Posts Tagged 'blocking'

Yes!!

 Excuse the tiny pictures… I found out too late that Dh had been resetting my camera… But, it you get out your magnifiying glass, you’ll be able to see what I’m so excited about…

Yep, that’s my Branigan shawl all finished and blocking on an ugly beach towel.

Minus the cat, who eyed it up and tried to jump on within 2 minutes of me finishing pinning it in place.

These were meant to be close ups…

… but don’t reallly provide much detail for some reason…

But on the positive side, this is like the fastest blog post e-v-e-r thanks to only having to upload postage-stamp size piccies.

I hope we get some sunshine tomorrow so it dries while I’m at work 🙂 Watch this space for bigger FO pics.

Something Rushed

Picture this. It’s around 5pm on Sunday afternoon when DH turns on his computer. He has a diary function on it which prewarns him of upcoming events. He announces it’s his mother’s birthday on Friday.  I think in future it would be nice if he set his computer alarm function for a couple of weeks in advance! I take no responsibility for not remembering her birthday, we’ve only been married five years.

I would be lying if I said he asked me to knit her a gift. But I had been intending to knit her something – probably socks, so I figured that this gave me just 4 knitting nights to pick a pattern and make it from start to finish. Socks seemed like a bit of a push in 4 days.  MIL is the kind of person who likes to accessorise, so I thought that she might like a scarf. After a bit of Raverly-ing, I decided to go with the flow (or rather a great tide) and cast on an Ishbel.  This is the third Ysolda Teague pattern I’ve knit this year and I am a fan of her patterns – they are so clearly written, despite them being among the more challenging knits I’ve undertaken this year. (Read, lacey and needing to have a pattern to hand. I am, after all, a lazy knitter at heart.)

I fossicked in my stash and came up with some 4ply Touch Yarn, variegated in a selection of delicious dark plum, rust, grey and greens. After a bit of help winding from my friendly local toddlers, I was ready to go. The first part of the pattern is stocking stitch and it just flew by. I can’t say I enjoyed the second part as much. For some reason the lace sections did not click with me and I did a lot of pattern following.  I might be the only person in the knitting universe not in love with Ishbel.  Don’t get me wrong, she is cute, but it was not an intuitive knit for me, which is something I love.

Anyway, my self imposed deadline of Wednesday night was stretched out a bit and by 10am Thursday morning, Ishbel was blocking in the sunshine. (Gosh, I love blocking shawls!)

By 1pm she was ready for a quick bit of modelling and then ready for wrapping.

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It feels good to have it finished, but alas there is no hope it will make it to her in time for her birthday. I deputised DH to take it to the postoffice, and he forgot the crucial bit – fast post! So, the lovely Ishbel is making her way s-l-o-w-l-y to the South Island.

Meanwhile, I have been busy studying and getting ready for another weekend block course at University. This has been my week:

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Well, actually I’ve been writing an assignment and preparing a seminar too, but they don’t take very good photos 🙂

Adventures in blocking II

As I suspected, the pair of socks I knit for the winter sock club needed some serious blocking. When I tried them on, this is what they looked like.

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Hmmm, not exactly the most attractive feature at the front of the foot there! We were assured that the unique construction of the socks would come right when blocked.  So, I dutifully soaked (and washed with a bit of Euculan) and popped my socks on the beautiful sock blockers I got in a swap earlier this year.

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Even on the blockers, I had to give the socks a bit of encouragement to lose the bump on the front. I popped them on top of the gas heater and every couple of hours I manipulated the bump until it was virtually invisible. 

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That’s all the hints I’m going to give you on how they look – I’ll do a proper FO post later in the week if and when we see some sunshine for some nice pics.

Now, I am very spoiled with my super sock blockers. My swapper’s father made them out of marine grade ply and varnished them. They are awesome, and socks dry seriously quickly on them. But, if you haven’t any marine grade ply, a jigsaw, sandpaper and varnish hanging around at home (!), and you don’t have the dollars to shell out for a set of blockers (even if they are gorgeous like these new Knitpro ones)… Here’s an idea for making your own out of plastic table mats. I’ve made a couple of sets and they are great. My friend Christine made some awesome ones using scrapbooking paper that she laminated. They apparently work a treat.

So, if you’ve got a stubborn sock in your life, perhaps you can block it into submission with a set of beautiful blockers that you made yourself.

Adventures in blocking I

There was a time not all that long ago, that I didn’t block my knitting.  Seems crazy, right?  Well maybe to those of you who are blocking addicts. But I was a knitter right through my teens, and don’t ever recall blocking being part of the garment finishing process. When I was knitting only baby items, again, I didn’t find blocking an important part of the process. However, when I moved into knitting adult garments, I became a wee bit of a blocking fan.

So, what is blocking? This 2002 Knitty article discusses what blocking is and why you use it – a way to shape pieces of knitting, to stretch if stretching is necessary, and to even out stitches for a beautiful finish. 

I knit with wool most the time, and for my large garments I favour wet blocking.  From the Knitty article… “Wet-blocking. Wet the pieces of the garment. If you have heavy cabling, you may want to press out the excess water using towels [NEVER WRING — wool is fragile when wet and you can damage the fabric this way!] Pin them out to the desired dimensions and let them dry, usually over several days.”

When it comes to pinning garments out, I have a small issue – I use a foam playmat. Which, yes, I have to admit does belong to DD1. And she usually decides she *needs* to play with it right after it has a jersey pinned carefully to it. Sigh.

But I digress, what I really wanted to show you was my lovely beret…

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Not cutey cutey, is it? The cables and lace really fails to pop, and the shaping – well, no photos to show you that!

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So, the pattern recommended that you wet block on a dinner plate or – shock – a record. Now, I’m not into super slouchy, so no records for me. Plus, I think DH would be horrified at the thought of his precious vinyl being put to use for knitting. In fact, I think that would be crossing a line he may never forgive me for. So, dinner plate it was. 

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You can see that this really opens out the petals, and the purl sections appear between them for the first time. Ahhh. 

Now, with the simple addition of time to dry- in my case about 36 hours – you will have a wearable beret.

Although, I’ve a confession to make here. I took it off the plate a couple of times to check the fit. The second time it was not quite dry, but clearly too large. So the rest of the drying took place in my dryer to effect some shrinkage.  Not exactly in the manual, but it seemed to work 🙂

On the needles at the moment is the second of my winter sock club socks.  Once it’s off the needles there will be a second lesson in blocking – the unique design feature of the increases at the centre front of the foot has created some interesting shapes that need to be blocked into submission!

Oh, and I also cast on for my next big knit today – a jersey for DH. More on that next time though!


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