may be knitting a ranchhouse said...

you poor thing! i'm sorry. i think you should trying soaking it. i have hope! *fingers crossed*

7:21 AM  
Blogger schrodinger said...

Oh what a tragic day! You've got some good hints already (although I'm not sure about the hot water). Did you test the oxyclean on the knitting? If you go the dye route, I believe that most acrylics are dyeable (the coffee stain is testament to that). As for ripping out or not, personally, I would to clean first without ripping, only go to that if I really *had* to.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh no!

I don't know what to tell you about washing the yarn, but I hope one of the suggestions you've already received works. Poor you! Let us know how it turns out.

8:03 AM  
Blogger gleek said...

definitely rip and follow alice's instructions. hot water will set the stain (remember what your mom told you about cleaning up after a messy period accident!) but it looks like the yarn was a natural white to begin with? i don't know. you may not be able to get it all out but it may end up looking kinda nice. maybe a little handpainted? :)

8:20 AM  
Anonymous lisa said...

Aiyeeee!! What a way to start a morning! I think that unwinding and soaking in cold water is an excellent idea...

9:14 AM  
Blogger Dorothy said...

I'd dye it all with coffee. It will look really nice since coffee makes a nice soft brown colour on yarn.

If it sat all day, it had a chance to dry and unless you have better luck with dried on stains than I do, it won't come out completely.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Liz K. said...

Holy crap, that is tragic! I'll refrain from adding to the barrage of stain removal tips, but only say that I hope you keep us posted. The inside of my car smells like Starbucks from every cup of coffee I have managed to spill out of my spill-proof cups.

9:17 AM  
Blogger mayarn said...

Oh no! What a tragedy! It looks like you've gotten some good advice for what to do in the comments here. I hope you get it out--white yarn. oh dear.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oh no! Soak it in cold with a little laundry detergent. Eeks!

9:38 AM  
Blogger KnitsnPieces said...

Ahhhh! you poor thing. Try soaking it first and if that doesn't work then dye it. Let us know how it turns out. I'm sending good thoughts your way...

9:42 AM  
Blogger elizabooth said...

It's amazing how things get everywhere. A friend of mine spilled a glass of wine at my house (over top both of our babies!) about a year ago and I'm still finding traces of it. And I've moved since!

I can't offer any advice, just support. Hang in there.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

OH NO! I have no idea how to help, but I hope someone does. I'll be crossing my fingers for you!

10:16 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

oh chicken! I've never felt so sad about knitting before. I hope it turns out for ya. Keep us posted.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Saun said...

I've never been too successful with coffee stains so my advice would be to dye the whole thing. At least that way you can still finish it. It just won't be the white color you intended.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Wanda said...

You would definitely have to wash that yarn. I'm not sure how to get the coffee stains out, but it seems there's some good advice in the comments. I would wash it, or contact the shop for some suggestions on how to get out the stain. You may need to unwind it, wash it and then skein it up and reknit.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Oh, you poor girl! And you had to start your day with no coffee--that's just bad all around.
I'm with the people who say try to wash it, but then if that doesn't work, soak the whole thing in coffee. It's a nice color... and maybe the yarn will be scented, "like pancakes" for a while?

12:37 PM  
Blogger jenna said...

Aw! That'll ruin your day. I have no brilliant suggestions...just my profound sympathies. :(

12:50 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

sorry to hear about the catastrophe! hope everything turns out ok and the cleaning advice works out for your poor white yarn.

1:09 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

awww...i don't have any tips but i hope it works out okay. :(

1:14 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Oh no!!! What a sad sad story! I hope that the coffee comes out and it ends up being a great story to go with your beautiful top!!

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

Seems like you got plenty of advice for the yarn (I also have heard about cold water soaks to get rid of smells & stains). As for the (old) computer keyboard, if you turn it upside down and let the moisture drip down, perhaps you can salvage it (don't ask how I know). Good luck with both!

7:02 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

Oh no! I'm not sure about the stain, but I do like the "You smell like pancakes!" comment. Hope it comes out.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Hmm, I have no idea. Would the oxy clean stuff work on that?

9:15 PM  
Blogger Kym said...

oh no! I'm so sorry- I stain everything by accident but still no nothing about stain removal. i would dye it with coffee too, but at different concentrations so it looks more like a handpainted. good luck :)

9:42 PM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...

Oh NO!!
I hate coffee - it is so damned good and so damned liquidy! It spreads over the world when you drop it - I AM surprised it didn't hit your car too.
Incidentally - what kind of pancakes does that kid eat??

I actually thought the pic was of a variegated yarn when I first saw it. You will have to post pics of the yarn post cleaning.

Sadly I don't know what to say about stain removal - some of those tips sound great though.

Best of luck!

9:46 PM  
Blogger Sharon G. said...

Ouch...I don't have any suggestions, sorry. Just lots and lots of sympathy. That picture hurts me so much. Hope you find a way to get it fixed.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

what a horrid way to start your day! I'm no Heloise, so I'll leave the stain tips to others.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Kelly B said...

Oh NOOOOOOO!!! As someone who is notorious for spilling coffee, I offer you my condolences. I don't have any cleaning advice, but if you need more Suss, check out Lucinda has a good stock of Ultrasoft there.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous melissa said...

if all the other, less harsh attempts fail, i'd say just try soaking it in the powder oxyclean, using a little more than is recommended. i have removed 50 year old stains from vintage tablecloths with that stuff, it's great.
i'm sorry about your coffee fiasco, yikes.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

I've had good luck with Biz on stains on vintage linens. It can be tricky to find, though. Good luck...

10:14 PM  
Blogger bradyphrenia said...

oh no! i don't have any washing recommendations, but i just wanted to commiserate. good luck fixing it!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Kuka said...

oooooooh that really is soo sad!!!
I definately think that if you can't get it out you should try to go with the coffee karma and dye the rest of it - i think that shade of latte would be really cute knit into some think with some pale blue or pink =)
good luck =)
btw I love your new banner!

9:39 PM  
Blogger KnitPastis said...

So sorry to hear and worse see it. I can only say wash it with detergent gently see if it comes out and if not, then dye it. Something good can come out of this, surely. Keep us posted.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carrie! I really really need your help but can't find an e-mail address. You're the only person I "know" that's knitted Forecast and I don't understand the (very incredibly simple) knitting chart. Are the first two rows of the chart just plain? Are only the "right side" rows shown? Oh, please help. I just need a pointer in the right direction, though I'll try to figure it out tonight on a swatch. My e-mail is
Hope you don't mind.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Karen Olson said...

Hi Carrie, I haven't been to your blog in a while, and it's fun catching up on your posts. As for coffee stained yarn, can you bleach it? I'm certainly no Heloise, but I'd give that a go.

Lovely to see pictures of your new apartment, and I love Gladys the Goose! I've got chickens in my new book that's just out, so fowl has been on my mind...

4:40 PM  
Blogger Kuka said...

BTW, on a whole other subject, I was looking for recipes for homemade lip gloss and came across this treatment for darkness around the eye, and remembered you were looking for ideas about this
Have you had any luck?
Here is the link I found:

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Carrie,
Thanks for checking in on me. There's been a little drama on my end and so the blogging (and knitting) has fallen by the way side. I should be back sometime in November though.
Your apartment looks like it is coming together really nicely. And I am so sorry about the coffee incident. I hope you've either found a way to get it out or have moved on from the whole thing. Maybe the sweater would look good all coffee colored?
I hope you are well!
-Rachel from the hot brunette

1:46 AM  
Blogger Theresa said...

That is tragic - let us know if you manage to get it out!

1:51 AM  
Anonymous frecklegirl jess said...

Did you ever get the stain out, I wonder?

I have found those Tide stick thingys work wonders- especially with food stains. (I know you posted this ages and ages ago but thought I would write it anyway.)

8:32 PM  

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