Saturday, March 21, 2009

Blocking a Baby Sweater - a few things to avoid

My latest project, and the most timeliest, is a knitted baby layette for my friend Sarah. The child has arrived, so time is of the essence. I've put a lot of work into it, and need to get it in the mail before Liam outgrows it! I just blocked it the other day and thought I would share a couple of mistakes I made in the blocking process, and suggest ways you might avoid making these same mistakes! Here is the set all blocked:

It includes pants, a cardi and a little vest. All patterns are from a Debbie Bliss book - Essential Baby. The yarn is a Lanett Superwash. Anywho, I blocked the sleeves without measuring each side of the underarm seams to make sure they were the same length. Here is a little sketch to show you what I mean by underarm seam and a picture of what happens if both seams aren't the same length when blocked:

When I folded the sleeve so that the two underarm seams met, the cuff didn't line up. So...the lesson here is to measure everything carefully when you block. This isn't new information - all the knitting books say to do this, but I got lazy and had to reblock the whole sleeve!

My other mistake was also a function of not measuring to make sure the back of the cardigan and the front of the cardigan were the same length from collar to waist. I'm lazy, I admit it! Finishing is the "not fun part" of knitting, and most knitters just want to get it over with as soon as possible. Here's what happened...

This photo shows how the front of the neck, or collar, didn't line up with the back of the neck. Excessively fussy for me to worry about it? Perhaps, but after all the time invested in knitting it I want the finished product to be beautiful!

...and here is how I fixed it:

T-pins are our friends...

While I was pinning the front of the collar to the back of the collar and then reblocking the whole thing (I use a Sunbeam Steam Valet for most of my blocking) it occured to me that with a project as thin as this it would make sense to block identical pieces, such as the two sleeves or the two cardi fronts, together. It saves a step - you pin them one on top of the other and they will come out the same size everytime. Here's an example:

First one cardi front...

...followed by the other one!

I thought this was a bit of a revelation - if it's old news, why didn't you tell me about it :)?

Here is my reward for getting this set blocked. This is from Jamie Oliver's latest cookbook, Jamie at Home. Yum!