Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Knitting! For real this time! With Pictures and Everything!!

Alternate Title: Blocking: You Can Do It!!

Christmas Knitting Completed #1
Every year my family picks names among the "grown-ups" for Christmas. I have mixed feelings about this, as it sometimes feels more like it becomes an obligation for my family rather than a chance to give generously or joyously to our loved ones. However, that said, I understand the reason behind it.

So, this year I picked my sister-in-law's name. I was happy about this for several reasons:
1. I knew she would appreciate and, possibly, love a hand made gift.
2. She had asked me to knit her a sweater, way back in September.
3. She picked out a pattern she really liked once when going through my knitting magazines.
4. The pattern she picked out called for chunky weight yarn and US10/6mm needles!!

Yarn: Patons Shetland Chunky in a steel grey (I can't find the ball band right now)
Pattern: Cabled Jacket from Vogue Knitting Winter 04/05

Before I show you the sweater, I have a few things to show you:
1. With about 8 rows left in the last sleeve, this is what the yarn did:

There was this really strange over-twisted and then un-twisted and then over-twisted section. I thought I could just knit through it, but it was noticeable. I hate it when there is a really noticeable flaw in the yarn like that! If it had been 100% wool, or handspun I would totally have understood. But this stuff is 75% acrylic!! argh. But I knit on (after joining a new end to this spot. Luckily there was enough left to do this).

Then I began to block. Now, I have a tendency to look for the laziest most expedient way to do things. I should have soaked and pinned the pieces, but this is Christmas time people!! There isn't time!! So, the magic of the steam iron was called upon. And Magic it is.

The 2 sleeves. I think I'm glad I made myself block it!

And the finished jacket. I won't get to see her open it, they aren't able to be with us for Christmas. So, at this point I'm in "I hope she likes it. I hope it fits. I hope this is really what she wanted" mode. I really like seeing people open gifts and I will miss that.

And one final oops to show you:

Can you see the difference between the collar and the jacket? I knew I had one ball from a different dyelot, but it didn't look as noticeable in the store!! I saved it for the collar b/c I figured if it did turn out to be noticeable, it would be less strange on the collar than on a sleeve.

Christmas Knitting Completed #2

So, a few posts ago, I told you about a sweater I had completed for my friend, Julie. Actually, I probably didn't say that it was for Julie. It was. Where was I? Oh, yeah. As I neared completion on the Hourglass Sweater I was knitting Julie for Christmas (in NOVEMBER!! I was WAY ahead!!) I realized that it was a tad small. Like possibly 4 inches less in circumference than it should have been. You know: "a tad". ehem

I kept knitting, finishing the sweater, hoping that maybe it would just magically grow into the size/shape it needed to be. (It was really small. On me, it fit sort of like how a baby-Tshirt fits. Not the look you're going for in the Hourglass sweater!!) I put it aside while I finished my other Christmas knitting. I was mentally preparing myself to frog and re-knit the whole thing. I warned Julie that her gift may be late due to another Christmas Knitting Brain Fart (last year her gift sweater turned out to be a disaster and I ended up knitting a different sweater which she received in the end of January).

So, as I was blocking my sister-in-law's sweater, feeling like I had some sort of blocking magic working for me, I decided to try blocking Julie's hourglass sweater. I had already tried soaking/stretching it, but to no avail. Why did I think that steaming it would work? Well, I didn't. But, I already had the iron steaming and the ironing pad was out and I had nothing to lose as far as the teeny-tiny Hourglass was concerned.

The tape is showing you the width of the sweater at the narrow part of the hourglass shape of the body. It reads "16" As in: 16 inches across. As in: 32 inches around.

Post steam blocking: "18" as in 18 inches across. As in: 36 inches around.
I don't know how I did it. This yarn is 100% acrylic. I have NEVER had acrylic block like this. Maybe it's the yarn, it's not very tightly twisted (my spinning vocabulary is not so expansive). Maybe I had some sort of blocking mojo working for me. Maybe it's a Festivus Miracle!** Either way, it worked. The sweater that was minutes away from a frogging suddenly was wearable and exactly the size I thought it should be!!

And, given my excitement to give the gifts and to see the receiver open the gift, I was really really happy when Julie's response was so enthusiastic. She loved it. It looks really good on her and the colors suit her perfectly (and go well in her dining room!)

So, I thought I had one whole sweater left to do for Christmas knitting but now, the score is:
Total Christmas Sweaters planned: 3
Christmas Sweaters left to knit: 0 (yes: ZERO) (okay, I still need to put in a zipper on one, but that is SO NOT KNITTING!)
Assorted other Christmas knitting planned: 2 toques, 1 scarf, 1 pair mitts/gloves,
Assorted other Christmas knitting completed: 1 1/2 toques, 1/4 scarf
Days until Christmas: 5
BUT: the scarf and mitts are for a friend I won't see until after Christmas. I totally have time.

Now to complete a toque and knit on a sock (sock? oh, yeah, I have Birthday Knitting to do.) and watch some hockey and/or football. Where is Picture-in-Picture TV when you need it??

**I almost forgot: For those among you who have NOT seen every Seinfeld episode a dozen times: Festivus was the holiday that George Costanza's dad invented. In the Festivus episode Kramer yells out "It's a Festivus Miracle!" It's funny. Although, reading it, not so funny. Maybe you had to see it.

1 comment:

Hi! I'm so glad you stopped by. I'd love to hear from you.