Disclaimer: I am by no means a cashmere expert. I am just telling you my experience with cashmere sweaters so that hopefully you'll find it useful.
My first general discovery with cashmere sweaters: They all shrink in water, in different degrees. So unless you are going to dry clean them, keep in mind when you buy cashmere, they will shrink. The trick is, you can never tell how much they will shrink. Not all cashmere sweaters are created equal. The quality varies significantly. I found out that the quality of the cashmere has nothing to do with how much they shrink. The softest and thickest cashmere I own have proven to shrink the most after washing.
There are also occasions that I wanted my cashmere cardigan to shrink more than it usually does, like this beautiful J.Crew cashmere cody cardigan that I scored (size xs) before Christmas for a mere $37. (orig. $158, sold here). I love the color and price, oh, yes, especially the price; but the fit of this cardigan was a tad big for me, like any other J.Crew cardigans in xs. So I decided that I want to shrink it more to fit me better. What I did was to machine wash it in hand wash cycle in cold water first, then machine dry in low heat. I figured if it doesn't do the trick I can always use more heat to shrink it more. To my surprise, this initial experiment already worked. I am very happy with the "new" sweater I have that fits me just right. P.S. Jen also shrank her cashmere by hand washing it in HOT water, and line dry. Either way, it works, the trick is the heat.
Here are some before and after pictures for comparison.
See how the torso is boxy and sleeves are big and too long? I had to cuff 4-5 inches.
Sleeves are much tighter, and the torso is fitted now. The overall length of the sweater is a bit smaller as well, although I didn't measure before and after.
The necklace was a Loft purchase last spring. I love the coral. The ring is from Forever 21. See Jean wear it in the color olive green, and Annie wear it in the color white. The ring is a size 6. (fits like a size 5) It's a bit loose on my ring finger, but won't fit into my middle finger, because I have a big knuckle. I love this ring so much that I am willing to suffer broken skins for it. Since it sits on the knuckle, every time I bent my ring finger, it scratches the inside metal part of the ring. After a day of wearing, I had a few spots of scratch marks. When I showed it to my husband, he said, "so this ring is going back?" My answer was a "No!" I just LOVE the design and the color. Don't you?!
A note to my husband: I really really appreciate the time and effort for all the nice pictures. But, please, please make sure next time that I don't have a metal piece sticking out of my head. Love, Vicky.