Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I've had my 'Branching Out' made for about a week now, but i've only just finished blocking it. To say it's been a farce is a bit of an understatement. I don't usually block things, to be quite frank I hadn't heard of blocking until very recently (and i've been knitting for 17 years). I've known to gently press things if they need it, or to tug it about while it's damp, but I was quite bemused at the lengths some people go to with pinning and rolling in towels etc. I guess I didn't really see a need for it until I made this scarf.

At first I tried ironing it. I didn't actually 'melt it' per se, but it was a little, er...well...flat. Yes, I know that's the whole point of ironing, but I mistakenly used my military iron with 2 heat settings - hot and 'kin' hot and it was a little too much. I frogged 5 pattern repeats and reknitted it sucessfully. I really didn't think just wetting it and pinning it would do, so I needed another option. In the meantime i'd read someone at Knitty saying that they'd used a steamer and how easy it was....

My do and don'ts of steam blocking

Do choose something with enough space to pin the whole thing to - the base from the guest bed propped against a wall was idea

Do make sure you have enough pins so you don't have to go racing downstairs mid-proceedure to get the sewing needles in desperation.

Don't work in the semi-darkness so you can't see which end of the needle is which. Having enough piercings in your finger to make a goth teen proud is not a good idea.

Do screw the hose to the attachment properly so it doesn't fall off, scalding your wrist and feet in the process.

Don't set the whole thing up directly under the smoke alarm.

Do leave pins all over the floor, you can pick them up later with your bare feet.

Don't mutter a string of curses after you've finished when you realise it all looks a little, er...well...flat.

It's given it a lovely drape, but has taken away the knitted feel, it's wafer thin. I certainly won't be in a hurry to do it again.

The recipient is worth the trouble though, it's for my friend Emily for her birthday. She's a lapsed knitter recently inspired to pick up the needles again. I'm really looking forward to her coming home for the holidays, she teaches down South so I don't see her so often.


At 3:51 am, Blogger Tiffany said...

I hear ya on the blocking. My mom, who taught me to knit earlier this year, had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Neither did she know about the swatching...she's never made a swatch in her life. She just...KNOWS. Since she didn't teach me to swatch, I haven't been swatching either. So harm, no foul!
I love your branching out. I was trying to do that with KnitPicks Shadow, but was getting very frustrated. I think I'll finish my sweater first and then go back to it, but I'm going to hold the yarn doubled this time. :)
Merry Christmas!

At 4:43 am, Blogger DomesticOverlord said...

Beautiful despite, or because of, your troubles. I'm sure your friend willlove it. If she complains send her over to my blog and point out the OoS, that'll scare her straight!

At 4:55 am, Blogger Monica said...

LOL Well, lessons learned, eh? :) The scarf looks lovely, though!

At 7:57 am, Blogger Sue said...

Interesting to read your thoughts on blocking. I don't generally bother but I have blocked the couple of lace scarves I've made. I only dunked them in some water, squeezed them out and laid them on a towel and gently smoothed them out to make the edges even. No pins, no tugging, no stressing over if I was doing it right! They did look a lot better post-blocking and weren't completely lifeless looking. Happy holidays!

At 8:05 am, Blogger Rain said...

Thanks folks.

Tiffany - I don't swatch either, in her words - "waste of bloody time". You should have heard her when I explained about felting. "What? You spend all that time knitting just to ruin it?" Mwahaha.

Domestic Overlord - I can see that being a threat of legend, soon mothers will be saying, "if you don't behave, Santa will bring you the Overalls of Shame".

Monica - she'll cry laughing when I tell her what I went through. And next time? Nope, there isn't going to be a next time.

At 8:10 am, Blogger Rain said...

Sue, I wouldn't have bothered myself, but it was curling really badly even after washing, desperate measures were needed! It does look better despite my whining.

At 3:25 pm, Blogger Tiffany said...

RYC: That is what I was thinking, the more I play with what I want to do with it. I think the cables with the k5 "ribbing" along the back would be good.
I don't know yet about the sleeves. It's for my dad so I was thinking, the plainer the better, but I don't want it to look strange! So I thought a few of the smaller cables evenly spaced all the way up to keep the look of the sweater intact. What do you think?

At 3:42 pm, Blogger Rain said...

Tiffany - this is like blog tennis!

I think keeping the cables and the rib for both the back and sleeves would be a good idea. Doing the centre panel on them both would be overkill, but they might look strange if they are just done plain. If it looks like it matches then you can't go wrong.

At 12:54 am, Blogger dreamcatcher said...

The scarf looks reall lovely, the steaming/pressing has really opened up the lace pattern. I reckon i's only this type of fabric that really *needs* blocking.

I blocked my first HP scarf (knit in the round, so double thickness), and the blasted thing took days to dry out! It ended up on the dining room table, on the washing line, and in the tumble dryer :-D Not sure it made much difference since the yarn was 75% acrylic!

I never used to swatch either, and still don't half the time!

At 4:36 am, Blogger aurora said...

Oh, it looks gorgeous. I'm thinking that I may have to cave and make one.

Brilliant blocking hints. I swatch, but only because I have to sub so often (global standards of yarn being so crazily-mismatched).

At 9:57 am, Blogger Rain said...

Thanks ladies.

She gets it tonight, so I hope she likes it.

I'm glad to know it's not me that has adventures in blocking.

Aurora, i'd missed all the hype about it and was just searching for something pretty. It really does look nice. I think it would turn out well in most yarns.

At 1:11 pm, Blogger Emma said...

It´s wonderful, Rain! She will love it for sure.

At 3:43 pm, Blogger Stickbloggen said...

Hello, I found you on Euroknits ringsurf and like you blog and links. I hope its ok for me to link to you, I copied your button.

If I click on the 'prev' at rinsurf you are my 'prav' so I would be your '´next' neighbour at the Euroknit...

Merry Christhmas!

Monica in Sweden

At 2:17 am, Blogger Sharon J said...

Hi Rain. Beautiful scarf - I'm starting to think I must be the only knitter who hasn't knitted Branching Out. Who knows, maybe I'll give it a whirl one day. I'll post a pic when I knit the socks in the yarn on my blog, but don't hold your breath - it'll be a while yet. ~Sharon

At 8:36 am, Blogger Rain said...

Thank you. I gave it to her yesterday afternooon and she wore it when we went out in the evening. She really liked it which is a relief.


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