First Time for Everything

I’m sure I mentioned that last week, on Wednesday to be precise, I got hit by a yarn bus.  I was at my local, hanging with my knitbuddies and the next thing I knew I was standing on the corner, getting on my bike with a big bag of yarn, a dented debit card and a vaguely dirty feeling.  I bought 12 balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran, which was really the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a while.  Me and the yarn had big plans, and I put the moves on it the next day, knitting a little "get to know you swatch".

I knew right away that something wasn’t right. The yarn was lovely, I liked how it felt – and just to ice the cake, I got gauge the first time out, but there was a smell.  I feel just awful talking about it, probably because I’ve got some pretty unnatural attachments to my yarn and I worry about its (non-existent) feelings, but really, I noticed it as soon as it came out of the bag.  The yarn smelled… like chemicals, or gas, or something like that.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it definitely didn’t smell like wool or angora (the two fibres in this yarn) and for the record, it didn’t smell like any other natural fibre – or any unnatural dye I’ve ever been around.  I reckoned that maybe it was spinning oil that hadn’t been washed out, and finished the swatch, waltzed it into the kitchen and gave it a beautiful long bath in Eucalan and water hot enough to take the oil out, if that’s what it was.

The swatch looked great afterwards.  Really great.  Still had gauge,  I still liked what I was seeing – and although I could still smell the oil on the swatch, I thought it was because it was still wet, or because I was worried about it.  I put it in the backyard to dry and enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine, which I was pretty sure would straighten it right out. 

Later that day, Natalie arrived to help me out, and the yarn and swatch were on the table.  I expected, because I  was pretty wound up about the whole stinky yarn issue, and I know that I can get weird and fixated on things.  that Natalie would reel me in.  That she would tell me that the yarn wasn’t that smelly, that I was imagining it, that it smelled like the plastic bag it came in and the smell would go away with time, that the swatch didn’t still smell like gas after its bath and that I think too much,  that I was getting weird again and that I needed to stop coming into the living room to  sniff the yarn and that I should just knit the damn sweater and get on with my life. 

Instead, Natalie agreed – and she’s really sensible and not at all a neurotic over-smeller, so that meant something.  Not only did Natalie think that the balls of yarn were particularly odiferous, she agreed – somewhat reluctantly, because I think she knew that her answer meant that I was going to get weirder,  that the swatch still smelled. 

I washed it again, this time putting it into a warm soapy bath for almost forever, then put it out into the sunshine to dry, and tried not to think about it, which was sort of hard, because I was pretty sure the swatch still smelled,  the other balls of yarn were still reeking away, and for some bizarre reason, I was knitting with it. 

It made sense to start the sweater,  that’s what I think.  I was confident that whatever this smell was, it was at least temporary.  I’d hopped online,  read some reviews of the yarn, visited the blogs of some people who knit with it – and while some people didn’t like its construction (which is personal and subjective, I don’t mind it)  not a single person wrote in their yarn review that it smelled like a 65 year old truck stop that’s had an environmental incident, so I started knitting. The yarn is made of wool and angora.  If it smells, it’s something on the yarn, not in it, and if it’s on it, then I can wash it off.  So I knit. 

Mostly I knit.  Partly I worried, because a sweater is a lot of work, and this was a big smell, and also, as the knitting continued, the smell was bothering me as I was working.  It was making knitting with it unpleasant. I went outside and sniffed the swatch.  I was pretty sure it still smelled, but I was also pretty sure I smelled like the yarn just from working with it.  I washed the swatch again, this time in Soak.  Who knows.  Maybe the Eucalan wasn’t cutting it. 

I went back to knitting, but round about the time that I was exclaiming for the fifty-seventh time that the yarn stank, I decided to twitter about it.  I just asked if anyone had any experiences with this yarn and a "chemical smell".  The responses started coming in, and as they did, I felt crazier and crazier.  Knitters were telling me that they had this yarn and it was lovely and soft and smelled like nothing except for beautiful sheepy wool. There were lots of them, and they all thought it was totally weird that my yarn might smell that way, and the more I read, the more I thought that I was probably freaking out over something stupid.  This happens all the time – I get scared by a spider in the bathroom, so then I’m all jumpy and I see spiders out the corner of my eye everywhere – or I leave the tap on once by accident, and they for a while all I can hear is water running… it’s just like my brain gets stuck in a caution zone and can’t get out.  I bet the yarn is a little stinky, but not as stinky as I think, and now I’m just all fixated on it and I should just move on.  After all, the yarn is really, really good looking, and I’m getting gauge and its going to be a great sweater, and when I go get that swatch from outside, it’s going to smell like roses,  and holy cow Stephanie, you really lost it on this one.   I kept knitting, and I told myself that the headache I had wasn’t coming from the smell on the yarn, it was from worrying about the smell on the yarn.

I came back to Twitter in a little while, and there were more warm and lovely comments about the yarn, but there was also this one from A Good Yarn:

Yes! Just got a shipment of the new Copper colour at my shop & it smells like diesel fuel! Older one’s don’t stink tho, weird.

In that moment, I had two flashes.  The first one was "Holy cow, diesel fuel- that is EXACTLY what this smells like, this lady is bang on" and the second one was "Really?  When did St. John’s, Newfoundland get a new yarn shop?" (Which is slightly less relevant but my in-laws have a house near there and where the closest yarn shop is can be a really good thing to know.)   Right then, the whole thing was confirmed.  It does smell like diesel fuel, and right then, I stopped thinking I was nuts, put down the knitting and went and washed the swatch again.  I still like this yarn, and I’d like for it to work out, but if the smell wasn’t going to wash out, then I wasn’t going to do it.    I rewashed the swatch, this time with dishsoap and hot water,  then put vinegar in the rinse water and let it soak,  then rinsed it again, then back out to the sunshine to dry – for a fourth time.  

Yesterday I wondered again, I think because I really, really like this yarn, if I could stand the smell and just knit it, that maybe I was just fixated on a smell that was going to dissipate over time – but truthfully, sweaters take a long time to knit, the process is supposed to be pleasant- so I went and collected the swatch up, gave it a sniff, decided it still smelled like a truck, washed it for a fifth time, and put it back outside to dry.  While I was working with it, I noticed a few things.  I noticed that it still looked fantastic.  I noticed that the stitch definition, despite five washes and rinses and being manhandled and soaked and left in the sun, was still pretty darned awesome.

In short, I noticed that if I
had no sense of smell, this yarn would be wicked good, and so – for some crazy reason, I decided that the yarn really was good, and I went back to knitting it.  This had to be a solvable problem.  I was sitting there, pile of yarn beside me, churning out a sweater (with a crushing headache that I was still pretending wasn’t related to the smell) when Joe came home from work and stopped dead two metres from the couch and said "Why the hell does it smell like diesel fuel in here?"

It was a crushing moment.  It was exactly like when you’re in high school and you discover that the outrageously handsome boy you’re crushing all over  finally seems to like you back – and you’re actually sitting with him just the way you’ve always dreamed, and suddenly,   he opens his mouth and says something and in this terrible moment that shatters the whole fantasy,  you can see for the first time that he’s got all the good sense and intellect that God gave a rock.

I stopped knitting.  I bagged it all up. This morning, when Natalie came back to work, I gave the yarn one more chance.  I fetched the dry and pretty swatch from the backyard, where it had been resting in the fresh air and sunshine, and I gave it to Natalie to smell.  I didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell her I could still smell a truck.  I didn’t tell her I had my suspicions that it wasn’t going to work out. I just told her I’d washed it, and asked her to smell it.

Enough said.  I don’t know what’s up with this yarn, or why it is the way it is, and I even accept totally and completely that there are other whole batches of this yarn that smell sheepy and woolly and wonderful.  This batch doesn’t, and so I am going to do something I’ve never, ever, done before in my whole knitting career of 38 years. 

I feel bad about my plan,  I feel guilty that our love can’t be requited, that this really great yarn has a fatal flaw that I can’t live with, I even feel shocked that after years and years of believing that all yarn is good yarn, you just have to seek it’s purpose…

I’m returning the yarn to the store. 
I guess there really is a first time for everything. 

200 thoughts on “First Time for Everything

  1. You’d think the distributor would maybe step in and do something, right? It’s not like it came off the sheep smelling that way, so obviously something happened.
    Looks really pretty too. Have fun going back to the yarn store – I always manage to fall down spectacularly when I’m there.

  2. just reading about it, i can SMELL the diesel fuel! and i know i could never wear something that wafted on an aura of fumes! good call on the “return of yarn”!

  3. My guess is that, if you wrote the manufacturer, it’d send you a replacement batch, with apologies, that doesn’t smell bad. They need to know there’s a bad batch out there, so they can recall and replace it.

  4. OK.Now I have this really weird visual of sheep in overalls working at a truck stop or at a mechanic shop.(Sorry to hear about the smelly yarn-it really is a shame.)

  5. Tragic fiber encounter. You gave it every chance to repent, Ms. Stephanie. Some things just are not to be. (Dang nab it!)

  6. Yeah..I’ve been there. Only in my case I just kept ignoring the stinkiness, thinking it wasn’t really that bad and that it would wash out. Ha! It made me physically ill while I was working with it, the smell never washed out and the sweater has been sitting in a corner of my shelf ever since. Ugh..lesson learned. Good for you that you are returning the yarn. And a pox on all those who think people that sniff yarn balls in the store are nuts!

  7. I am sitting in the hosptial waiting with my husband for late afternoon surgery, started reading this, laughed out loud, HAD to read it to him, and had him in stitches too. His comment? “She should make a sweater for a trucker!” Thanks for the comic relief. This was a great blog entry, Stephenie!

  8. Awwwwww – what a disappointment. My guess is that the shop can return it to the manufacturer and have it refunded or replaced. I would check the shelf or bin where it is in the store and see if it ALL smells – maybe it does – or did, and they have already removed it from the store. Really though, if it’s that good, I bet you could get it again in a non- odoriforous batch and still get the great sweater.
    In the meantime – I hope the headache is gone and that you are feeling better in general.

  9. I’m married to a man who works on aircraft, and jet fuel is just refined diesel. You have my sympathies. When himself is working on fuel systems, I make him change in the garage. Short of a detergent based degreaser, there is no way to get that smell out of wooly things. My wool socks from my aircraft days STILL smell of fuel. Good plan: return the smelly stuff for some unsmelly stuff, stuff that smells of wool!

  10. You did give it every chance! Being a relatively new knitter, I will learn from you and take to sniffing any yarn I’m about to purchase!
    Sorry it didn’t work out.

  11. That’s a bummer, dude.
    Yes – take it back. Just don’t make a habit of it or they’ll write your name on some List, where it will work it’s way to your Permanent Record.

  12. Oh my! Just the thought of the smell is making my pregnancy morning (afternoon???) sickness worse! YUCK! I don’t blame you for returning the yarn. I don’t think I could stand it either. Although, my Dad would LOVE a sweater knit out of “diesel fuel” yarn! I however, could never stand to knit it.

  13. Oh gosh! I just got my green (sneak attack on my wallet) yarn in the mail and was wondering how your sweater was coming.
    That’s disappointing, but your LYS will understand. They want you to have quality stuff and might even have a non-stinky batch to swap. They sure don’t want you wandering around smelling of eau de diesel & telling people where you got the yarn 😉

  14. It had to happen eventually. Luckily it was your local and no shipping will be involved. I suspect it will be a straight exchange so no loss for the shop. In fact I suspect you’ll have an additional falling down and stash enhancement will happen.

  15. That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard! I was afraid you were going to say that the smell turned out to be a gas leak in your house, though, so I am glad to hear it was just the yarn.

  16. I’m not sure what the effect would be on wool, but you could test your swatch with it. I’ve heard from the wives of truckers that ammonia can get diesel smells out of fabric.

  17. I have the same thing with Chinese circulars and the flexible cable, I reckon that you shouldn’t be touching stuff that smells that bad. Revert to innate sensibilities.

  18. Total bummer! Definitely take it back. If the diesel smell is that strong, it will take too many washes and airings to get out to make knitting with the smell worth it. I think your feelings about the resulting product will be forever tainted by the smell, even after it’s gone.

  19. Thank heavens you are returning the yarn to the store.
    I was wondering how you were going to wear the sweater if it smells that bad while knitting it. As we both know, there is nothing worse than an un-worn hand-knitted sweater.

  20. Ok, I drive a TDI and I really can’t STAND the smell of diesel. I’m amazed you put up with the headache as long as you did.
    I wonder if there was a spill in a store-house, or on a shipping truck, or something. That’s affected just some of the yarn, and probably after it was QC’ed at the factory.
    Diesel is really stinky. And don’t forget animal fibers (and human hair!) can be used to clean up oil spills because the fibers absorb the petroleum products so very very well. But that also means they don’t give up that stinky oil very easily either… I think you made the right decision.

  21. Well, you know you really gave the yarn a hard trial. Your LYS will understand. And as far as I see it that’s your only solution. If you continued with the sweater you would get a headache with each wearing and would always remember the headache(s) you got while knitting it. And the odor might infiltrate your other knits and yarns–you DON’T want that.
    And to Kim(with kids)I love your cartoon visualization!

  22. it probably happened during shipping. i worked in retail and occasionally we would get shipments that just REEKED!!!
    eventually the smell will just dissipated, but washing it doesn’t help since it is a petro based smell.
    sadness about the yarn, that swatch was looking lovely!

  23. Oh, yes…they were collecting hair cuttings from beauty shop floors to send down to the Gulf shore to help with the BP oil fiasco. Soaks up oil better than anything….believe your nose!

  24. Call the customer service for the distributor (I looked it up for ya…
    Diamond Yarns Ltd
    155 Martin Ross Avenue Unit 3
    M3J 2L9
    t: +1 416 736 6111
    f: +1 416 736 6112
    and to contact the company: )
    and make sure you have your receipt and the lot number handy. When I contacted Coats and Clark with an issue with one of their yarns (a good 6 foot length of the skein was wound so tightly that instead of sport weight, it resembled size 10 crochet cotton), not only did they go and find me more of the same dyelot, but they sent me THREE balls to replace the one that had the crappy section in it…. at their cost…. and all i had to do was send in the ball band and the defective portion of yarn (again, at their cost… they sent me a SASE)

  25. WOW, did you persevere!! Patience was never my strong point and re-do something? Forget it – until knitting grabbed me. Knitting has taught me to try everything before giving up; so it seems with you!

  26. It’s almost impossible to get the smell of oil out of fabric-let alone wool. I wonder if the store has had that problem with any other yarn in that particular shipment.
    It’s too bad. The yarn is so pretty.

  27. Definitely return the yarn, no matter how pretty–you do not want to be smelling like a 16 wheeler truck stop! LOL— maybe it happened during shipment!

  28. I have never had this problem with yarn, but I know that smell all too well. I have bought 3 pairs of jeans with that exact same smell and I can’t wash it out. It’s really frustrating. Hopefully you can get a different color that doesn’t have that same smell it looks like a wonderful yarn

  29. After reading your post I was thinking about snagging some of that yarn for myself…guess I’ll have to be extra careful!
    I had a similar situation with a fabulous sweatshirt material jacket that smelled like shellfish. Fortunately, the vinegar worked, but I suspect diesel smell is a little harder to remove.

  30. You’re doing the right thing by sending it back. That smell will never leave. It probably happened during transport – likley the manufacturer has no idea.
    The last time I flew home from Toronto, my suitcase arrived bathed in perfume. It took us a full 24 hours to figure out where that reek was coming from (no, I didn’t think my husband was entertaining ladies while I was away!). The suitcase is now in the landfill site.

  31. I second (or third, or fourth) the idea of contacting the manufacturer. If they are producing as lovely a yarn as you claim , surely they will want to fix this stinky situation.
    What a shame. Such a gorgeous color!

  32. There’s no way I could knit with yarn that smelled like fuel and gave me a headache. Kudos to you for sticking it out as long as you did.

  33. You are doing a good thing, doing everyone a favor-no one wants to knit with diesel smelling yarn-it makes acrylic look like cashmere in comparison-I could almost smell the fumes.

  34. I can’t wait to find out what the source is! The manufactuer? the shop? the shipping company? very interesting.

  35. Wow, that definitely sounds unappealing. Best of luck with finding more of the really good yarn that doesn’t stink like a diesel truck.

  36. I am very sensitive to scents, enough that I probably would have noticed it in the store and not purchased. I will be shopping with friends and come across raw silk clothing, can’t stand the smell (any ideas)…funny, I happen to be wearing a new sweater set and it stinks, didn’t notice till I got to work (Lunch break!). They laugh at me…think I am a freeko (well, probably am). When I knit the swatch for one of my mystery stoles had the same problem, but it was just when it was wet (cashmere). How awfull, to really like something. Hopefully its just a bad batch that somehow picked up the odors from something else…when you take it back, check out some of the other colorways and see if they smell. Total bummer!

  37. My heartfelt condolences over the wool, and here’s hoping you get a replacement. I once bought a great and very cheap batch of undyed yarns on ebay from a shop that was closing down, and though the yarn was great (about 10 different types, 5 kg worth)it had a Smell …. sort of musty with overtones of doubtful. I aired it all for a day in my mother’s back garden, which helped, but it has taken about 2 years for it to go away completely. Now I’m thinking about using the yarn at last …

  38. Don’t feel bad about returning it either to the LYS or the manufacturer! I would have the LYS return it, so that they also know there are problems with some of the batches.
    You get the Grand Prize ribbon for perseverence! I would never given it so many chances to wash out.

  39. I was reading today’s post like a great suspension story: will she or will she not return the yarn? I’m so glad you eventually decided to return it.
    Let’s hope there’s some non-smelly Donegal Tweed in the same color somewhere nearby just waiting for you to find it.

  40. I always smell my wool. Most of my friends think I have a problem, but I, too, am an over-smeller.
    A Good Yarn is an awesome shop! Jenny has become my new wool supplier, and I get into a lot of trouble. Any chance you might make a visit to the store and tell people so they might be able to meet your awesomeness in person? 😉

  41. I would certainly love to hear what their explanation is with the diesel smell!
    Does it mean synthetic fiber addition?

  42. Oh boy, diesel smell is REALLY DIFFICULT to get out. (We have a sailboat that had a small fuel line leak YEARS ago, and we can still smell diesel fuel. In everything! Cushions, life jackets, etc. And I don’t even have a good nose!) I think you’re right to ditch the yarn. And don’t EVEN feel guilty about it.

  43. I have a headache just thinking about the diesel fuel smell. I don’t think if you washed it 10 times would the smell come out. Trust me. I’m a farm wife. I know diesel.

  44. Some yarns (especially those with silk content) have a slightly strange odor, but it’s not overwhelming or offensive, AND it goes away in the first wash. If you have to wash it 3-4-5 times and the smell STILL doesn’t go away, there’s a problem. Don’t be embarrassed about returning it!

  45. Ok, this isn’t a comment on your buying the yarn in the first place, but if it smelled that badly that it stopped Joe dead in his tracks and Natalie had to hold her nose when holding it after 5 washes… How the heck did it not stink up the yarn store!?

  46. I am a smeller, too. Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk was SO horribly stinky to me — most silk is — yuck.
    Now I wonder what the back story is… how the heck did this wool end up smelling like diesel?

  47. Aiiyiiyii! That’s awful. I’ve never had to break up with yarn I was already committed to, but it must be a real wrench.
    Still, in my experience this is good yarn – when it *hasn’t* been dunked in diesel – and I bet they’d replace it if you asked.

  48. This might be for the best…I can’t help but be concerned that you’d light afire if you walked by a candle or something.

  49. I didn’t like the splitty nature of the yarn, but it never smelled like diesel fuel! In fact, I squished and sniffed it when I was in the store and while knitting and now randomly that the hat is done! I hope Lettuce Knit can get a new batch from the distributor AND that they fix the problem that is clearly effecting several different colorways!

  50. Denial is a wonderful thing. Usually. In this case, not so much. I have a really poor sense of smell but everyone knows that if it’s so bad that I smell something, it’s bad! Never had this happen with yarn, although I am a yarn smeller because I loooooove the sheepy smell of wool.

  51. I once bought a bag of a very super-premium cat food, which my cats had been eating all along, and they just stopped eating. Stopped! Totally unlike them; they’re hogs.
    I happened to catch a good whiff when I opened the bag the second day. Diesel!
    I returned it to the store and they were really nice about replacing it. I got the impression that store personnel are a lot more savvy about the things that can happen to a bag of cat food – or a bag of yarn – when it’s sitting on a pallet in the warehouse than the rest of us mortals.

  52. Well, crud. Maybe it’s just a bad batch, or something happened during one of the steps to get it from the manufacturer to your LYS. I hope the LYS is able to acquire more of it for you, preferably in a non-diesel scent.

  53. Wow. If Debbie Bliss’ yarn company is smart, they’ll compensate you. Cause if you are giving an unsatisfactory review of their product, hundreds of Knitters will follow. They just can’t afford that kind of PR.

  54. Love the analogy of the boy crush who is dumb as rocks…
    Let the yarn shop and the distributor worry about how the yarn came to be odiferous. Knitting is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby; not one that makes you ill.
    And, if it was too stinky for the squirrel…

  55. Good luck with getting that yarn replaced. I’d bet the store will be able to get a new shipment from the manufacturer — who should certainly appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to make good. I know exactly the smell you mean — someone gave me a sweater years ago (not handknitted) that reeked in the same way. I always thought it had something to do with the silk in the yarn–which was probably not the case. Even now, my sense memory can recall that unpleasantness.
    Let us know how this all turns out. Some of us are sure to encounter a similar situation in the future.

  56. There’s a bit of poetic justice that after years of blaming purchases on “the wool fumes,” it turns out that there actually are such things, and they’ve gotten the last laugh.
    Seriously, returning the yarn is the right thing to do. Many of us are taught that it is not polite to complain, and from what I’ve heard, Canadians are specially bred for politeness. But this doesn’t count as complaining – you have identified a legitimate issue with this yarn. In addition to causing headaches, it could even be a safety issue if there’s enough fuel to make the wool flammable. So truly, you are doing the store and manufacturer a favor, along with anyone else who is saved from buying stinky yarn by your action.
    It sounds like an isolated incident, which means it probably happened on the last leg of its journey to the store where you bought it. You may never know – and that’s ok – but if I owned that store I’d be grateful to you for bringing it to my attention.

  57. Hi Stephanie,
    I know you’ve already spent a lot of time on this but I’m in the middle of cleaning all of my stuff and my 4,000 sq ft house after 150 gallons of furnace fuel leaked into my basement while we were away at our daughter’s wedding in April and may be able to give you a bit of advice.
    Try Tide laundry soap or Sunlight dish soap. Tide is the only detergent that will cut the smell. The lame-ass restorers suggested Sunlight. Back in April I would have believed them but now… I haven’t tried it yet…long frustrating story. Spent most off the summer waiting for them to clean things up, finally told them to get the **&# off the property and we’d do it ourselves.
    Anyway, most of my natural fibres have come clean with a good washing and airing out. Some stuff just won’t come clean.
    I still have to get to the boxes of yarn, cotton quilting fabric and embroidery threads.
    Good Luck. Just remember, somethings just won’t behave no matter how much you want them to.
    Grab something pretty to knit and a beer and toast to fall.

  58. If it did come off the sheep smelling that way, imagine what that sheep must have been doing! Stealing a big rig and heading for the border?

  59. Good idea to return the yarn and contact company. Don’t ever pretend a smell is just a smell, especially after putting hours of work into a sweater. Trust your super nose!
    Eve from Carlisle

  60. I had a similar problem with recycled silk. It came with a very loud smell like that. I finally put it in a pillowcase and ran it through a cycle on my washing machine with Tide. The Tide got rid of the smell. The texture was shot to hell, but at least it didn’t smell.
    My sympathies.

  61. Wow! I’m not sure if I would have gone to all that trouble -even for that yarn! Right now I’m wet blocking my pieces for a sweater made in the same yarn -I figured since it’s my first sweater (finally), I wanted to work with a yarn that I loved. I’m not sick of it yet, surprisingly! Hope you get your hands on a non-smelly version! 🙂

  62. +1 kashurst
    I was going to say that with your review going out to thousands (tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands?) of knitters, you can be sure that they are already beating a path to your door to rectify the situation.
    It does look purty, though!

  63. I bet a yarn company representative will be sending you a case of yarn…or however the heck it comes. You’ve given it such a glowing review minus the smell.

  64. I had some O-Wool Classic like that. You would think that since it’s organic it wouldn’t smell like, oh, I dunno, diesel, but it totally does. I powered through with my project (a vest), but I can’t wash out the smell and I can’t bring myself to wear it. My point? Taking your yarn back is an excellent move.

  65. Never start a sentence with the word “me”. I’ll bet you already knew that, right? I love your blog. I really do. I just hate sentences that start with “me”. Thank you, Lily

  66. I’m glad you are honest. It is so easy for people with a public forum to just complain these days. But you took care to compliment all the good things about this yarn and didn’t simply trash it. I won’t be at all surprised if the manufacturer replaces your yarn with some non-smelly stuff (as this is a nightmare for the advertising department)!

  67. I’ll bet someone spilled a little fuel on a box somewhere during shipment. The distributor should know about it. I’ll bet others have complained. Please get some more unsmelly yarn like that and knit a sweater, I can’t wait to see it now!!

  68. and the store will send it right back to the distributor who will send it right back to the actual spinning manufacturer who will say OMG how could i let this happen!!!!!!! and send new softly sweetly smelling yarn all the way back to you.
    I hope.

  69. I have one word for you: Febreze. They make a laundry additive which neutralizes odors. I use it for my workout clothes. I don’t know the technical explanation but they make several products (room spray, stuff to spray on stinky clothes & the laundry additive – probably more) which neutralize odors. It is not a perfumey product that tries to cover up the scent – it actually gets rid of it. It is the best stuff ever made for washing clothes.

  70. Oooo … this just in, from the Instruction Manual that came with my new washing machine: Never wash fabrics contaminated with oils of any kind in the machine — to avoid FIRE! Whoa … scary thought. (Diesel fuel is a kind of oil.) I’d normally worry about this, maybe, with rags/clothes coming in from the garage … not with a beauteous hand-knit.

  71. Awww…. What a shame. That swatch looked wicked good for being washed all those times. Perhaps you need to do as several others have suggested and call the manufacturer or the distributor. They’ll probably send you more yarn.

  72. Definitely take it back. I had a similar situation with granola years ago, and when I took it back to the store, and they tried to give me another package of it, it too reaked of diesel oil. Some problem, obviously, with the way it was shipped.

  73. did you ever notice how some hand dyed yarn smells like vinegar… one company in particular, but i won’t name any names!

  74. Commercial yarn should not smell like diesel. Or chemicals. Or anything but wool. Maybe vinegar if it’s a hand dye because vinegar is good. But nothing else. Don’t sweat it if you had to return it. At least if you find it again you’ll know it’s a hard-working yarn. Just smell it first before you buy.

  75. one time the shop that I work for had a whole shipment of camera bags come in that smelled like garlic. They were shipped with a large pallet of garlic and the smell just sank into them. We had to send about 300 bags back.
    So it does happen, but it shouldn’t. Don’t feel bad.
    Oh and if you are worried about vampires getting at your camera, I know where you can get a bag 😉

  76. Try a box of baking soda in some water with a couple of cans of club soda. Get a big box of baking soda, dump it into a 5 gallon pail and fill part way with warm water. Add club soda then yarn. Air dry and wash like normal.
    Worked for my Mr.’s shirt when he got airplane fuel on it. Nothing else worked.

  77. I’m right there with you. Smells are primal. I couldn’t stay in Venice for more than 3 days because I couldn’t escape the smell of the canal. But the swatch is gorgeous. Could you get a different, good-smelling batch of yarn?

  78. I think you really did all you could to save it. Enough is enough! Gas smells forever… Let us know if you get some new one because it really sounds like some good good yarn!

  79. Yup, that happened to me once, with a mail order. Seller said it was just machine oil and couldn’t be possible, but I couldn’t be in the same room with the yarn all closed up in a plastic bag. That doesn’t prove that you’re not crazy — just that you’re not alone!

  80. I’ve had this experience before when buying clothes but not yarn. Still, fiber related experience. I had to return the sweater I bought that smelled too, no amount of washing fixed it.
    Hope you can get the yarn in a non-smelly batch!

  81. I had this same problem about 5 years ago with some Posh yarn (also from England). Smelled exactly like fuel exhaust. Forever. I finally gave it to a friend who couldn’t smell it. It was worsted weight cashmere, and I was completely heartbroken.

  82. I am guessing this is a shipping accident/incident. One of the things that isn’t covered in the dye lot number. Either the ship (smelly diesel, not cruise ship) or truck had exhaust problems and a whole batch is ruined to some section of the country/ries.
    Hopefully you will get some nice smelling stuff in return!

  83. Definetly check out A Good Yarn next time you’re in St. John’s. It’s super, and the downtown core really needed another yarn shop. Too bad on your stinky-string. It happens.

  84. As for brains in ruts…
    Someone put it into my head once that a cat could climb into the fridge while you’re getting something, and you wouldn’t notice.
    I spent months checking the fridge for the cat before I got my head out of that rut.

  85. This is the kind of thing that Debbie Bliss needs to take care of (whether herself, or her company). Yarn that smells like diesel is toxic (as your headache attests), and the company needs to stand behind their obviously-flawed product.
    What’s worse, is that since a shop in Toronto and a shop in St. John’s both received tainted yarn, it looks like it was a problem further up the supply chain . . . and it’s entirely possible that Debbie Bliss & Co knew about the problem and shipped it anyway. Hopefully not, but it’s definitely a possibility.
    Best of luck in getting things taken care of, and in Lettuce Knit getting their $$$ back from DB, too!

  86. Aw, that’s just rotten. Diesel smelling yarn is something I’d return for sure. I hope they’ve got another batch that doesn’t smell like a fuel station for you!

  87. How sad. With any luck for Debbie Bliss & Co. the smell began with a certain load on a certain truck/plane/carrier and not all of the yarn was infected with the smell.
    Also – HELLO! – if after five washed it still smelled like the fuel, then forget how long it takes to KNIT the sweater, even. How would you WEAR it? It’s not like you can go around with garments that make you smell like a road-warrior. Returning it is sad, but the shop should return the whole batch to the supplier.

  88. I get the occasional diesel-smelling yarn and it NEVER goes away.
    A Good Yarn is in the former Granny Bates location and is totally gorgeous :)))

  89. Oh I empathize terrifically. I bought a whole whack of stupendously beautiful Rowan Big Wool in three discontinued colours to make a blanket. I got 2/3 of the way through the blanket and one night I stayed up too late and stumbled off to bed breaking one of my cardinal rules: I left the wool in a plastic bag on the floor of my craft room and accidentally…locked…the…cat…in…overnight. I’m sure she kept her legs crossed as long as possible but inevitably nature called in the night and she crawled into that bag and – well you can guess the rest. You can imagine how much I feel your pain!!! Good luck with your return and I hope you can get exactly what you want in wool scent!

  90. I’m sorry about the ill-fated love affair with the yarn. In case you still have it and want to give it another chance, I’m going to recommend that you soak it in water with apple cider vinegar. I know you tried vinegar (I’m assuming white). I swear it works for everything, including getting rid of smells. My mother feels about apple cider vinegar the way the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding feels about Windex and she’s right most of the time. Just a thought.

  91. Weird! You’ll have to let us know if you ever hear/figure out what the diesel smell was about. I wonder if the mill had some sort of accident or spill one day? And was fine the other days that yarn was spun?
    Yes, you shouldn’t have to wash something 5 times, and you shouldn’t get a headache from your knitting. Unless it’s forcing you to do math, but that’s another issue.
    Good luck with finding a replacement!

  92. if you love the yarn,try washing in a light Dawn dishsoap bath. Unfortunately it’s the only thing that gets petro out, because it is a petro base. (Go figure) At least it helps degrease oil spill victims. now I’m not sure which way I”m leaning on this, and I know that doesn’t help you a lick. Sorry for your woes.

  93. I bought a batch of yarn from an internet shop. It had the same stinky smell and I couldn’t live with it. I tried everything. I even went to the drug store and bought shampoo for oily hair and tried that. Nothing worked. Since I had already paid shipping to my home and would have to pay shipping back to the shop, I decided the expense wasn’t worth it and I just threw it out. It was lovely yarn and I still think about it. I wonder if the carton was sitting at the back of a truck during shipment. Maybe it absorbed diesel gas odors from being in the truck for a long time or next to the exhaust pipe. Anyway, I now smell all the yarn I buy.

  94. Wow!
    You really love that yarn… beautiful colour, beautiful texture…
    But washing FIVE times and it still stinks, just not right!
    I love to smell yarn in the LYS, but it’s always those “buy me” fumes, mostly the oil smell is lanolin (love the smell of lanolin).

  95. I once received a shipment of medical supplies that smelled like diesel – some of the boxes had been touched by diesel fuel, dried and still brought to our office. I complained to the freight company that delivered the goods. The shipper picked up the boxes and suggested I keep the “top half” of the supplies in the damaged boxes because they hadn’t actually come in to contact with the fuel. Well… they still stunk of course. I answered the suggestion by raising my eyebrows and tilting my head slightly to the right (I resisted the urge to blink twice at him) so he took back the whole shipment back and the follow up with reimbursement was all that was left to deal with.
    Accidents happen – people just need to woman up.

  96. I think returning faulty wool is perfectly reasonable and smelling like diesel fuel is definitely a fault. my guess would be a leak during transportation? i presume KFI are the Canadian distributors? I would not only let the lovely girls at Lettuce Knit know (although they almost certainly have read this blog post) but also call KFI and pass it on directly to them. Customers speak louder than stockists.

  97. When I was young we had trucks in the yard that had to start in the morning. When it got really cold (bear in mind that this was in Vancouver, really cold started around -8C., and nobody had ever heard of a block heater) my Dad would take the blankets off our beds to put over the truck engines. Let me tell you, the smell of diesel never goes out of wool. Years can pass, your wife can wash them as much as she wants, and the smell stays on. On the other hand, I connect the smell of diesel with being safe and comfy in bed, so it ain’t all bad.

  98. Ewwww. Sorry about that. We have a diesel car and diesel fuel doesn’t smell too good. It is so pretty, though, but if the husband could smell it 6 feet from the couch, it must be pretty bad.
    Can you buy a different batch of yarn from them, one that wouldn’t smell like a truck stop?

  99. Nope, it’s happened to me, too. Not with this yarn, but with a couple mail order skeins of otherwise very nice yarn that just reeked of mold. It’s nice to get confirmation that you’re not crazy, ain’t it?

  100. Yep, I know this smell…I’ve found it on articles of clothing. In reading this post the back of my throat can taste the smell. However, I absolutely love the yarn, my heart sang when I saw it in the other post. I bet the manufacturer figures it out right quick and fixes it.

  101. I did this with some parson’s chairs my husband got for our dining room. He loved these chairs but they had an off-gas that made me ill. I tried very hard to be a brave good soldier but I had to get the chairs out of the house.

  102. I worked as a petrol station attendant for two summers – that is one smell I wouldn’t want in my house or clothes, ever. Maybe when you take it back you can sniff the other balls and there will be a nice smelling batch? Sounds like from your twitter feed it is a once off thing, and not their normal output.

  103. For those stuck with yarn that smells of diesel, and who live too far from the store to return it, or found out too late, or whatever, printers use some really heavy-duty detergent called “roller-wash” that will probably take out diesel. And then your normal Sunlight dish detergent will take out the smell of roller-wash. My husband was a printer with his own one-man shop that we lived above, and used to come to bed smelling of printing ink and roller wash. I never said a word because he stayed up until four in the morning making a living for us. When the eye-watering fumes of roller wash started coming out of the furnace vent, I knew he was almost finished the day’s work and could finally get some rest.

  104. I would send that yarn right back – and write to the shippers/importers/whatever. If its giving you a sick headache, then you must get rid of it – not worth it. I do agree with the lady who recommended baking powder – it will shift most nasty smells – but probably not deisel, which does linger. Good luck with the issue – and get some more of that yarn – it is really gorgeous – I must go to the wool shop and get myself some.

  105. Oh I’m so sorry!!! I hate when things like that happen, especially when you’ve already bonded with the wool! Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some more yarn in that “Made for the Yarn Harlot” color and it won’t be so smelly. Diesel fumes are awful and they seem to last forever! You definitely have my sympathy.

  106. I bought three balls of this and knit a Chinook scarf with it (Ravelry). It didn’t seem to want to be anything else though I tried, the Chinook was the fifth design I knitted – but now it is gorgeous and shows off this beautiful yarn really well.
    I just wanted to add that mine didn’t smell BUT every ball came in at 47g and not 50g. Quite a loss on a larger item, not a problem with the pattern I used. Not the first time with DB yarns.

  107. Poor wool, smelling of icky diesel! I wonder whether there’s any hope for it after it’s returned, or whether it’s just on its way to wool heaven…

  108. The yarn is lovely, but I am glad you have come to your senses, listening to your strongest sense, smell!

  109. For future reference (in case it happens to someone else), Febreze WILL take out that smell. My husband uses diesel oil on concrete forms in his business, and that’s the only stuff I’ve ever found that will neutralize the smell with one wash.

  110. I laughed out loud, but also felt your pain. I am one of those people who have an aversion to some silks that “smell” bad (to me, at least).
    I hope the shop gave you a full refund. And can you just imagine what the Debbie Bliss people are thinking?!?
    And that is pretty cool that St. Johns has a yarn store. It is on my list of places I want to go to and it’s nice to know that I’ll have yarn AND beautiful scenery there.

  111. The ‘Flying Fingers Yarn Shop’ in Tarrytown, New York actually HAS a yarn bus. It picks up people at some key spots in Manhattan, and brings them to the shop. I have never been on it because I live a 15 minute car ride from there.
    They also do mail order. Check out their website sometime, if you have the chance.

  112. I would definitely call or mail the manufacturer. Knowing there is a stinky batch of yarn out there is not good business. I am sure they would do their best to rectify the situation and send you some lovely, nice smelling stuff. And considering your following I am SURE they will respond quickly.

  113. Hey, Steph: I scanned through the comments and not once did I see a mention of dry cleaning. If it’s wool and angora, it should be dry cleanable, and that might take the smell out. I was happy to read the Febreze comments, will keep them in mind in case I ever have a wool accident. Gorgeous swatch, BTW.

  114. Here’s the link for the Canadian distributor’s blog. Go to the most recent post there, and repeat what you’ve said – or just direct them to your blog.
    I can’t find a ‘contact us’ link on their site that isn’t for website problems or wholesalers. Interesting, the US distributor does have a contact form for consumers –
    Hubby once bought me narcissus, forced in the early spring. Really pretty, but I kept walking around the house wondering what smelled like a plastics factory. When I figured it out, I moved them to the garage. When he came home and asked, I explained, and he said ‘So that’s what that smell was!”

  115. Oh noes! I hope that things get straightened out soon, and that you can get some non-diesel-smelling skeins without too much hassle!

  116. Oh Stephanie, how heartbreaking! I hope you can get replacement yarn that smells like it should. I have some of this yarn, I believe same color, and it’s fine. Good luck!

  117. Don’t worry about not being able to identify what Jenny from A Good Yarn did – that gal used to be a truck driver! 🙂

  118. As a yarn shop owner, I’m really glad you are taking it back. I would hate for a customer of mine to be suffering through dealing with yarn that is obviously damaged.

  119. AHhhh, I LOVE the smell of diesel fuel in the morning!
    Stephanie , do you realize at all that you are just the teensiest little bit PIG HEADED? >:-) You get points for sheer perserverence but really….

  120. Bless you. There was a yarn we carried that had a strange smell. I had to work up a sample scarf for the shop. It was not pleasant. It was a wool silk blend. It was the first time I had a silk blend that smelled so bad. After it aired it was not so bad, however, it was not a yarn I would work with again. There are so many other lovely wool silk blends that are both lovely and not nasally offending. My condolences.

  121. I had a similar thing happen to a discount European brand I bought many, many years ago off ebay from a serious power seller and it smelled strongly like fuel. I threw it out and never bought from them again, even though others didn’t comment on it in their reviews. I have no idea why it smelled like that, but it was strong, like the yarn had been dipped in diesel. I wonde rnow if it wasn’t some kind of mothproofing treatment.

  122. Dang. Sure is pretty yarn. But weird stuff happens. I actually envy you in one respect, however: the outrageously handsome ones never even registered my existence, or if they did, it was only to mock it, so I never experienced that salutary moment of disillusionment. (I managed to marry the right guy anyway, so it’s just a twinge of envy.)

  123. Sounds like the company should recall that whole batch. Having a yarn smell of diesel isn’t good.
    Hope you can find a none smelly batch. To knit your sweater with.

  124. You’ve NEVER returned yarn before? I’m impressed– you must always be sure that you will find the right project for any yarn, even if it has to wait in your stash for years.

  125. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be.
    I have knitted a sweater with this yarn, and it is truly wonderful. I recently bought another batch for another sweater, and it is wonderful. Don’t give up on it; you just got a bad batch.
    Oh, and I have never returned yarn before, either.

  126. I wouldn’t feel too bad about returning it. Actually, I would call the manufacturer and let them know they have a problem. They might be glad to know.

  127. I’m so glad you’re returning it! It would be a shame to put a sweater’s worth of effort into something that you could never wear. Good decision!!

  128. I. . . I . . . I’m speechless. That is just so weird. And now it’s going to bug me that you never figured out what the hell that smell is and where is Newfoundland, exactly and so on and so forth. If you ever hear from Debbie Bliss about the smell, be sure to share so we neurotic readers can put this one to rest.

  129. Thanks to your heads-up, we’ve been inhaling the Luxury Tweed yarn for the past half hour. The yarn on our shelves and it has no smell at all. But when we went into the back and opened the new bags, we knew immediately what you’re talking about! We’re now “airing out” the yarns to see if that helps. One of our staff suspects the bag might have been the problem…but we’re not yet certain. I’ve put in a call to the President of Knitting Fever in the USA and will let you know if he suggests a remedy.

  130. No one can fault you for not trying to make it work. It’s nice to know that it’s such good yarn all the same.

  131. EZ noted in one of her books that if you get yarn with knots in it, you absolutely should complain to the manufacturer. If she says to do that, that’s what we should do.

  132. I used to work for Cascade yarns. If you return it to your store, they can return it to the manufacturer/distributor and they should be able to get a replacement with little to no hassle. Usually it is not a big deal unless they are out of the yarn, out of the color you wanted, or their customer service just sucks.
    (I used to be in charge of returns)

  133. Life is too short to knit with stinky yarn. Period. Do not be taken in by a pretty look or nice feel, there is just no getting over stink.

  134. As others have suggested, write the manufacturer. Whether or not they decide to do something nice like send you a replacement batch or a coupon or something, they need to know that something happened to their yarn (esp. if you can give them lot numbers etc.) so they can prevent it from happening again.

  135. I have had a problem like this before! It wasn’t as bad as your problem, it was just one hank. But I washed it multiple times and hung it to dry outside and still it smelled awful to me. I gave it to a friend. I don’t know if she has knit with it yet, though 😉
    Thanks for the confirmation that I am not entirely crazy!

  136. Wow you really gave it the old college try huh?? The one good thing of all this is that you now KNOW that this yarn knits up well, gauge is easy to get and it washes well. Now you just need to get some that doesn’t stink.

  137. I grew up by some pig farms and the farmers would buy a new truck every year because pig poop is terrible smelling and doesn’t come out. The car dealers would buy a couple huge bags of coffee beans and pour it all over the trucks to get the odor out. If you haven’t tried it yet, maybe you can put a cloth bag (or sock) with some coffee beans/grinds in with your bag of yarn to absorb the smell while you are working. I guess it depends on if you like coffee smell though.
    But yeah, the yarn store should probably return the batch as well. That’s a pretty unfortunate story.

  138. I had a similar problem with a tank top I bought recently! It smells like sulphur and it just won’t come out.

  139. I’m sure that this has been pointed out a zillion times (I admit that I don’t read all of them): It’s not that love can be requited, love just can’t be forced.

  140. Yuck! Not an attractive smell at all; hopefully, the distributor will look into how their yarn is getting diesel fuel on it and fix both the problem and find you some more pleasant smelling yearn.

  141. I can;t even go into Sears because it smells. The clothes all smell odd to me. Once upon a time, when Penny’s carried yardage, it smelled like fish. I am really picky about smells, especially wrong smells. SO kudos for the return plan. I bet you a nickle that there are other batches that reek, too.

  142. Yes St. John’s has a new lovely LYS. Right D/Town on Bate’s Hill.
    Maybe next time you’re in town, you can come knit with our knitting group on Wednesday nights @ the Rooms!

  143. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I have been through this exact thing twice with fabric from the fabric store. And I’m not a nutso over-smeller either.
    After returning the reeking fabric I learned that sometimes containers for shipping are fumigated due to insect infestation, and believe me, fumigation chemicals are even worse than fumes from diesel, if that’s possible. Have it replaced.

  144. I hope you can get some more from another batch, because that luxury tweed is a beautiful yarn to knit with, and that colour was great. I made a vest for my grandson with it in red, and I am glad to here about its washability! Thanks for testing it!

  145. And while we are on the topic of stench, what IS that smell that you get from some silk garments and yarn? To me it smells like old mutton fat. Does anyone know what silk processing substance can give it that aroma? It’s not all silk, and it seemed most common in cheap silk chainstore garments from about 10 years ago onward.

  146. Did you try adding Borax to the wash? It gets out a whole multitude of smells in my experience. My aunt uses it to remove the smell of barn (horse/seeing eye cow/sheep) out of her barn clothes/towels and nothing stinks after using it. I live with a person who likes to put a load of towels on then forget them in the washer for several days so they end up moldy smelling. Borax works to get rid of the stink.

  147. Hi, I don’t know how you ever get the time to read all of these comments, but: I noticed the same smell ( not as strong) on a few of the balls at Passionknit. When I was a Romi a week or so ago the owner John was talking about the strike at the loading docks in Montreal. It has delayed a lot of their yarn shipments and containers have been sitting at the port for at least a month. Perhaps one of the containers got cootied up with something during that long sit.

  148. Had stinky yarn from Rowan once, knit it up but but the garment on ebay in the end- could not stand it- you are right to return.xx

  149. OMG, I went to my LYS specifically to buy this yarn because it looks so nice in the picture. And it did SMELLED. Offensively. I compared it to other Debbie Bliss yarns that the LYS had. The other yarns did not smell like a petroleum biproduct. Thanks for the heads up! And we’re in S. Florida, practically a hemisphere away from Toronto.

  150. Too funny. Just a couple of days ago I tossed the sweater I have been reluctantly working on aside and said, “this stinks!”
    I’m having the same trouble. Different yarn though.

  151. You are right to return this yarn, but if you should ever again come across fiber that stinks from some oily contaminant (like diesel fuel) wash it with a detergent called Simple Green. It is usually sold for washing cars. Simple Green cleans oil and grease from fabric amazingly well. You would probably have to replace the lanolin in a wool fiber after using the Simple Green, but at least the fiber would be stink-free.

  152. I’ve just found your blog and can’t believe the coincidence I am knitting up some handbag slippers in that same yarn, same colour too as you. I was showing my mum at the weekend and she too confirmed that the yarn really did stink. It must have been a big stinky batch as I’m in UK.

  153. Just last night I discovered I’d gotten some unleaded on my skirt while fueling the car. I’ve washed it 3 times already. The spot isn’t visible anymore, but I sure can smell it.
    I’ll have to try the Simple Green, see if that gets the smell out.
    I would have returned the yarn, too, though.

  154. It’s bad enough when the yarn is stinky and it’s something you can wash off! I bought a pair of black-dyed jeans that have, even after 2 years of washing, a funny smell. I’m sure it was something in the dye they used on the jeans. Maybe they recently changed the dye formulation for your yarn?

  155. My “natural” cleaning book suggests soaking an item in approx 1 litre of cola soft drink (whatever you call fizzy drink in your neck of the woods) to remove automobile grease and/or fuel from an item. Seeing as how you are returning the yarn anyway you might want to try this on your swatch. My only thought is that since people use the same thing to clean toilets maybe you don’t want to soak it too long??? Worth a try for future reference and all 🙂

  156. Careful! A cola, per se will leave color behind! Perhaps Leonie means something like club soda, tonic water or seltzer?

  157. It’s happened to me. Debbie Bliss, Donagal Luxury Aran Tweed, or whatever it was. Smells industrial. I only bought two balls of wool, though, and made a hat and some mitts. Evidently, the smell is stronger when there’s a lot of it? Too bad. It is beautiful, isn’t it?

  158. Your post brings back the cartoon from an old Submarine Service calendar–a kid sitting on Santa’s lap wondering “Why does Santa smell like diesel oil?” Since it’s a scent I associated with Daddy (career naval officer), maybe it would be heavenly perfume to my nostrils! (Or maybe not)
    Returning the yarn is absolutely the right thing to do. The yarn company needs to know that their product smells bad, investigate why, and do something about it. They’re in business to make consumers happy. And you took more than reasonable steps to attempt to fix the smell on your own.
    Hope your headache got better, post haste.

  159. I ordered some angora yarn on clearance from WEBS once, and when i opened the box, that petro smell almost knocked me out! I couldn’t even have tried to let it air out, but had to wrap it back up immediately and mail it away. Luckily WEBS had no problem with a such reason for return…and i often wonder what they did with it?

  160. I ordered two skeins of this yarn in charcoal to swatch before ordering 12 more and knitting the cape/coat in DB’s latest mag. I was knocked over when I opened the box. I hung one skein outside to try to air it, but to no avail. I have spun wool and even had an angora rabbit; I knew this smell was not an organic fiber. I don’t know WHAT it was, but I now know I don’t want it. I was directed to you by an inquiry to ravelry and you have saved me lots of pain and suffering…I would have tried to make it work. Yarn looks great, but yuck! Can you imagine being in a close situation with folks while you are wearing this?
    We once had a new refrigerator delivered which smelled of diesel fuel. I figured it had been stored in a warehouse or something where it absorbed the fumes. Seller wouldn’t accept a return and it took a year of activated charcoal and baking soda to finally tame the smell. Since I ordered this yarn online, I don’t have the option of sniffing another color. Sorry to let it go……but I will.

  161. I have wasted so much money on stinky yarn. I even threw a dozen balls in the washing machine and spend the next three months getting the knots out! I have discovered that getting the yarn in a plastic package will cut down on smells. You may have to ask the company how many skeins are in a package. LionBrand organic cotton yarn comes in a package of three. KnitPicks organic cotton yarn comes in a package of ten. I have more luck with online stores than boutiques. Yarn absorbs many odors when it sits in a bin.

  162. I have a similar experience with my Yoga jeans. I bought them probably almost two years ago and I’ve worn them roughly two times a week since and they still smell like fuel. They have been laundered countless times. I didn’t return them, but I went to the store and they just said “that’s weird – we don’t usually smell the clothes when we jury a collection.” Since it is a shop for independent designers I didn’t push the issue even though I paid $100. I continue to wear my stinky jeans and to complain about it to anyone who will listen.

  163. Try two things before you totally give up.
    1. Wash the swatch in Dawn IN A BUCKET. Put a good hearty squirt in a bucket of hot water, and let it soak overnight.
    The oil will have floated to the surface. Now obviously, if you wash it and lift it back UP through the surface of the water, you will inadvertently reapply the oil. Likewise if you pull the plug and let the oil floating on the surface drain out THROUGH the fabric, it will re-absorb the oil.
    The trick is to make sure the item stays at the BOTTOM of the bucket, then slowly TIP THE BUCKET until most of the water is gone. THEN rinse the swatch.
    Alternately, FREEZE the bucket until the surface is frozen about an inch thick, lift off the ice/oil/soap crust, the remove the fabric and rinse.
    From Louisiana, where we know how to get oil out of things.
    2. If that doesn’t work — it almost certainly will, but if it doesn’t — go to the mechanic’s rub some GoJo into it, and wash it again.

  164. I wasn’t clear: I meant don’t wash it in the SINK and pull the plug because the oil will reapply to the fabric when it drains out. Use the bucket and be sure the oily surface water is skimmed off the top. It really works.

  165. Cannot for the life of me remember the yarn, but I do know that I had the exact thing happen to me. I bought yarn for a sweater for my son last year, but it didn’t smell at all. Knit up a really cool Superman sweater for him in the round bottom up, put the sleeves on. All well and good…until I threw it in the water. The odor coming from it as I blocked it was enough to give Pepe Lepu a run for his money. I was devastated, don’t want my 4-yr old running around smelling like a gas tank. Fortunately when dry, thoroughly dry, it dissipates. A friend mentioned that it might be the chemical treatment that goes into making it a superwash. Not sure, but I make sure he doesn’t get stuck out in the rain with it. Btw, 5 baths later, and the odor is on there like white on rice. Go figure.

  166. I totally know that “dirty” feeling after buying yarn I had no business buying. I just bought enough lace weight yarn to make two shawls. I have never attempted knitting with lace weight. Lets pray the yarn is kind to me

  167. I bought a sweater at a discount store years ago that reeked of diesel fuel. Not a spot on it, it was a lovely ribbed sweater with hand-knitted lace at the bottom and sleeves, and it was on sale. My only excuse is that I thought it was the store itself and I was excited by the money I’d saved.
    Once it rode home marinating in the plastic bag, I couldn’t deny it anymore. It took six washes to get the smell out enough that I could wear it. I still wonder how diesel fuel gets from the gas cap outside the truck to the merchandise inside the truck.

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