Weekly Fave!

Marmor Cardigan – pattern by Regina Moessmer

I’m always looking for a classic cardigan, and I came across this one by Regina Moessmer on Fringe Association. When it comes to a simple design, it’s all about details and having an even tension; I like the exposed seams and rib borders of this cardigan. When making a garment in garter stitch, you have to remember that it can stretch in length, so the best fiber to use is a firm wool, and not a heavy cotton or bamboo, or the garment will lose its shape and drape too much. I once made the mistake of making a structured cardigan with pleats in bamboo, and it draped so much that I couldn’t wear it. This is a perfect pattern for the simplest of knit patterns – garter stitch.

Weekly Fave!

Griffin - Bristol Ivy

Griffin – Bristol Ivy

A beautiful, gansey inspired classic, shawl collar sweater designed by Bristol Ivy, which I noticed on Fringe Association. I love the textured pattern stitch that continues into the shawl collar. This pattern can be found at Ravelry. Bristol Ivy has her own site, and also designs for Brooklyn Tweed.

Weekly Fave!

Basic Turtleneck Sweaters - Fringe Association

Basic Turtleneck Sweaters – Fringe Association

Either you love or hate wearing a turtleneck sweater. I’ve never been a fan of a turtleneck with a close fitting collar. I prefer a mock or loose style. The above are classic picks by Fringe Association. I particularly like the bottom sweater, a ribbed raglan titled Hudson by Julie Hoover, one of my favorite designers. Click here to see more of her designs for Brooklyn Tweed, including some more fabulous turtlenecks.

Weekly Fave!

Cable Knit Vest by Dries van Noten - Fall 2016

Cable Knit Vest by Dries van Noten – Fall 2016

Dries van Noten is one of my favorite designers. If you like designing and knitting your own garments, this oversized, cable knit vest is the inspiration to begin thinking about your Fall 2016 picks. This design was mentioned on Fringe Association’s post “Best of Fall 2016”.

Weekly Fave!

What a great idea! The perfect wrap/shrug with cuffs no less; easy to slip on when there is a chill in the air. “Flying Squirrel” found on Ravelry and mentioned as a favorite on Fringe Association.

Blocking is Magic!

Blocking a sleeve

Blocking a sleeve

I’ve professed the benefits of blocking in previous posts and I came across a post from Fringe Association “yarn + water = magic” that is so apropos. Yarn really does come to life in water, and will reveal its good or bad properties. By blocking all those swatches prior to beginning your projects helps to determine the appropriateness of the yarn for them. I think it deserves mentioning again, because blocking is really the first step in finishing your projects.

Blocking is the process of wetting or steaming knitted pieces to even stitches and fibers, and flatten the edges. Some pattern instructions inaccurately describe stretching the pieces to the correct size. If you have not obtained an accurate gauge, no amount of stretching will change its size, and may damage the knitting. For the best results and easier seaming, blocking should be done prior to sewing. The best way to see how a fiber reacts to blocking is to experiment with the swatch. I always block the swatch prior to measuring the gauge.

Wool fibers and specialty hair fibers respond best to blocking because of their high resiliency and water absorption. Synthetic yarns are heat sensitive and should not be pressed. Wet blocking doesn’t change the nature of a synthetic yarn because it doesn’t absorb water. Novelty yarns such as lurex (metallic fiber) should not be blocked. Long haired yarns such as mohair and angora, and highly textured stitch patterns become matted or flattened when pressed, so wet blocking is the preferred method. Ribbed borders should not be blocked, as these areas are meant to be elastic. Colorfastness or dye bleeding may be a concern, and is another reason to block the swatch, particularly with high contrast yarns.

I prefer wet blocking; spraying the pinned pieces with water. I’m not a fan of pressing with steam, as it flattens the knitting and may damage the piece. If you must, press with steam and a pressing cloth, and do not touch the fabric surface with the iron. Pressing works best on stockinette stitch fabric and inside seams.

I block each piece as it is finished by pinning the dry piece right side up to the blocking board or a flat, padded surface with T-pins. For garment pieces, I usually begin by pinning the bust/chest measurement working up to the shoulders, then to the bottom edge. Use the schematic measurements as a guide for pinning. Space the pins no more than one inch apart, and smooth the piece. Your edges should be even, not scalloped. Do not pin ribbed areas, unless the whole piece is ribbed. Pin according to the shape of the piece, allowing for curves. If your gauge is accurate, you should not have to stretch the piece very much. When finished pinning, spray the piece with water, and let dry completely. After the pins are removed, the piece will lie flat and have an even surface. With items like hats, scarves, mitts, and socks, I finish the piece, hand wash, and lay flat to dry without pinning out.

Blocking really is magic, and will make all the difference in the world to the quality of your projects.

Do You Have A Favorite Hand Knit Sweater?

My Favorite Sweater

My Favorite Sweater

One that you want to make again and again. My favorite is a textured, navy wool pullover in a simple knit and purl combination, from Vogue Knitting Magazine Fall 2002. I used a smooth worsted weight wool, and I know the stitch pattern would stand out better in a brighter or lighter color. But I still love the dark navy color and pulling it out of my drawer year after year to wear with a skirt and boots.

Vogue Knitting Fall 2002, Design #11

Vogue Knitting Fall 2002, Design #11

The Fringe Association blog paid a nod to “Big Ol’ Cozy Pullovers”; comfy versions too wearable to hide in a drawer. Maybe you need a new favorite or you already have one in your drawer. Sometimes we just need the comfort from something special knit by our hands.