Creative Knitting Newsletter
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- Blocking Wires in Action
- A Soak & a Spin
- Protect the Surface!
- S-t-r-e-t-c-h It!
- An Aside
- Back to the Shawl
Blocking Wires in Action
After Yael, Anne Marie, Sherri and I were satisfied with our brunch, I demonated the use of my blocking wires for the shawl Sherri had just completed. The design is called Caricia and required 560 yards (three skeins) of Hand Maiden yarn called Swiss Mountain Cashmere. Its blend of 65 percent cashmere and 35 percent silk make it a perfect choice for a shawl. The colorway is bronze. Please note that this is not a project for the faint of heart. It is a challenging lace, which kept Sherri on her toes until a few rows had been worked and the pattern became more clear. Among the very specific directions, designer Anne Hanson strongly urges a severe blocking to encourage the yarn to bloom to its full potential.
Soak & a SpinA two-hour soak in a bath of Eucalan no-rinse fiber wash was needed to fully open the cuticle of the fiber. Sherri popped the dripping shawl into a mesh lingerie bag, and the excess water was extracted by using the spin cycle of the washing machine with the control set for spin only (no agitation whatsoever).
Protect the Surface!
For a previous blocking task, Sherri's helpful husband Jeff brought her a large piece of foil-covered insulation board (about one inch thick) to use as a blocking board. We kept the protective table pads in place as we laid the insulation board atop the dining room table. It's much more comfortable to do this procedure at table height when possible; crawling about on the floor was less painful a few years ago!
The next step consisted of inserting the wires into each point of the shawl, taking care to pick up two threads at all times to avoid weakening the stitches. As you can see in the above photos, the wires skimmed through the stitches easily.
A strong light was also helpful to clearly see each point. When all the points were picked up along the hypotenuse of the triangle, we pinned the wires firmly to the board. Then, we aligned the wires to the edge of the board to keep it straight. Next, we threaded the wires through the large points barely visible along the sides of the shawl and began to urge the stitches of the shawl to expand. This was not a time for compassion: we pulled hard as we pinned down the sides, exclaiming as the points began to pop when the stitches expanded. When all edges were firmly attached to the board, we made sure that the lines of the shawl were properly straight and true.
Observant readers will notice that Sherri is wearing a February Lady's Sweater (FLS), an adult version of much-loved design by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This project was very popular in knitting circles around the country last winter. A top-down knit, the garter yoke and easy lace of the sleeves and body are within the grasp of most intermediate knitters. I've made so many of the Easy Baby Sweater on Two Needles (the original design by EZ) I could duplicate it merely by looking at one that is already completed. You can find the baby version at Schoolhouse Press, an online business operated by EZ's daughter, Meg Swanson.
This adult sweater was made from a pattern available (free!) at www.flintknits.com. The yarn is named Classy from Dream in Color, and the shade is Happy Forest. Sherri made the buttons on the FLS by encircling cabone rings of the desired size with single crochet. When the rings are covered, the stitches are turned inwardly, and the ends of the yarn are used to gather them and sewn onto the jacket.
|Here's Sherri and the shawl on its board.|