Putting the Genie Back in the Bottle
February 18, 2013
You are the Prophet of Block-it in America, and I am your devoted acolyte. Blocking is the way to true handknit salvation. It makes the nicest, most even garter stitch plump up and look even nicer and more even. It takes the scratch out of Noro Silk Garden. It straightens all wobbly lines. It is a chiropractor for biased stockinette.
But blocking wrecked my State Street Cowl.
Here we see the State Street Cowl, pre-blocking. Note the lovely texture.
(Aside: this was a super quick, super fun knit. The yarn is Soul Wool Bauhaus in Bat Gray, as described in the post below. Took me approximately 4 hours in front of the TV over two evenings.)
Here we see the State Street Cowl after a short soak-and-squeeze. Flattened. Stretched all to hell.
Before y’all chime in and tell me I stretched it out too far–listen. I stretched nothing. The yarn absorbed the water and stretched itself right on out, with no encouragement from me whatsoever.
Do I still like it? Yes. Do I like it as much as I liked it before blocking? No. Will niece Maggie still wear it? I do not know, but that will not likely depend on whether I blocked it or not.
On the plus side: it now has a beautiful drape.
Next time I knit with an unspun, unstructured yarn like this–the Bauhaus is pretty much pencil roving–I will use steam instead of the full immersion method, and see if that tidies things up without all the stretching. This did NOT happen with the Twinkle Chunky Baby I used in my last Very Bulky Cowl. So maybe it’s just this yarn, or just this day.
In other news of Things Not Working Out All That Great, I knit the first sleeve for my second Riddari pullover, using the same size needle as I’d used on the body to get spot-on gauge of 4 1/2 stitches to the inch. Same SIZE needle, but different type of needle (wooden, short circ instead of metal, long circ). Fleetingly thought it was knitting up a little looser; brushed aside this thought while watching Argo at the cinema.
Measured gauge. It’s 4 1/4 stitches to the inch. This really does make a difference to the fabric. I think it’s possible that after washing and blocking, the gauge on the sleeve and body would equalize (my first Riddari really grew and plumped up), but I’m not feeling lucky with the blocking right now. It’s just a sleeve. Stop whining and re-knit the thing.
Here we go again, with a smaller needle. Will check it a bit earlier this time.