I got a big jug of vinegar and have successfully stopped the bleeding on the red cabled cardigan. I'm now waiting for it to finish drying so I can seam it up. The process went something like this:
Daughter to my husband: "Uh, Pop - what's up with Mom? There's this big pot on the stove and Mom just put her new sweater in it. And the place smells."
Pop: "Not sure, I think she said something about boiling her sweater. I don't ask too many questions about what she's doing - it's safer that way."
Daughter: "And the place smells like...pickles? What is that smell?"
Pop: "It's vinegar."
Pop: "Yeah, she's boiling her sweater in vinegar."
Daughter: "Huh? Why...(looking around)...uh, nevermind."
All goes to show you - they CAN be taught!