Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blocking Work-in-Progress

The thing that put me off knitting for a while (about 10 years ago) was the difficulty of getting a finished garment to fit "just right". I'm a small woman, and patterns ALWAYS needed adjusting. I used to hate it when I'd sew up a sleeve (knitted up from the cuff), set it in, and then discover that it was an inch too long or too short. It's what got me making my own designs. Now, I have a whole toolbox of techniques that help me get the length perfect. One of those is wet blocking a work-in-progress.
For the last few days, I've been motoring up the body on Zora. As of last night, I was about an inch shy of the underarms. I stopped at this point just in case the body grows a bit in length after blocking. If it does, I won't have to rip anything out. If it doesn't, I'll just add the extra inch before proceeding. First off, let me say how much I love knitting with my own handspun. I may be a beginning spinner, but I'm finding that this Corriedale wool has just the right amount of loft.


Here's where I left off.


This morning, I put all the stitches onto a long length of wool. Then I soaked the piece for a few minutes in a bowl of warm water.


Notice that I've left the live stitches and the attached ball of wool out of the water; I don't want the active stitches to stretch. 
Next, I gave the wet wool a gentle squeeze (so as to avoid felting), rolled it up in a towel, placed it on my kitchen floor, and jumped on it a little bit to get out the worst of the wet.


Finally, I laid the work out on a towel to dry, checking the measurements while I moulded the shape.


No growing, apparently. This means that when I work the upper body, I can be assured that the final piece will measure the same as the work-in-progress on the needles. Yay!

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