Blocking be good (ish)

I hope you have had a lovely week, and are enjoying your weekend!

The last post I wrote was about the mods I made to the cardigan I was about to finish.

I thought I would show you the finished object today, which gives a stark illustration of how yarn can be affected by washing/blocking.

The image on the left is the finished cardigan before it was blocked. The middle and right side images are of the cardigan after it was blocked. Can you see how much it has grown with blocking? I did not stretch it out – this is just the size it became after the yarn was wet. (Click on the images if you’d like to see a larger-sized version).

I anticipated that the yarn would grow more than a non-superwash yarn, as experience from handling yarn over the years told me the feel of the superwash said “I will grow when you block me.” Still, I was hoping it wouldn’t grow quite so much – the cardigan isn’t as cute as I wanted it to be, but I think the once the weather gets warmer, it will look nice with a skirt and t-shirt or over a dress. Apart from not using this yarn, I don’t think there was much else I could have done to prevent it getting bigger except to knit it very small. The risk then would have been just how small to knit it?  Swatches do not always tell the truth… All in all, it is a very lovely yarn, and I am still pleased I chose to use it.

Thank you very much for all your lovely comments in that post about whether I should fix the dye before wearing the cardigan. In the end, I decided to see how much dye was going to get released from washing, and it wasn’t much at all. I always wash red clothing separately to other colours because any red does have the propensity to bleed, so I will do the same with this cardigan, and there should be no issues in future!

The exact quality of blocking a garment and being able to open up a pattern and stretch out a fabric will be most welcome in the next project I am about to finish:img_2994-800x449

This is one of the very talented Mary-Anne Mace’s beautiful shawl designs, Lacebark. It seems I must always have a Lace Eater Design on my needles! Knitting her designs is like reading a good book – compulsive, and hard to put down! img_2995-800x449

I used an Ozifarmer’s Market gradient for this shawl (Ozimerino in Dusk), and I love it. The only thing was that I knew I would run out of yarn before I ran out of pattern, but decided that this was the yarn for the pattern!  I wanted the wider end to be darker, and knew that I might have issues finding a yarn to match the colour. I hoping that the yarn I found in my stash will work.  It seems to be working out so far, but I’ll know properly once I finish it and view the final blocked result.

Most of Lacebark is an easy knit, but the final few charts do have a few mind-stretching exercises with lace on both the right and wrong sides. Sometimes, my work-weary brain found this a little hard to cope with, and when that happened, I retreated to the comfort of plain vanilla socks.


This is one of Doespins’ pretty variegated yarns that I got from her a while ago. It’s a high twist Blue Faced Leicester yarn in the Wild Rice colourway.

Happy knitting!  I hope to be back soon to show you the finished Lacebark, which I am much looking forward to wearing!




15 thoughts on “Blocking be good (ish)

  1. Love the cardigan and personally prefer the length. Lovely shawl too, You amaze me by how much you produce and always so beautiful. Thanks for sharing,

  2. That stretchy feature of superwash yarn is especially frustrating. I usually lay the garment flat and still struggle to push it back into a smaller shape. As it dries I also keep pushing it back together as the SW stretch effect seems to dissipate as it dries. I have heard of people blocking simply by putting a damp towel on the garment, and I wonder if it would be better to lay the dry garment flat and then dampen it with a spray bottle – surely then it wouldn’t stretch out. Unfortunately this wouldn’t work to actually clean the garment when it’s grubby. It’s certainly a problem.
    Also, thanks 😉 I do like your gradient Lacebark!

  3. I adore the magic of blocking lace! Your shawl is looking beautiful.
    I like your cardigan too, I definitely think it’s cute despite growing quite a bit.

  4. Agree that it was cuter before the blocking. I had a similar experience myself recently. The next sweater I just did the sleeves first and when saw how much they stretched when wet, scrunched them back into place to dry and never wet the body. All went together fine. It can go to the dry cleaner. I decided to avoid superwash yarns. What do you think about them? Thanks for sharing what is most likely a problematic issue for many.

  5. I wonder if the cardigan could look any cuter on you… looks lovely !
    The shawl already looks good too, makes me very curious how it looks once finished and blocked ! ( and made me want to knit my own one, too, of course…. )
    When my cardigan ( knit out of sock wool, superwash with nylon ) grew too much after soaking, I pressed most of the water out between towels and then it got a spin in my washing machine, just centrifuge program. Then it got back to the size it had before soaking

  6. I love your cardigan. It’s such a pretty colour and I think the longer length works. I also think the shawl is stunning – I’m looking forward to seeing it finished. I just finished a shawl recently and it was the most difficult project I have completed to date. It took me months (it was Ysolda Teague’s Banyan from her 2016 club) and I have to admit to being so disappointed at the size of it once I’d finished. But, a good blocking worked wonders. It didn’t take much persuading to get it to a decent size and the lace really opened up. Blocking always amazes me!

  7. The cardigan looks like it fits you well after its blocking. It looks like you can layer a bit under it. How great to have another piece in your closet.

  8. I really love your cardigan at it’s new length – it looks good on you. This growing-from-blocking could have been useful when I made my last cardigan, which turned out a little too short in the body and sleeves.

  9. I think your sweater turned out very nicely and it looks terrific on you. All your efforts paid off.

  10. I’m liking the length very much! I know it’s not what you were aiming for but, it looks great and will look wonderful with fitted skirts and dresses! Beautiful colour too!
    And the shawl is spectacular with the perfect vanilla accompaniment.
    Such beautiful, considered work
    Well Done

  11. I think the length of the cardi looks quite flattering in your photo, though it might be a bit different than you envisioned. I remain envious of all the knitting you finish. I wish my hands were as quick as yours.

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