Monday, August 30, 2010

So remember the birthday crab?

Probably not. I didn't either. But yesterday I was inspired to finish knitting it. Hooray!

To remind you: this was my makeshift pattern.

This was the finished knitted piece. But it needed blocking, like whoa. The tension in my stranded work is atrocious, and I'm hoping some blocking will go a long way. Or not. We'll see. Now plenty of people, books and websites will detail the right way to block. I'm here to say there isn't one. I frankenstein the whole process and am usually pleased with the results.

My blocking starts with a bowl of room temperature water; too cold or hot can mess with the fibers since I used 100% wool (hand-dyed biotch).

I slowly push the piece into the water, but it's gentle so no major yanks or twisting.

When I get bored, and/or it looks pretty saturated (this is harder than it sounds, wool holds a LOT of water), I oh-so-gently squeeze the excess water. But again, the fibers are vulnerable to stretching at this point.

I'm a fan of blotting in a towel.

Make a crab rollup to get more water out. Again, be gentle. I'm serious.

Then to block the shape, I pin the piece down on a towel. No fancy blocking board. No fancy pins. Just a towel and some straight pins.

Now I know from the lobster pillow, that my kind of crappy stranded knitting leads to an oddly textured fabric. So as with the lobster, I placed a second towel and some textbooks atop to even out my lazy, uneven knitting.

Next: wait a day or two (I told you, wool holds a lot of water), trim the ends up and voila! Birthday present, the sequel. (Coincidentally, her 1/2 birthday is in 2 weeks...)

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