Friday, 24 January 2014

Blocking at last on the epic tunic

Blocking finally in progress!
Am finally finally onto the blocking stage of my very lovely Cabled Tunic, the three inches of rib at the bottom in p2 k3 nearly killed me but I just kept telling myself it would be worth it, ditto with taking out and redoing the first sleeve after making a mess of it.  It's been a joy to knit, watching the cables emerge twist from side to side, cross and spiral round each other, learning how to do the yarn overs properly and to have holes not too big or too small, and not getting bored as I tend to with plain knit.  The purple Wensleydale aran (#54 aubgergine) I bought last summer at baa ram ewe in Harrogate has been a pleasure to knit with though I would be brave and use a brighter colour next time.

For the most part the tunic fits beautifully but the sleeves turn under slightly so I decided to do something I've never done before and block it.  My husband did look very blankly at me, he's from the knit and wear it school of knitting!

I looked online and found lots of excellent sources which took me through blocking, especially Interweave's own blog.  I put the tunic through a wool wash in my machine, as it will have to put up with this kind of punishment if it is going to survive and rolled it in a towel.  Then I pulled it out gently lengthways and widthways until the waist, bottom edge and length were the same as the sizes given at the beginning of the pattern.  As instructed I didn't pin the ribbing, this damages it apparently.  I then carefully pinned the sleeves to be straight across the top edge stretching them so hopefully they will dry without the slight curl, watch this space...  

Blocking pins were a bit difficult to source, I biked about 12 miles into our local city to my nearest decent knitting shop but they didn't have any so had to buy online, from one of my very favourite stores Barnyarns via Amazon.  I was a bit worried there weren't many in the tin but it's been enough to hold the tunic in shape.  Yesterday I went on a hunt for tights / leggings to wear with it, I dislike clothes shopping at the best of times but this was pure frustration, I eventually found some lovely patterned ones and am all set, now I just have to wait for it to dry!

After the slow work on this big project the work on a cardigan for my 10 year old has gone alarmingly fast. The Wensleydale, although an aran weight wool, was quite fine and I'm now working on WYS (West Yorkshire Spinners) short sleeved cardigan from their Works of Aran patternbook in their Aire Valley Fusions Autumn Mix aran, it's the one on the front of the book.  It just has a single twist pattern on the front so is quick to knit up and the wool is thick, soft and beautifully variegated, just stunning shades.  It's done the old way of front left, right, back and sleeves knitted separately and they have curled so I'll need to block them before joining them together.  Am just loving doing something that is coming together so quick, and having a fraction of the previous 200 odd stitches on my needle.  Knitting seamlessly in the round does have it's advantages, I don't think I could have faced knitting the front after knitting the back of my tunic, but it is heavy by the end!  I really prefer to knit using British wool if I can to support the industry, after these two Yorkshire excursions I'm hoping to go to New Lanark this summer and buy some of their wool.