Friday, August 26, 2016

Of blocking and ripping

Greetings from the beautiful fall weather! And thank you for your suggestions on the yarn. I hear you, you pointed out that wasting the yarn would be a shame, it would, I know, so here are my thoughts. But at first a few words about blocking.
I often block garments when the process is on the way. Usually I take the needles out, put the stitches on a piece of heavy cotton waste yarn, knot it in order not to lose any stitches or cause further trouble. Then I completely wet the garment, stretch, pin it out to its measurements to make sure it will be the size I want. There are times when I am in doubt of the stitch outcome, like in fair-isle, I might have worries of the unevenness of the fabric; then I might block it to be sure that the surface is going to smooth out and the fabric is nice and neat.
At the moment I am making this entrelac cowl. Since this is my very first crochet entrelac piece, I had lots of worries of the edges of the piece. While blocking something where size does not matter, might seem a bit silly, this time I blocked the piece in half-way point to make sure that there would not be too bad curling (I am so new to Tunisian crochet that I am always wondering if my hook size is correct and if the fabric is too tense and will curl up tightly), except more than curling I was worried of the edges being even. I am constantly battling with the edges, I think I am going to get it right eventually although not while doing this little piece! I pinned the edges very carefully and they don’t look too bad. Anyway, while I block, it is always a timeout, moment to consider, possibly change plans if the fabric or the garment does not seem right. I want to give myself time to revise my plans, make a start on processing the measures needed to make the piece just right.

This cowl… I know the edges are not to my liking, so I am contemplating on different edge treatments… crab stitches? I-cord? Edging in another color? Maybe there is something that does not come from the top of my head, however, eventually pops out, if I let myself ponder it for a bit. While I am slowly putting the pins to the right places, I look at the fabric from different angles wishing it will talk to me. Not always, sometimes the stubborn piece just lies there flat, silent and refuses to utter a word of wisdom.
Like is the case of the SilkeTweed cardigan. It is lying on the ironing board keeping its silence. I know the stitches are not happy; once again it is going to be ripped out. You were right; the yarn is such a lovely color, it should not be wasted, for that reason I am not quite ready to give up yet. Yesterday I made a desperate dash into totally different direction. I cannot knit anything with this right now. I have cast on three times, none of them have worked, therefore this yarn is not going to be knitted. I tried to crochet with it; at the most I made probably 20 stitches, knew immediately that this would be another battle not worth doing.
This little swatch is done in Tunisian crochet – and there are elements I like. It would be a lovely shawl, however this technique works only in the round (there is one color for the pick-up row, then another for the return row) thus I would need to steek. A cowl is an option. A cowl, a hat to match maybe… Even though every time I have pulled out the project, some of the yarn has evaporated, there is still plenty, most likely a sweater’s quantity. (Isn’t it odd that no matter how carefully you rip out the project, you always end up having little bit less yarn, even though you think that you did rip everything…?) That swatch looks very much like a sleeve; I cannot help myself, it does look as if it were a part of a sweater. Should I once again set myself on another sweater odyssey… somehow I feel that this yarn is doomed not to become a sweater. Of course I could make a cushion cover… it would eat most of the yarn, if I would make a big one…
I am very much in doubt yet. The size and feel of the original piece was very off, this in the other hand, this little sleeve swatch with the wool yarn in between feels a lot better. I would get similar effect using alternating garter stitch stripes with stockinette, but I did say that I cannot deal with knitting with this for the fourth time. I have never done a sweater (much of anything really) with Tunisian crochet; maybe it would be just the challenge I would need to have a fresh start with this yarn. I tried two different hook sizes with the swatch yet I am not sure which would be the right choice. I plan to make another swatch; try to be more careful with the silk/wool yarn to see if it will take care of the unevenness of the garter stitch looking stripes; in addition I need to think about the color change jog. I am making a visible seam, just not sure what kind of a seam, where to put it, if I take onto a sweater path.
While this is mainly where my thoughts have been roaming, my hands have been busy with the cowl. Although my happy, easy part is soon over, very soon it is time to start making decisions for the edges and the closure. I expect to arrive into a painless conclusion, something that smoothly comes together… Day before yesterday I was cleaning the shoreline. It attracts willows, willows provide a lovely haven to mosquitoes, and thus the shoreline needs to be clean.
We have some junipers growing there as well and once in a while you come across a dead branch. Every time I have cut away such a branch I sniff it, the smell is very distinct, cannot help wondering what a waste to throw away all the branches… Over the years I have collected the best ones and have had plans to make them into wooden beads and buttons
(like in these necklaces, I made these blue wooden beads)… so this cowl, should it have buttons made of juniper? Did I say that I was anticipating a smooth landing? And yet I am taking all these detours?

I hope you have a nice weekend,
Wool with you,
PS. I have never made wooden buttons, just these beads, so to have a few good ones, I most likely will need to make three times the amount I will end up using. Maybe when I block the cowl, it will tell me to forget about the buttons and will give me a simple, better solution...


  1. Gosh the textures in those photos is just great. I really like the squares in the different hues.

  2. sandra03:06

    Your tunisian crochet is gorgeous. I really should learn some more techniques, all I do is go back & forth. lol

  3. Your cowl is simply beautiful. This is the first time I have ever liked the look of entrelac. Maybe it's the texture of the Tunisian crochet that makes it so lovely. And of course the colors of the yarn.

  4. What gorgeous colors and textures. Your lake pictures are beautiful. We are still hot in eastern PA and I am longing for Fall.

  5. Anonymous21:48

    I am so in agreement with Pam's comment about your Tunisian crochet cowl in entrelac for I, too, have not been at all attracted to entrelac--ever. So, your piece is inspiration. As are your words. And your processes. Much thinking and introspective analysis. I love it that you fret over your work. Your fretting is indicative of your artistic nature and you take it all parts of your work in to consideration--the fabric, the feel, the heft and weft, the behavior, the color and, it seems, when your project speaks the outcome is pure to behold. Thanks for such a wonderful blog that shares your life, your environment and your nature.

  6. Although I barely understand anything about either knitting or craft but I simply love your writing Lene. Keep sharing please, it's an immense joy.

  7. Although I barely understand anything about either knitting or craft but I simply love your writing Lene. Keep sharing please, it's an immense joy.