While I was washing and blocking the cardigan, I also washed one of my sweaters. I've had this sweater for a few years, and while I love wearing it, the wool is very scratchy. The yarn should be called Jamieson's Scratchy Shetland, if this sweater's feel is any indication. There has been lots of talk around the blogs about scratchy wools softening with a nice, warm bath. Maybe that would work here.
[I can hear my mother, "You are showing them a picture of dirty laundry in the sink! Oh my goodness! Dirty laundry!] It is my dirty laundry, I guess, but it's dirty laundry that illustrates my point.
While I keep my woollens clean, I'm not methodical about how I do that. Clearly it's time to pay more attention to my washing methods. I soaked the sweater in a sink of warm water, with a capful of Dr. Bonner's Lavender Castile Liquid Soap. This stuff is very soft on my hands (in fact, I recommend it if you are looking for a mild soap). Would it be as soft on my sweater?
The difference was noticeable immediately, and the wool stayed soft as it dried. Before, I couldn't wear anything but a long-sleeve turtleneck underneath the sweater. Now the sweater is much softer, and I don't have to worry about its edges touching my skin. The feel of the yarn is almost silky; there's no more scratching.