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February 17

Caledonia Jumper: Back completed & How to Block

My goal has been to knit 16 rows of my Caledonia Jumper for the Colette Spring Palette Challenge, and so far I’m on target.  hip hip

I’ve made very slight alterations to the pattern so far; I reduced the height of the jumper by 1″ between the ribbing and the armhole shaping, and I’ve also reduced some of the height after the armhole shaping and before the shoulder shaping.  I may end up adding that bit of length back in for the shoulders, which is why I haven’t cast off at the very top yet.  It’s always so hard to tell when you don’t have pieces seamed together to try on.  So I may wait till the front is nearing completion to cast off the back or make any further mods.

Here’s a picture of my jumper is on it’s blocking board, pre-blocking.

When I started knitting I was very intimidated by the idea of ‘blocking’.  But really all it means is making your garment the right size/shape with water or steam.

So how to block:

You take your knitting schematic and stretch/shrink your knitted piece to match.  I like to use my small blocking board because you can insert pins in there and it has a nice handy grid.

Most knitting instructions come with the little schematic and my 40’s Caledonia pattern was no exception.

It’s really handy when your instructions have this level of detail.  It means that you know what the finished garment size is going to be at any given area on your body so you can make your modifications accordingly.

Why to block:

Sometimes after knitting you notice some inconsistencies in your little knitted stitches.  I definitely had some in mine; this is mainly due to the yarn texture and also how thin the yarn is that I’m using  (4-ply sock yarn: Heritage by Cascade which is 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon).

I’ve circled a few of the knit stitches that don’t want to behave:

If you can see the red circles above, they just look like little bumps, or whatnot.  Blocking your piece will get rid of these for the most part.  Ultimately, blocking makes your finished piece look more professional and not home-made.

My piece is currently still in the resting period on my blocking board.  I’ve steamed it once in the evening, and I’ll do so once again this evening and let it dry again over night.  You can really do this process until you’re satisfied with your piece.  I’m just doing  it twice to ensure that my back piece holds it shape and doesn’t try to roll on me.

During the week I was also able to get my neck tie done.

It doesn’t look like much yet, but it’s about 28″ long and I have to seam it to the finished garment neck area to become a collar tie.

I’ve just cast on the arm-band piece also, instead of casting on the front of the jumper.  I just felt like getting these little pieces done and out of the way and they do go pretty quick.

I’ll post again once I cast on my front piece (and it actually looks like something).  :)

How is everyone else coming along with their Colette Challenge pieces?

  1. Gina / Feb 22 2011

    I am impressed with how well this looks. The red circles, honestly, I would have never seen any spots. I guess I don’t have an eye for that, you would know better what looks right. What talent you have..I am in awe.

  2. louise / Apr 22 2011

    oh thanks for the blocking tips, i have my briar rose back hanging about waiting for blocking and front is nearly ready to be done too, there’s something a bit intimidating about doing it first time :-)

    • Liz / Apr 22 2011

      Yay! As you may know, there are lots of different ways to block your knitting. Some people like to completely submerge their knit in water, roll out the excess water in a towel and then arrange it to some set dimensions. For me, I like to give it a good misting first with a spray bottle to get it quite damp, and then I steam it with the iron. One thing to watch out for is that you don’t want to shrink your knit with the hot iron. So just make sure you don’t touch the garment with the iron unless you know for sure it won’t shrink it.

      I was really nervous about the concept of blocking, but really there’s no one right way to do it. Make sure to comment back or send me an email if you have some specific questions. And your briar rose looks smashing. :) Can’t wait to see it all done.

      • louise / Apr 28 2011

        cheers for the encouragement! i’m almost finished the front now too so i’ll think about blocking before tackling the sleeves ;-) spritzing sounds much safer that submerging though!!!

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