Thursday, March 31, 2011

Adventures In Blocking

"Although its scaly surface tends to repel liquids, the wool fiber's core is highly absorbent, taking in as much as 30 percent of its weight in moisture." (National Geographic, May 1988 pg 556)

Oh boy Larry, this is SO true. The Behemoth sweater that was finished yesterday got blocked tonight and I'm telling you, I thought it was heavy before, but wet? It weighs A TON. For those of you who don't know blocking is when you wet something you knit to relax the stitches and shape it into how the piece is going to live. I do this a lot with my slouchy hats and it makes a HUGE difference. Take this pink hat for example:

I don't know if you can really tell, but before blocking, the hat is kind of small, and very puckery, afterward the stitches relaxed and smoothed out, making for a much nicer hat.
Anyway, my first dilemma was, where am I going to put this damn sweater while it dries? I had a moment of inspiration. A few years ago I interned at The Jewish Museum of Maryland and for some reason I took (they were going to throw it away, I promise) a rather large foam-core poster of Jewish immigrants at the port of Baltimore. This poster is the PERFECT thing to block the sweater on.
The Poster/Blocking Board

Pre-Blocked Sweater
The next task was to get the whole thing wet. Into the tub it goes. It's really important to get the whole thing wet, usually with warm water, but you can't agitate it too much, if you start really trying to wring out a wool item it will felt, which is not what I wanted in this case.
The best thing to do when you're trying to get all that water out is to gently squeeze as much as you can out, and then lay it on a towel and roll up the towel, doing your best to get the towel to soak up the water.
Rolling the Sweater in a Towel
The last thing to do with the damp sweater is to shape it into place. Personally, I like it a little tighter around the boobs (show off the assets) and a little looser over my tummy so I made sure to stretch the bottom half a little wider, without stretching the chest too much. I also tried to stretch the sleeves a little wider so they wont be too tight on my EXCELLENT BICEPS! I also stuck one of my wig heads in the hood so it will actually be head shape, instead of something resembling kale. Then I pinned the whole thing to the board with T pins to hold it in place.
The Sweater

Now we wait until the sweater is dry. Hopefully it won't take too long. In the meantime here's a question for you reader. I have a whole collection of yarn leftover from other projects. Most of these are not enough to make a whole other item, but too much to just chuck. What should I do with it? Crazy scarf? Start a granny square blanket? Got a super idea? Leave it in the comments! I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Done!

I finished it! The giant behemoth of a first sweater! It's done! It's done! (Well, except for minor seaming, weaving in ends and blocking) Pictures to come!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Feel Like I Apologize To You Guys A Lot

I have been totally off the grid from you guys for almost three months. A lot has happened since then, and I'm hoping, with the inspiration of the BrassyLibrarian that I can really get back into the swing of posting. That is, if anyone is still willing to read :-P

Here's a quick rundown of the BIG stuff that's happened since my last blog post: The Boyfriend is now The Fiancee, I got a job as an actual Librarian AND I'm not working as a pharmacy tech anymore (for those keeping track, was working 3 jobs, now back to 2. YAY!) I started and nearly completed a sweater, and made a hella buncha hats for a craft fair that one of the synagogues was holding here in B-more. I even sold a few of the hats that I had in the craft fair! So here's a whole smattering of pictures in hopes that it will keep your attention long enough for me to post again (hopefully soon).
The Ring!
The Office!
Someone bought this!

And someone bought this!

And this got bought!

This got bought too!

And this one!