Don’t Knock It Till You Block It!

27 Mar

Every time I make a sweater or wearable garment (which isn’t really all that often, to be honest) and try it on before completely finishing it, I feel my face fall when I look in the mirror. I say, “Aww, man. This sucks. I might actually hate this!” I turn this way and that, check out my butt, look at my waist, see my butt again, look at my belly… then I sigh and say, “Maybe blocking will help.”

After I did this for the first time in front of my husband, and the blocked sweater looked way more awesome (awesomer!) than pre-blocking, he smiled and said it was great. I smiled back with, “Don’t knock it till you block it!” Now he says “What is it you say about blocking? Don’t knock it till you block it!”

Well, this process was no different with Jane (ravelry page).

I think this sweater is fantastic to look at and I wanted one. I was not going to wear the same outfit with it, however. (I remember Wendy Bernard writing about her book [see her blog at knitandtonic] where she mentions the scantily clad, come-hither women). Though my husband thought the swim tank would look great with the sweater, I noted the impracticality of wool with a tank-ini. He confessed it was problematic.

This is one of the patterns that made me buy the book last Christmas with my handy-dandy Borders gift card (intelligently gifted by my father). I got these and am excited to knit a lot from all three:

(Sorry it’s so dark).

After much searching on Ravelry, I found another who used the only yarn I had in my stash to knit it: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes. And it looked good, so I went ahead.

I do not have a huge problem with this yarn. It’s crazy cheap, has some fun colors, and it’s crazy cheap. But boy. I do wish I could knit with something a bit more luxurious. I do have to take more care with yarn purchases. Budgeting does not allow for this, however, so I made did with what I had (made did – that’s fun to say). And I’m okay with it. After washing, Wool of the Andes is soft enough and it drapes softly and it works and boy, oh, boy – it’s warm. (I’m tempted to throw another “and” on that run-on sentence, but that would be silly).

I had only two problems with this pattern: 1) the lack of mention regarding markers. Directions say to add two markers to the mix where the sides are, under the armpits. I see this. But later in the pattern, when it says “knit to next marker,” I realized it didn’t really mean the next marker. It meant the first and last marker. Somewhere between “place markers” and “knit to next marker,” I should have removed the two markers that mark the fronts from the back. I went with it, but was a bit annoyed because I kept the markers in just in case I needed them for something later. And I read through the pattern, and saw no more mention of the markers, so I finally bit the bullet and removed the annoying things after a while anyway. I know. This really is just lack of confidence in my own knitting, but still. And 2) the directions for a left-twist could have been more descriptive.

As written, the left-twist directions say “skip first st and knit into back of second st, then knit into front of first st, slipping both sts from needle together.” When I did that, there was no left-twist. Behold.

Nice right twist. Bad left twist. I finally googled the left twist and searched on Ravelry for answers. I found many people had issue with these directions. In fact, some so much they changed the lace pattern completely because they couldn’t figure it out. I think a slight change would have made all the difference. I would have found it more explanatory had it said, “skip first st and knit into back of second st from the back, then knit into front of first st from the front, slipping both sts from the needle together.”Thank you, search engines.

I made the cuff wider on the bottom and I knit a belt for it. I will modify the belt by sewing ribbon to the other side so that it doesn’t stretch as much as it does now.

Then I tried it on.

The slouchy pose and bad lighting don’t help, but still – ugh!

So I did my mirror dance, my whine-to-husband dance, and then I blocked it. One thing about Wool of the Andes while blocking is WET DOG.

I blocked per the measurements in the book as best I could and behold!

Beautiful, lovely, flattering Jane. I have received compliments on this sweater that include “Wow! You’re knitting has gotten so great!” – I think this is the pattern talking. I think it’s just the best thing I’ve ever knit. My husband certainly thinks so. The first week it was done, I wore it every day. Ahh, blocking. A genius move!


Pattern: Jane, by Wendy Bernard, Custom Knits

Size: 36 1/2

Needles: Size 7 and 8 circulars

Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Iris Heather

Mods: I made the cuff about 2.5 inches long. This was an accident, but now I like it. When I made it 1″, I realized I ended the sleeve too early. Rather than frog, I kept going with seed stitch. I also knit my “ribbon” in seed stitch. I randomly long-tailed and hoped it was long enough (it was!). After doing the sleeve caps, I switched to a size 8 needle for the rest of the sleeve in the round. My in-the-round gauge is tighter than my stockinette (short-row) gauge and it had to be done or else the sleeve cap would have always been noticeable. I also did the collar with a size 8, simply because I was too lazy to switch.

Verdict: Love love love! I can’t wait to try another pattern of hers. This book is fantastic and I’m so glad I got it.

My Ravelry  project link.

What’s your favorite yarn to knit sweaters with? How much is it? Where do you get it? Share!


2 Responses to “Don’t Knock It Till You Block It!”

  1. ameoba in the sea March 27, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Blocking works wonders. Sweater looks fab.

    • crobinator March 27, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

      I’d live to see more before and after pics. I think it’s like magic. 🙂

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