Before and After Blocking

comments: 106

GraySweater1

Oh, hello! Here we are. Right where you left us. The entire house is completely rearranged and half of it is repainted. You would not know it, looking at the pets. Or maybe you would, since rearrangement does not suit the dog, for one, and now that we are on the other side of chaos (just working on the room details now — yay! — will show you soon), she is exhausted and has barely moved in a day and a half. Moving every piece of furniture to a new location and painting = dog with perpetual worried expression/exhaustion from worrying. Poor little honey. Yesterday I sat for about a half an hour with her, belly up and flopped across my lap. She snuggled in so completely I had to keep checking to make sure she was breathing (head thrown back, paws dangling). But I do believe that most of the chaotic chaos is behind us and we can start settling in. So sorry to be gone for so long but I have not had a minute of quiet, and I can't find anything now (cord that connects camera to computer). But again, now it's just fussing with the details — and I am so, so, so much happier with the new arrangement!

How I had time to finish this sweater, started two weeks ago, I really don't know. All I can say is that it went super fast, was the most beautiful little cardigan pattern I have seen in a long time, and was pure pleasure to knit. The pattern I used for this is called Style #6043-87 by Bernat, and is from a 1960 (Ravelry says this pattern is from 1970 but my copy definitely has a copyright of 1960 . . . ) pattern book published by Bernat. I saw Crackerjack Knits's beautiful version on Ravelry a few weeks ago and found the pattern on Etsy. I will give you all of the details about my version once I put the buttons on, but today I just had this urge to show you the sweater before blocking.

GraySweater2

MINIATURE. Of course, this is a ribbed sweater, so it is going to shrink up a bit because of the ribbing ('cause that's what ribbing does). But still I thought it would be fun to look at it before and after (and, I guess, during) blocking, just to demystify the process for anyone out there who is not sure how to wet block. For what it's worth, this is how I do it, anyway.

GraySweater3

First, you put a blocking board on top of your dog because she is too tired to move. No, first you get your sweater nice and wet in your new shower (because when they put the sink back in they did something to the stopper because now water is leaking everywhere so you shouldn't use it until it is fixed — sigh). Anyway, ramble ramble: Get it wet. Don't worry that you are going to felt it, or ruin it, or whatever — cold water and a run from the bathroom to the blocking board is not going to felt your wool. I have talked about how to block at length in this post (and details about where to get a blocking board are there, too). Having a blocking board is just super awesome. It folds up and gets stuffed in the closet when I'm not using it. It has a printed grid that helps me keep everything straight. ou can pin right into it. It has a nubby surface which holds things while you pin. Once the little sweater is wet, I toss it on the board and open it up and find the center back. I center that on a grid line. Then I just basically find the side seams (I did this seamless, so there were no side seams, but I counted ribs to figure out where they should be) and start generally pinning everything into place. You can get a feel for how big the sweater wants to be. I try to stretch it comfortably — not toomuch, not too little. The water and the stretching help the yarn relax; I spray more water on it if it's starting to dry out while I'm working. As I pin, I try to keep everything symmetrical, of course, and shape it in a pleasing way. With a circular yoke, the bottom of the sweater wants to be a bit A-lined, so you work with that.

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Stop to kiss snuggly pets as necessary. Man, they are so darn sweet. Pinning this thing literally took me close to an hour. I am slow. That was the slowest I've moved in five days. You have to have time to do this, and go slow, and re-pin when necessary. It's not a rush-rush procedure, but I figure I just spent who-knows-how-many hours knitting the thing, I don't want to give it short shrift on the blocking (because the blocking is where the magic happens). You want to take your time with this.

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Use a lot of stainless-steel pins. Any other kind will rust, and you don't want that. Pin your center front opening very straight — the grid really helps with this — and make sure that each side is even in length, and that the sleeves are the same length, and that the neck opening is centered, and that the shoulders have the same pitch. Stuff like that. You do one final bit of fussing just to make sure, then just let it dry for a day or two, depending on your climate. I absolutely can't wait for this one to dry. This is the first baby sweater that I have found myself wanting an adult version for. I think I would wear this every single day. I haven't decided what kind of buttons to put on it yet.

What should I call this one? Any ideas? #6043-87 (what a romantic name!) just is not doing it for me. But my brain is stuffed with all of the dust bunnies that came out from behind the entertainment center when it was moved, and I can't think.

106 comments

Just beautiful! "Heather".

Call it "Alicia". I want every sweater you make in an adult size!!!

It's a beautiful sweater. The color reminds me of the sea and a stormy sky--but in a good way, like when you're snuggly in your house with a cup of cocoa as the thunder rumbles, just getting ready to rain. Sorry...ranting. :)
What about little pearl buttons? I think that would look very pretty.

No idea what to call. I'm with you on an adult version...btw, the link says the pattern is 1970 not 1960. Still very cute in any event.

Ooh, so sweet! I haven't taken up knitting (yet!) but if I do, it'll be your fault. Can't wait to see your re-arranged house.

Alicia,,,,gorgeous little jumper, very informative info on blocking, sweet darn pets and all.....BUT PLEASE SHOW US THE GRANNY BLANKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You never did show it all finished, and frankly these pictures today are plain mean and teasing for a hooky addict like me. Now REVEAL ALL PLEASE (pretty please) mwah xxxxxxxxxxx

What about "Changing Days Cardigan"? It fits the remodeling during which you made it, the time of year during which you made it, and the preparation and anticipation time for/before baby. It's beautiful!

To me it looks like an "Annabelle Lee". It's exquisite.

Susie Sears Taylor says: November 17, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Call it "Sweet Snuggle Bunny".

If it was a little bit bigger (okay, A LOT BIGGER), I would like if you called it... Jodi's sweater. :)

I don't think I ever comment but I decided that this is my favorite blog so that I really should. I just ordered this pattern after seeing your sweater. I have a baby boy and am pregnant with number two. I don't know if it is a boy or girl yet but I had to have this pattern. And I have now added a blocking board to my Christmas list. I haven't knitted anything that needed blocking but I will. I love your blog and your books. I can't wait for more pictures of your newly arranged and painted home.

your pets are so cute together. Sweater is lovely. x

The sweater looks like "Winter rain" - maybe that is just on my mind lately cause of the weather here.

I have to say I agree with Lucy@attic24 - that granny squares blanket you made inspired me to make one (and learn how to crochet) and I would love to know how many squares big it is :)

I'm not a knitter so this was all new to me and so interesting. Your pets are so gorgeous snuggling together.

Very cute. I think cables are my absolute favorite thing to knit!

I can't comment on the knitting, but I always love pets snuggled up on quilts. :) So sweet, indeed.

Again, a request for this sweater in size 300-some-odd months, please.
:)

And the sweater feels very ice skate-y to me...maybe "The Skating Pond", "Figure 8" or "Ice Blanket" cardigan?

can we see a dry picture when it's done?

Great tutorial. I hear all of this stuff about blocking but I have never seen it in action. Thanks!
Peace, Angela

PS Glad to hear things are almost back to normal.

It's a lovely sweater - reminds me of Anne of Green Gables!

What a lovely cardigan! Can't wait to see it in a grown up version.
I vote in favour of Allison's proposition, i.e. "Changing Days Cardigan".

What a beautiful sweater! This just may be the inspiration to get over my fear of cables. The color and style look elvish to me. How about Arwen?

How about "Bluebell Sweater", or have you already used that one!
Sweetest animals! :)
Vivienne x

THAT is the cutest sweater ever. Ever!

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About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.