Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Next Steps

A few weeks ago, someone asked how I blocked my Multnomah shawl. I thought I would share how I block my newly knitted items today as part of Ginny's Yarn Along in case someone else was wondering.

First I give the item a good soak with a bit of woolwash. For these two items, I used Soak Wash. Usually I soak the item in its own bath, but I wanted to do both the Shalom Cardigan and the Lavalette shawl. The shawl did bleed a bit, but it didn't affect the dark sweater. To stop any of your yarn from bleeding, you can add a bit of vinegar to the water.
After 20-30 minutes soaking(or however long it takes before I return to the task), I remove the item. I gently squeeze it to remove the bulk of the water. I then lay it on a towel which I then roll up like a burrito. I step on the rolled towel to get any remaining water out of it. I did take a photo of this exciting move, but I am too vain to show my chipped, blue painted toenails.
After a good stomping in the towel, I take the item and pin it out on one of our beds. I pin it directly into the mattress. I am sure some would shudder at this, but I don't have a blocking board, and this works. I consult the pattern schematics for finished dimensions and pin to that. The shawl according to the pattern is 64" long and 28" deep at the point. I start with the points and gradually fill in the borders of the item. I use regular sewing pins, although blocking pins can be found online or at your local yarn store.
Lavaletter Shawl (color is truest in blocking photos)


Sweaters are blocked a bit differently as I consult my dimensions over the pattern. I blocked the cardigan with my sleeve measurement and torso length.

I haven't always blocked my finished items, but I now find it really helps the item. The yarn relaxes and acquires more depth and flow. The stitch definition is also better. So there you have some blocking information for your next project. Now on to my knitting...

After such a productive stretch of knitting, I am hitting a lull. I decided that I really need to work on my stashed yarn. Two of the three sweaters I knit recently came from my stash, so I am definitely making progress. So, I dug through the closet.

Several years ago (August 2008 to be exact), I started a February Lady Sweater. I remember making a few mistakes at the time and getting frustrated. My practical knitting skill was good, but my knowledge was a bit too new. The sweater has been languishing in the closet. In an attempt to continue working on the stash, I pulled it out. I ripped out the yoke, which I had completed, and set to work. I decided the yarn color was not impressing me, so I stopped and reevaluated the situation. The yarn I had used was Dream in Color Classy in the Chinatown Apple colorway. I set it aside and grabbed a similar amount of DIC in the Happy Forest colorway. I am much happier with this sweater combination. I have finished the new yoke and am adding a bit of length before starting the lacework. It is going much better this time.
February LAdy Sweater for Ginny's Yarn Along
When not knitting, I have been reading a bit of Ella Enchanted aloud to the kiddos. Eamon chose it  as his free book from Borders summer reading program. They are acting out the main issue facing the protagonist in their own lives, playing games where they must "obey" whatever command they are given. It is quite entertaining. On a side note, I want to mention that while traveling, our family enjoyed the Gone Away Lake Series by Elizabeth Enright. The whole family liked both books. I know it can be challenging to find fun books for children. We recommend her work completely.

For myself, I started The Birth House which was recommended by Sarah over at Clover Lane. So far it is an enjoyable thoughful read. Of course, I like books about birth and strong women. Hopefully next week, I have a bit more accomplished on my sweater.

20 comments:

  1. Glad I'm not the only one who uses regular sewing pins for blocking ;) Love the colour of your current knitting, such a rich green.

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  2. Thanks so much for the blocking tutorial. I've never blocked anything and had been wondering about how to do so! (I mostly knit small items like hats, but plan to knit more shawls, sweaters, etc.)

    That green yarn is gorgeous! Can't wait to see the finished sweater.

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  3. Last comment was from Kathy at http://www.needleandspade.com

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  4. I like the gree for the FLS, too, though I made a really pretty shawl with my Chinatown Apple. :-)

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  5. Oh I love that green! That's a beautiful sweater pattern.

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  6. Your knitting is beautiful!!! I love the color green you picked....

    ~~Renee

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  7. the shawl looks great! I like using those interlocking floor mats for blocking. They stack up well and are nice are just hard enough for a good block!

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  8. Your shawl is lovely! I love that green sweater too :)

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  9. What a beautiful shawl!

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  10. The shawl is GORGEOUS ... so summery and cheerful!

    I just love the blocking-on-the-mattress idea! I have 6,000 shawls on needles right now ... as soon as I finish one I'll be sure to try out your technique.

    PS - I also have chipped blue toenails ... I'll share if you will ;-)

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  11. That shawl is beautiful! I LOVE the color. Thank you for sharing your blocking method- I use regular sewing pins too.

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  12. Oh Happy Forest! How beautiful! And thank you. THANK YOU! for the blocking tutorial...I've been completely clueless about the entire procedure. How long does it take to dry (we don't have spare beds in our house, so I'm wondering if I'll need a blocking board ;-)? And thanks, too, for all the awesome book recommendations - something for everyone :-)

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  13. Rainblissed - we don't technically have any spare beds either, but it seems that a bed is often empty each night. I live in Arizona, so it dries very quickly. If I start it in the morning, it is dry in a couple hours. The sweater did take longer as it is a heavy wool.

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  14. i love that sweater. like LOVE that sweater. you must finish it! it is fabulous!

    :)
    jen

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  15. I have been wanting to make a shawl forever!! your colors are so pretty!

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  16. The shawl looks very nice, what a wonderful shade of yellow!

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  17. I loved the Birth House. Such a good read.
    Your green wool looks wonderful - so gorgeous!

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  18. I am a bit lazy about blocking. I know I should but somehow the stage gets missed. When I do remember,I pin it to carpet. Never thought of using a mattress.

    Love your yellow shawl.

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  19. Blocking is a knitter's best friend! All of your projects look great and I love the color of the cardigan.

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  20. oh my gosh your projects are to die for. i love that orangy shawl. gorgeous!!!!!

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