Monday, April 12, 2010

Creative Blocking 101

While I'm still knitting away at my Autumn Shawl (16 entrelac rows down, 9 more to go, plus edging!), I finally got my butt in gear today and did a major blocking session. The thing is that every item I blocked needed an element of creativity.

First, my Crofter's Cowl, that I finished back in November as a Christmas gift? Yeah. That never happened. But I finally blocked it today. I had the great idea of blocking it around a rolled up towel to avoid getting creases from blocking it flat. Worked like a charm...

Next up, the Marian Seaman Scarf I test-knit a while back for Cosy. (She's now released the pattern, by the way.) Really fun pattern, with two lace ends connected by ribbing at the neck. The ribbed part didn't need to be blocked, but I wanted to block the lace ends to open them up. This was the result of that effort...

Why didn't I just block it stretched out straight you ask? Great question! The answer would be because the bulk of my blocking area was being taken up with this mutant creation...

This would be my Hemlock Ring blanket from hell. I have loved this pattern ever since I first saw it, and when the Spring Fling group on Ravelry did a Jared Flood KAL for March, I thought it the perfect time to cast on for it. While I did have a brief setback in the center section, it mostly flowed along nicely until somewhere in the feather and fan section.

There should be eight symmetrical sections in this blanket. Mine, however, did not work out that way. See this section here... somehow ended up with almost twice as many stitches as it should have! And this section here, opposite from it...

It has far too few stitches. A couple of the other sections are also off, but only by a few stitches each. How I managed to totally muck up those two sections is absolutely beyond me. One reason I can think of is that Feather and Fan is actually of the devil and therefore Satan inhabits any project I try to knit with it. Another reason could be that somewhere during the course of knitting the feather and fan section, there was a shift in the time-space continuum, thus causing the stitches that should have gone in that bottom section to somehow jump up into that top section, causing this unfortunate mutation. A third reason could be that I, the human with the needles and string, got distracted and screwed it up. Personally, I'm voting for Satan. ;)

As I attempted to pin this out and block it today, my daughter asked why bother if it was such a mess. Well, as I see it, all is not lost! See the pretty middle section here...all nicely knitted and error-free? The part I initially fell in love with and the main reason I wanted to make the blanket to begin with?

I plan to be daring and figure out a way to safety cut a square out of the center of this little mess and turn it into a pillow with a pretty contrasting color of fabric behind it. What do I have to lose? Since I stopped knitting about 20 rows early, when I realized how messed up it truly was, it is very small for a blanket anyway. I won't feel too bad about cutting into it and wasting the peripheral yarn if I can make a pretty pillow out of it. At least then my time and effort and materials won't be a complete waste!

Oh, and despite being happy at work on the Autumn Shawl as well as a carry-around sock project, I decided I needed to cast on something new today. You see, the yarn for the Autumn Shawl is indeed very autumnal in color. And the sock is being made from a colorway called "Winterberry," which is largely a red/green/brown combination. Having finished my pretty, bright Caricia, I needed something else on the needles that reflected the brightness of spring. Thus today I cast on for the Traveling Woman shawl (yep, still on a shawl kick here!) with this Fleece Artist yarn in the pretty Moss colorway.

I'm still in the stockinette section of the shawl, so it isn't exciting to look at yet, other than the fact that the yarn is beautiful...I love semi-solid colorways!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Blocked last night before I went to bed, unpinned this morning in between cooking for Easter, Part I, at my in-laws' today, which is where the pictures were taken...

 I love the way the colors flowed in the spinning from the palest cornsilky color up to some deeper, sunflowery yellows.

 Finished dimensions are 35" down the center and 70" across the wingspan.

 Plenty long enough to wrap around me!

 I think I was trying to look deep and thoughtful

Ok, so it is bugging me that the center line of the shawl is not centered on my back in this picture! But my daughter was doing photographer duty, and she was like, "Yes! It's FINE!" So. :}

And just to recap, this is Anne Hanson's Caricia pattern, knit to the middle size (called "petite" in the pattern). The yarn is my handspun, which started out as BamHuey, a merino/bamboo blend from NewHueHandspuns, colorway Sun Beams.

Good things...

Good Thing #1: I finished my Caricia shawl tonight! Woohoo! It is beautiful and I love it! It is blocking now, but I hope to get some good pictures of it this weekend.

Good Thing #2: It's been Easter break week for us. I'm getting a lot of knitting done (see #1).

Good Thing #3: Our oldest came home on leave from NC on Tuesday for a week, so we get to enjoy him for Easter, too.

Good Thing #4: It was supposed to go up to 80 degrees today. I'm not sure if it hit it or not, but it definitely got close! Just for reference...we're in Pittsburgh. There are years we are wearing winter coats and walking through snow at Easter. This is the wonderful other side of Pittsburgh's wacky weather spectrum!

Good Thing #5: I planted a bunch of stuff in my salad garden today! (See #4). Some more onions, two types of lettuce, some arugula, beets, dill, basil and cilantro. Can't wait to eat it all! ;)

Sorry for the picture-less posts as of late. I'll make up for it soon, I promise!