Sunday, 30 March 2014

A Lesson in Hanging on...until the time is right for steam blocking

Introducing The Freestyle Raglan Cardigan

A rather interesting project, one that's been on the needles since August 2011. At the time, I attempted my first cardigan. I wasn't following a "pattern", instead the project was knitted top - down, according to swatch and proportion.

As mentioned, no written pattern was followed as such, just basic project instructions along the lines of: 

Measure swatch, measure yourself, block swatch, calculate stitches required around collar in proportion to swatch sample, cast on equivalent number of stitches, divide stitches, place markers, memorise increase pattern, go forth and knit ...

The project, which was constructed seamlessly, spent nearly three years wedged on the side of my cupboard and was "catted" (attacked by the felines) several times before I eventually removed it from  incarceration last weekend in order to assess what was needed to bring some sort of closure to the endeavour. 

When I first cast off, it looked a horrendous mess to me. I had to put it to one side for a whole week until I attended to the problem today. Whilst knitting it up three years ago, I subjected it to all the knitting crimes one could possibly commit in one project: 

It was completed entirely in stockinette stitch, a stitch that produces rolled edges and makes the finished product pretty much unshapable around the extremities. I used a needle one size too small, which made the fabric too dense. I also went over the odds on the increases, giving the project what appeared to be wings around the hips. - All around, the most hideous kind of knit, one could imagine. Ever! Now, I regret not having taken pictures of the mess that was draped around my dressmakers dummy.

The yarn topped it all off. It is a blend of wool, acrylic and nylon in a rather dull green - Wendy Mistral, I believe. Blends of this kind are considered unblockable by some knitters; whilst others refute this as nonsense and advocate steamblocking as a method for finishing acrylic yarn or acrylic yarn blends. 

In the hope that blocking might provide this mess with some sort of shapeliness, I decided to steamblock the cardigan. I wrote an earlier blog post on this topic, which is available here.

This is a picture of my cardigan after steamblocking:

I'm not saying it's great, but it could be a lot worse without steam blocking...

Better pictures of the cardigan are on the way, but for now, let's just say that it's never too late to give a forgotten project a new lease of life...with the help of a little steam blocking.

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