Posts Tagged ‘blocking’

03
May

Blocking Cotton

Written by Sarah. Posted in blocking, knits, lace, sweater, technique, WIP

I will admit that blocking has only recently become my favorite thing ever. I used to really hate it. I’ve mentioned that once or twice before. But it’s the best. THE BEST. When I finished knitting up the Poolside top, I was really excited to block it. The lace definitely needed a little relaxing and I was hoping that the stitches would lay a little bit neater.

Here’s the thing. I’m still not the biggest fan of cotton yarn. It was fun to try out a top in this fiber and the Blue Sky Alpacas really does cotton justice. It made me re-think the way that I feel about cotton. That being said, the stitches are VERY defined. It’s a nice, crisp look but it also highlights wonky parts were weaved in and where new skeins were joined. And basically if my tension varied at all, you could tell. So this guy needed a blocking.

Here’s a before shot. Don’t mind the dramatic shadows…

blocking cotton

 

It’s all pinned down but you can kind of see what I mean about the stitches being defined in the left sleeve. It’s not really meshing and smooshing together the way that wool does, the stitches just kind of sit next to each other telling all of the other stitches to bugger off.

Anyway, when I went to block this, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything properly. I think I’ve only made dishtowels out of cotton yarn and those really don’t need to be blocked. That just sounds silly. Anyway anyway, I turned to this helpful guide from Knitty. Remember, kids: Different fibers need to be treated differently! You can’t just dunk everything into a basin of warm water and Soak.

Cotton needs to be steamed. This is how I did it since my iron is a piece of crap and I don’t have a steamer.

blocking cotton 2

I took an old pillowcase and soaked it in the sink. I wrung it out a little and placed it over my sweater which was laid out on a blocking mat. (I pinned it down since I wanted the lace to stretch out a bit. Whether you pin your blocking is up to you and the way you want the fabric of your sweater to turn out. Think about that!)  Then I ironed it out and removed the pillowcase.

Another pro tip: Ask someone else to take a photo of you ironing. It’s really hard and probably dangerous to photograph and iron simultaneously.

blocking cotton 3

Ta da! That’s it! There’s what it looked like immediately after ironing. I tried it on after it dried for 24 hours. Cotton is tough. It doesn’t want to stretch out the way other natural fibers might but the neckline did kind of lose its shape. The lace, though, looks really beautiful in this color and fiber.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it’s always fun to try some new blocking techniques! More photos of the FO coming soon!

Have you ever blocked cotton yarn? Any tips?

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19
Feb

FO: Great Divide Shawl

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, blocking, FO, knits, lace, life, photos, shawl, technique

Wow! I had such a productive long weekend! While most of it felt relaxing (because I was knitting), I got so much done (mostly in the knitting department…I also made cookies). One of the things that I finished was my Great Divide shawl. And I’m in love.

great divide

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’m not really into wearing shawls. That is definitely going to change. It’s exactly what I need for chilly spring days. (Speaking of, it was way more than chilly while taking these photos. Oh my god was I freezing. Can you tell?) I’m psyched that I had these colors in my stash. I’m one happy camper.

I’ve recently discovered that I totally love blocking. I used to really hate it (I might’ve mentioned it here). In an effort to change my ways, I’ve had a tub for blocking for a while now and I bought some proper wool soap (though I’ve used Doctor Bronner’s – which my aunt Sherry said she used to use on embroideries, thanks for the tip! – the past couple of times since my wool wash was packed away and I’ve enjoyed the results!). I guess having some space in the new apartment to lay out the pieces without being totally in the way is encouraging. The blocking kit my mom got me helps too, though I’ve had that for a long time, too.

great divide 2

 

Although this wasn’t lace per se, this piece really needed a good blocking and everything opened up beautifully! I’m totally learning the merits of blocking my knits and I don’t hesitate to do it any longer!

I’m very excited about this shawl! It looks like I’m still growing as a knitter! Knitting shawls and blocking things! What a change! Maybe I’ve been replaced with an alien or a robot? I like cleaning the kitchen now, too. I’m definitely sick, guys.

Brb, going to check WebMD.

How do you feel about blocking? What’s something you made that surprised you?

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07
Jan

WIP: Faire Isle, Slowly

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, knits, life, sweater, WIP

Remember that sweater I cast on during my hurrication? It’s still here, guys.

Just as I suspected, it took a back seat during holiday knitting season. (And by back seat, I mean I was sitting on it, wedged between the cushion and the arm of the couch because that’s where I store my WIPs. I’m not even joking. I just promised myself that I’d get a proper place for them. Let’s make that happen.) After the blur of the holidays plus a big secret project (sorry, suspense!), I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d worked on it. I was half way through the armhole shaping on the back. Why, oh, why do I always put down a piece when I’m working on the armhole shaping? Then I pick it up and I can’t trust that I marked the proper place where I’d left off and I’m suspicious and double guessing the whole way through.

Anyway, over the past week, I was able to not only finish the back but I also worked on my Zelda cross stitch and knit up a new (but simple) design. Pretty neat, huh? I guess since I spent all of New Year’s Day on it, I got a couple of extra hours.

Here it is, so badly in need of a blocking (and better lighting).

 

faire isle back debbie bliss

 

As I’m a professional, I held the piece up to my back (you know, the scientific way of measuring garments) and I’m now a little terrified that it won’t fit. I know I voiced my concerns about the sweater being snug before. Now that I’ve completed the entire back piece, there’s really no turning back. Also, since I’m definitely, absolutely a professional, I didn’t bother blocking my gauge swatch so I have no idea if blocking the pieces will help loosen things up. (I’ll remember that for that “How to Knit a Gauge Swatch” post…)

Since it’s wool and most of my sweaters end up being massive, I can only assume that giving a nice soak will give me about an inch more which would be a big help. That or I need to go on a diet, ASAP. I’m not giving this sweater up. I’m too in love.

faire isle 2 wrong side

Here’s a picture of the wrong side. I like sharing my wrong sides a lot. I feel like it’s not something that’s out there enough and I think that they’re interesting and beautiful in their own way. I’ve also gone on weird OCD searches for them when I’m afraid I’m not doing a technique properly. The backside of a faire isle piece is important the way that the back of a cross stitch is important (says myself, who has sloppy, terrible cross stitch backs). Also, you can see that I have hours worth of ends to weave in. Party!

Anyway, this sweater isn’t the quick, simple project I thought it would be. But are they ever? My only hope is that I have time to finish the front before winter is over. Ok, my only OTHER hope is that it fits. And that I don’t cry. Those are my only three hopes. Oh, and also that I don’t run out of yarn because St. Denis is discontinued. Ahahaha!

Please help me.

My sweater’s going to stretch out, right? Do you like looking at wrong sides? Would you share yours?

 

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24
Apr

WIP: Savory KAL: Blocking!

Written by Sarah. Posted in cardigan, knits, sweater

The sweater is finally almost finished! I know I promised all of these pictures but before the blocking, everything looked like a blob. But everything is laid out and lovely. I know I’m far past the KAL deadline but I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out and I’m so excited that I’ve conquered lace!

The collar construction is really interesting. I think it’s very unique and I’m not surprised since the shawl collar on the Larch Cardigan was so much fun. The left and right fronts are joined around the back of the neck and the back is attached to the join, creating the arm holes. It’s such an interesting idea but I like the way it makes the garment hang. It feels very relaxed.

The sleeves were finished a while ago. It’s hard to see the lace pattern laid out flat. That was definitely my fault for picking such a dark yarn color. It’s somewhere between olive green and olive brown. I love it.

Have I mentioned before how awesome my blocking mat is? My mom got me the Coco Knits Knitter’s Block for Chanukah last year and it’s been so useful! You can connect as many squares as you need in any shape which is great for bigger pieces like sweaters but also smaller blocking like mittens and socks. I would definitely recommend it if you’re short on space like me! Thanks, Mom!

I love the thick ribbing at the bottom of the body and sleeves. It feels so casual and wonderful. I can’t wait to see it all put together!

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13
Jul

I Hate Blocking and You Can Too!

Written by Sarah. Posted in baby, baby, gift, knits

I’ve been a very bad blogger. I was so proud of myself for posting regularly but last week was a real doozy. Anyway, I’m back and I’ve got tons of stuff to share with you!

Today I want to talk about blocking. I’m doing it! Aren’t you proud? I hate blocking and I never do it. Today, all of that is going to change.

The mystery present I’m working on is no longer a secret. It’s a baby blanket for Jon’s soon-to-be nephew! I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. It really needed to be blocked. It’s a bit of a mess around the edges and it looks half the size it should be. So I decided to do it. I never block anything unless I really have to and here’s why:

I’m impatient. (Side note: the idea that knitting requires patience cracks me up! Every time someone says “Oh I couldn’t knit, it takes so much patience” I just laugh. I have the patience of any average New Yorker trying to catch a cab in midtown around 5:25pm on a Tuesday while there’s a parade blocking all of 7th Avenue and it’s raining. I don’t know any knitters who are patient.)

I want to be done with projects when they’re done. I like moving on. I’m afraid that blocking will melt my stitches together or make the edges all pulled at the corners instead of just harmless curling (these things have happened to me) and I don’t want to leave my knit laying on the ironing board for three days waiting for it to dry.

And, frankly, the thought of damp wool makes me nauseous.

But I’m trying to really hone my skills and become a Knitter with a capitol K so I pledge to block everything from now on. I promise, guys.

I looked up a few videos on how to do it and put it off for about four days while I decided which method would work best. I went with steaming since there is finally an iron in my life. Of course, I didn’t have any straight pins so I used all of the safety pins in the apartment which I still think counts as half-assing the whole endeavor. Long story short, it sits on my coffee table drying this instant and I sit before you biting my nails.

I suppose I’ll be visited tonight by the Ghost of Elizabeth Zimmerman showing me my wrongful knitterly ways when it comes to blocking. God bless our knitting, everyone’s!

Please send my knitting some good joo joo. And any blocking tips would be appreciated, as well!

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