Friday, February 09, 2007

Top Down Sweater: Progress Report

The topdown sweater experiment continues and I continue to absolutely love the process.

I snapped the photo ten minutes ago so it's about as current as I can manage.

1. I am about to start the cuff on sleeve #1.

2. The markers on the sleeve are keeping track of decreases so I can correctly match up sleeve #2.

3. The stitches for sleeve #2 are patiently waiting on a length of bright yellow Tahki Cotton Classic.

4. The neckband looks wonderful in person but all clumpy in the photo.

5. No, I don't know why it looks like there's a red splotch in the middle of the sweater. It isn't there in real life.

6. This is being worked up on Denises, #s 6 and 9US; Elann Highland Chunky in Mocha Heather.

7. Yes, I need to take antihistamines to do it but it's been 100% worth it. I love the yarn. I love the Knitting Pure & Simple pattern. I'm loving the result.

8. I'm terrified about blocking it.

Actually, there's my question of the day. It's been 20 years since I made a sweater for an adult and I'm starting to freak out. The finishing is almost non-existent on this since it's top down and I've been spit-splicing. But the blocking--yikes! Do I soak it then dry it flat? Should I pin it on my space board and spritz it with warm water? Any and all suggestions gratefully received. No, let me correct that statement. I'll be pathetically grateful for your help!


Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I know nothing about blocking--sorry!--but I do know how to admire a stunning sweater. Wow! It makes my little mittings pale by contrast.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Let me tell you a big secret, Nancy: your mittings are a whole lot tougher to knit than this sweater is. This sweater is EASY! I finished sleeve #1 after supper and made Goldisox try it on. I swear it was every bit as exciting as seeing my first book in print! I am bouncing off the walls here!!

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Marianne said...

Hello! I just randomly stumbled across your blog! I thought I'd give you some blocking help - there's no need to worry because it's a simple process!

You should soak the sweater in lukewarm/cool water with a gentle wool wash or even shampoo. I would leave it in for at least 10 to 15 minutes to make sure that it gets soaked right through. I usually use a small plastic bowl in the bathtub to do this. If you don't have a bowl big enough, use a sink, or even just the tub.

Before you put it in the water, fold it up neatly into a small-ish square. This will help when you take it out, because you'll have to support the whole bundle so it's own weight won't pull it out of shape. Don't agitate it or twist it in the water, and don't twist it when you take it out of the water. I usually empty the bowl of water, holding my item in it, and then squeeze the thing against the bowl gently and pour that water out too. Then put the whole thing into a towel, and press it into the towel to get more water out. Keeping it in that towel until you move it to where you want to block it will prevent it falling and stretching itself.

I would just lie it out flat then, wherever it is that you're blocking it and measure it. If everything is already the right length, I would just leave it out to dry like that, but if you want a bit more length in the body or sleeves, or if you want to flatten curling edges, just pin it into the right length. Wet wool has a lot of give, so don't worry about putting a lot of stress on the fabric.

I usually leave my wool with a fan on it. I know some people don't like to do that because some wools will get a bit of a halo if you put a fan on it, but I've never had that problem (I've also never worked with the wool you're using). Since it's two layers it might take a while to dry, but it will eventually get there!

Eek! Sorry about the length of this, but I hope it helps!

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Washing and blocking a sweater is an easy process. I like to use the washing machine to get out as much water as possible. Fill machine with lukewarm water to lowest level possible and add some Eucalan (which is no-rinse), turn knob to final spin, and shut off. Put in sweater and other woolens and soak for 30 minutes. Turn machine back on to spin dry. Take out and "block." For sweaters, I just spread 'em on a towel, pat to the shape they should be (making sure the back doesn't have wrinkles in it), and let dry.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Marianne and Anonymous: thank you so much for the detailed blocking information. The thought still makes my blood run cold but at least I know how to proceed when it's time.

11:27 AM  

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