Posts Tagged ‘blocking’

Tuesday’s Knitting and Crochet Tip – Using a Salad Spinner

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
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Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.

Use a salad spinner to get out excess water from your knitting or crochet project before blocking.

After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.

I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).

What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.

 

Tuesday’s Tip – Blocking over a Plate

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
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This week, Greta shows us exactly what it means when a pattern says, “Block over a plate.” Now you’ll be able to block your berets and slouchy hats perfectly!

Have you ever knitted a slouchy hat pattern and reached the finishing instructions only to find this strange little tidbit, “Block over a plate”? Now, I absolutely love knitting slouchy hats and berets, but when I saw this for the first time I was a little confused. After trying this blocking technique many times, I finally got it down and thought I would share what I’ve learned.

Materials:
A dinner plate (about 10” in diameter)
A bowl or pitcher, something that balances nicely
About 1 yard smooth scrap yarn
A tapestry needle

Step 1: Using some smooth scrap yarn (about 1 yard) and a tapestry needle, thread the scrap yarn loosely around the brim of your hat getting as close to the edge as you can manage. Technically this step is optional, but I like it because it gives the brim a more finished look and helps open up any lace work in your hat.

Step 2: Block as usual. I wet blocked my hat to soften the fibers and really let those stitches bloom.

Step 3: Place the hat around and over the dinner plate. I arrange it so the crown of the hat is over the bottom center of the plate.

Step 4: Gently and evenly tighten the scrap yarn and tie it in a slip knot. Make sure everything is arranged nice and evenly on the plate.

Step 5: Place the plate brim-side down on an upturned bowl. This keeps your project from getting dirty and helps it dry faster.

Once the hat is dry you are good to go! Wear that slouchy hat with a smile knowing both you and it look awesome!

(Pattern is Crooked Paths by Melissa LaBarre; Yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage in Flashdance)

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CAL Week 4: Sugar Sparkles Shawlette

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
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All our crochet work is done! Now we move on to the blocking and see the magic it can have on a finished piece.

You may want to weave in your ends before blocking but don’t trim them yet, let them settle into the new shape with the blocked shawl and trim them when everything is dry.

Here you can see that I’ve pinned the top edge, using blocking wires to keep it nice and straight. Then I pinned the bottom section of the shawlette with another wire and I have a third wire in the center so I can keep everything even.

Once the center section was pinned I was able to pin out the angled increase and decrease sides with a pin in each bobble, here you can see that in detail.

We have a great video with Dena showing you the blocking process. While she is blocking a knit shawl the principles and process are the same.

Once the shawlette is dry you can unpin, trim any ends that may have popped out during the blocking process, and wear!

Thanks for crocheting along with us! What was your favorite part of this project?

Get your copy of the pattern here and join in the CAL at any time! Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Tuesday’s Knitting & Crochet Tip – How to Block Lace with Blocking Wires

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
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If you’ve ever knit or crocheted lace before, your finished project can look like a crumpled mess when it’s done. It doesn’t really come to life until you’ve blocked it. Blocking is where the magic happens.

You can see in the photo to the right that my Shetland Trader Aestlight Shawl before blocking is oddly shaped. The points are curled, and the Bird’s Eye lace pattern doesn’t pop like it should.

After blocking, the top of the shawl is flat, the points are crisp, and the Bird’s Eye lace really opens up. The shawl fabric also becomes much more drapey and the yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) is even softer after blocking.

If you’ve ever pinned out a lace shawl or scarf to block, you may have found it frustrating pinning, adjusting, repinning to get your project to be the size and shape you want. You can use blocking wires to speed up this process. Blocking wires are thin, rigid wires that don’t rust. Instead of pinning the sides of a project with pins, you can run these wires through the edge stitches.

After attaching blocking wires to the sides of your project, you can pull out each side and place pins in just a few spots along the wire. Then if you want to adjust how far out to block a side, removing and replacing just a few pins is so much quicker than 20+ pins.

We’ve put together a quick video to guide you through the steps of how to use blocking wires.

I loved knitting the Aestlight Shawl, my first attempt at a lace shawl. Share your favorite knitted or crocheted lace shawl pattern in the comments. I’d love to add some more lace projects to my Ravelry queue.

Happy Knitting & Crocheting!

- Dena