Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Wednesday ...

Today is Wednesday, and there are two finished projects, my Rosebuddie baby blanket is cast off, and blocked and dry, and the second Garn Washcloth is also done. Now in the scheme of things they are both knitting projects and both are now done, but Rosebuddie just is the prettier of the two and so gets much more blog space. 

I Russian grafted the eight stitches of last row of the lace edge to eight stitches that I had picked up from the cast on for the lace edge. Russian grafting is a wee trick I learned ages ago from Lorna, one of the local knitting legends. Russian grafting is much easier than grafting garter lace and pretty much disappears into a garter pattern.  between the two peaks of the lace edge there is a teeny tiny wiggly line from the Russian graft. I've got a video tutorial in the side bar but there are other video tutorial on YouTube to look at as well. 

Once, a long time ago, I was a beginner knitter. I didn't know much, let alone follow all the detailed instructions about how to read a pattern all the way through before beginning and how to finish a project. Blocking was something I discovered at point, blocking sort of settled hand knitting down and made it look more polished, more finished, more professional. Every now and again I tried lace, but really the result didn't grab me, it looked a lot like this. Kind of lumpy, kind of bumpy, and not really pretty like colour work or cables could look. Then I found out about blocking and while I know blocking won't fix a nightmare of a knit it will make a good knit look amazing.  

So Rosebuddie was blocked, that means that I mixed up a sink of warm to hot water with a gentle wool friendly soap and let Rosebuddie soak for a full 10 minutes. I drained the water, replaced it with clean warm water and let Rosebuddie soak again for 10 minutes. Then I spun Rosebuddie out in the washing machine on the spin cycle to remove the excess water. Then the blocking mats came out, I used to block on the floor, direct onto the carpet. I'd vacuum it clean and pin whatever I was blocking out on top of dry towels. Then I discovered foam mats that were sold to cushion camp stretchers and I used those. About a year ago a traveling knitter brought me  KnitPicks blocking mats in her suitcase from the US, and shortly after a few of us discovered that the local hardware stores sold 'play-mat/gym-floors' that were exactly the same but larger, 600mm square not 300mm square. Another local knitting legand, M from Vintage Purls, shared her discovery that stainless steel TIG wires were perfect blocking wires and cheaply available from engineering supplies. Though work I found that boxes of T-pins were available from hairdressing suppliers (I know not why - please don't ask), so I bought a box of 300. The points of the lace edge were threaded onto blocking wires,  the damp  blanket pinned out square and left to dry.

Look, blocking is amazing, the edge is flat, the points are clear and the lace pattern is opened up so it can be seen. 

and Rosebuddie has the most amazing drape, and just looks 1000% better than before it was blocked. 

The other project off the needles is Garn 2, a cotton linen blend washcloth, that uses the remaining 25g of the ball of yarn. When I cast off I had about a meter of yarn left, so frogged back 3 stitches and added a wee double knit loop .... just to make the most of the cotton linen yarn. Looks like one of the ends might have escaped, so a wee trim could be needed.

All in all - not a bad mid-week post.

take care
na Stella


KathyR said...

Rosebuddie is absolutely lovely! You're right, a good blocking certainly does make a world of difference.

Knitting Linguist said...

Not bad at all - Rosebuddie is lovely! I always enjoy before and after pictures with lace; I think it's the magic of blocking that is one of my favorite parts of knitting lace. Whichever baby ends up with that blanket is going to know that s/he is loved by a knitter.