Well I finally caught whatever has been causing sickness in our area. I have spoken to so many of my customers who have had exactly what I have (NOT the swine flu btw) and it has been a real tough one. I have been out of the shop since Thursday (Thanks Laura and Co.) and was even so sick Sunday night I couldn't even knit, HORRORS!! The good news is the power drugs, inhaler, vitamin C, and tons of fluids are working and I am back up and knitting! Yeah! I will be back in the shop tomorrow too and can't wait to get out of this house! It is so great to work somewhere that you miss when you are away.
So while down for the count, I was able to finish my Offset Raglan Sweater by Veronik Avery from the book Simple Style. I chose to use the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran yarn and am blocking it today. How do I block a garment is a question I get a lot and I thought I would give you all a quick overview and hopefully get your confidence up. Blocking is basically 'setting' your stitches and getting to the finished measurements of your piece.
To the left you see my sweater soaking in my tub for about 20 minutes, in tepid (not hot, not cold) water with a mild detergent (I recommend Soak) to help things along and get any oils that maybe in the fiber out.
In the other picture you see my sweater laid out after rinsing in tepid water and squeezing (NEVER wringing) the excess water out and then a little tugging and pulling to get the piece to the correct finished measurements. It doesn't take much if your piece was knit to gauge and thankfully mine came out right, even though when I tried on the unblocked piece it felt too snug, phew, that was close :) I use rust proof T-pins to pin where needed and you can see my little black sheep that helped me measure to make sure all pins went in the right places. Now I just wait for it to dry and that will probably take a couple of days. Now there are lots of ways to block pieces and not all pieces require a wet blocking and be sure you know what your particular piece needs, wet, steam, or maybe it's just good to go as is. This is knitters choice and I am also very proud of myself on this piece as the only sewing (besides weaving in any ends) are to graft the stitches under the arms, so I looked up just what to do in my The Ultimate Knitting Book by Vogue and it is beautiful! There is also tons of great blocking information in this book! My next big thing I need to do to have a more complete tool kit for my work is to make a blocking board. Sandy has a great one and we are going to make one with one of our friends soon, then I won't have to pin things out on the dinning room floor.
I mentioned before that I want to embroider on this sweater and I will keep you posted on that. I have pulled out every book I have on possible designs and am just trying to decide do I use duplicate stitch and then maybe chain stitch around it to give it a bit more pop, or do I embroider all of it.
As always happy knitting and make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet daily! Jeanne