Blocking your knit items. And cat hair. And stuff. *Updated

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I’ve been up early this morning to block my other completed boot cuff and to drink coffee in peace, but mostly to drink coffee in peace.

Blocking: It’s one of those knitting things that I resisted doing for as long as I could, until one day I realized I should grow up and be a big girl and just…block already! Kind of like knitting a gauge swatch, but that’s for another day.

For those who don’t know, blocking is one of the final things you do to a knit item that just makes it look more polished and even. For instance, if you’ve knit a bunch of squares to join together into an afghan, you’d want to block the squares so they’re even, symmetrical and I don’t know…square. (Me tired this morning. Words hard.)

So, there are many different methods of blocking, and everyone does their own little thing. I pin the item to shape on my ironing board, spritz it with water, and hold a steam iron over it and let it dry completely.

The type of yarn used is important to consider, too. For this project, and for most of my projects, I used acrylic yarn. And I just sent several knitters into paroxysms. Well, sorry. I think they make really good acrylic yarn these days. A lot of my stuff is for the babies, so I shy away from wool, since wool does a really funny thing when washed, did you know? Also, it’s scratchy, and many people are allergic to it. Also, I don’t want to devote our grocery bill to yarn, so acrylic it is.

One time, I was tantalized by this beautiful aqua/teal alpaca yarn from Hobby Lobby. And there was a sale, so…justified.

I spent a good hour working with this yarn on a really cool scarf, and listen–I abandoned the project halfway through because I couldn’t stand the alpaca hair that was just everywhere. It was everywhere. It was like we suddenly adopted a dozen Persian cats and they all slept in our bed and stuff. So. Acrylic. No errant fur to contend with. (Although there is a movement of people who spin cat hair into yarn and knit sweaters out of it. I’m even sure that some do this with fur from their deceased pets. I don’t know what to think of these people.)

What was I talking about? Oh, right! Blocking. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words (in my case, more like 10,000 words) so here is my blocked boot cuff on the left and the unblocked cuff on the right.

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left: blocked and polished right: looks like something my cat knit out of its own fur.

Seems like the left one will actually be wide enough to stay halfway in the boot. Which is probably important. Anyway, I should be able to join them and try them out later today. Such excitement you’ve never encountered, am I right?

Tomorrow we have family pictures. We haven’t had family pictures taken since two whole kids ago (whole kids, as opposed to half ones.) And THAT was for the church directory, which doesn’t really count. As I recall, Eliza was scornful of the photographer (two year old scorn is probably the most insulting form of scorn, too, isn’t it?) and it shows up in the picture, and for some reason I dressed Linus in corduroy. All that was wanting for his attire was a bow tie. David was all hunched over and I have too big of hair. So, I really have high hopes for tomorrow, and I’ve managed to keep the kids from wounding each other above the neck for the last two weeks.

I won’t go into how much thought has gone into what we’re all wearing. It’s quite sad, really. However, I will tell you that Eliza will be sporting a handknit item! (oooh!! ahhhh!) These little mustard colored legwarmers. With the vintage metal buttons I found in Grandma Shirley’s button jar. It’s the little things.

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an 80’s holdover that I LURVE.

I’ll report on the outcome of these pictures later. I’m just sure you’ll be in suspense until then, need I say “ha ha?”

Knitters: What’s your preferred method of blocking?

UPDATE:

I wanted to make sure to say that blocking acrylic that one is going to wear (vs. an afghan or something) is tricky. The boot cuffs I blocked fit me perfectly. However, blocking them made them lose about 50% of their stretch, SO–the silver lining is that I have a pair now and I can improve on my pattern for cousin Olivia’s.

Hey, we’re learning together.

Picture day! Baby was up in the night with a fever, so things are running to plan so far.

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