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April 2024



They Got Me Again

I may have bragged last night that I had picked a project for the Knitting Olympics which was, if not easy, at least possibly not hard enough to qualify for Olympic status.  Nothing in the pattern was particularly hard (except, maybe, understanding it…), the large gauge meant that there weren’t too many stitches, and it centered around a simple lace pattern that I could easily memorize.  I haven’t even been knitting on the bus or at work at all, and yet I knit the last stitch last night.

I should have known better.

This is what everything looked like when I was all ready to start blocking:

And since I like to get things really wet when I block them, everything went straight into the sink for a soak.  I was feeling so cocky about getting finished on time that I even cleaned the sink first instead of just getting a mixing bowl.

Blocking has always been one of my most favorite parts of knitting, at least whenever there’s lace involved.  You’re basically taking something wrinkled and blotchy and in no way resembling something amazing, and with a little water and a few pins you’re turning into a magical weightless sheet of fabric – I don’t care how many times you do it, it’s always going to be awesome.  I started with blocking out the top – having the lace attached to the body and double layered made the process somewhat ridiculous – if I were to do it again, I think I’d make the lace around the neck separately and graft it on after blocking.

Once I had that straight (or as good as it was going to get), I moved on to the right sleeve with its twelve beautiful points.  This is another place where, if I were to do the pattern again, I’d probably do the grafting post blocking instead of before so I didn’t have to double the fabric at all and I could make it straighter overall.

I wanted to be sure to have the same size for the left sleeve, so I tried to fold the right side in half to get six pairs of points like I had with the right sleeve.

That didn’t work out so well.  It’s hard to tell with this picture, but the farthest point to the left doesn’t actually have a pair.  Somehow, I managed to knit a sleeve with eleven points.  It took counting both sets of sleeve points about seven times each before I accepted it – the left sleeve did not in any way match the right.

Normally, this discovery wouldn’t be too bad – I’d just unpick the grafted row, unravel the bind-off edge, knit another repeat of the pattern, and do it all over again.  Given that it’s only ten rows, that shouldn’t take me more than the evening to fix.  The problem?

It’s wet.

So now, instead of waiting for my pieces to dry so I can seam them together, I’m waiting for my sleeve to dry so I can unravel it, knit more onto it, graft it together again (even though I’d do it differently if I were doing the whole pattern again, I think I should do both sleeves for this time the same – even if it’s wrong), weave in the ends again, string up the sides for blocking again, get it wet again, and then finally get to the blocking it and waiting for it to dry part.  I’ve put an extra day into the process, at least.

If there were anything I could do about it, I wouldn’t be writing this post.  If I owned a hairdryer, I’d be sitting next to an outlet gently forcing the yarn dry.

Luckily for you, my hairdryer died a couple months ago after more than a decade of being mostly ignored in the cupboard.  At the time, I remember thinking, “You know, the only reason I can think of to get a new one would be if I had a knitting project I wanted to dry faster…and even then, I can always just wait for the yarn to dry naturally.”

I hate it when the Knitting Fates take perfectly reasonable and sound arguments and use them against you.

At least everything except the sleeve is properly blocked and gorgeous.  My favorite is how the hip band just seems to go on forever.

After all, it’s almost seven feet long.  In knitting, that’s like miles!