it’s growing

the skies are intent on sending rain today—the tension is in the air, and the light is extremely flat out there, but it hasn’t started yet. the bleeding hearts are poised to receive a shower.

each hosta point has a droplet of water, but i’m not sure if it’s condensation or if it comes from the plant itself. i sorta wanted to taste it but then i forgot.

and seemingly overnight, the astilbe have poked out from underground, looking as if they’ll be lush and full this year.

inside, we had our spinning class this morning. i began working with this gray alpaca from island alpaca company of martha’s vineyard last week

this is a gorgeously-prepared superfine alpaca top. it would be perfect for laceweight yarn if i was in the mood to spin that, but having just come off a long-term spinning project, i’m more inclined to spin something at a heavier weight. i think this will make a nice, fuzzy DK weight yarn for a super-soft hat or scarf.

i’ve been completely monogamous in my knitting for the last few days, addicted to the ondulé sweater project. i finished the back section on friday night and joined the shoulders with a 3-needle bindoff. on saturday i set out to block the body pieces so i could proceed with the collar and have everything ready for sewing the sleeves in later on.

so far everything has worked up exactly to the sizes i estimated in the pattern i wrote—big sigh of relief there. so i proceeded to pin out the back to the measurements in my schematic

then i overlaid that with a wet towel, touched it with a hot iron to produce steam, and allowed the piece to air dry. i don’t use any pressure with the iron—we don’t want flattened texture, just generate a good amount of steam and let that do the work.

blocking the sections after they are already joined at the shoulders is slightly awkward, but not too bad. having them joined gives me the opportunity to press those seams while i have the iron on and my wet towels handy.

i just love the way the fabric is transformed by steaming; all the lumpy-bumpy, unironed look is gone and the pieces drape beautifully without clinging or buckling. the curling at the edges is tamed a bit too, which will help the seaming go more smoothly.

here you can see the drastic difference a little blocking can make; the texture of the right-hand, blocked piece, is still quite defined, but the “background” has smoothed and receded, while the “foreground” stands proud of the surface.

i block the front pieces the same way i block the back. once i have one front done, i pin out the second one the same, but before i steam it i overlay it with the blocked piece to make sure all the edges match, making any adjustments as needed. i’ll do the sleeves the same way when they are ready.

now that the body was done, i moved on to the next steps.
i picked up around the neck edge for my collar and found i had to make a couple of corrections to the stitch count in the pattern i wrote, but the construction steps worked out just right as written. by late afternoon, i had a collar.

it’s not pressed yet; i’ll do that when i have the sleeve seams sewn and press all at once before i join the side seams.

the depth of the neckline was one of the things i wanted to adjust from the original red cardi i knit a while back—it was a little deeper than i first envisioned for this sweater. this one is just what i wanted and the waist length is more to my liking as well.

i’m so excited that i’ve gotten this far that i decided to set a goal of having it done to wear to the loopy spring fling later this week. what’s life without a little pressure?

but really, i think i can do it. and it’s so compelling i don’t think i could not try for it. i started the first sleeve yesterday and i’m almost done with it—just about halfway through the cap.

if i start the second sleeve this afternoon, i might finish it by bedtime. i might be seaming by tomorrow. i might then have time to start a new sock and/or scarf project to take on my trip.

we might be eating sandwiches for dinner today.

25 Responses to “it’s growing”

  1. Hattie says:

    Sweater is looking good! Jealous of your bleeding hearts. :)

  2. juniperjune says:

    that sweater is looking great! i continue to be smitten with the colorway, and the texture is lovely. do you always steam-block heavy things like sweaters? i’ve been doing it more & more often lately, and i’ve been thinking about giving up wet-blocking altogether except for lace.

  3. Ellen says:

    Now, how beautiful is that sweater???? Gob smacking!

  4. Debbie says:

    That sweater is going to be gorgeous, and I love that yarn.

  5. Kathy says:

    Can’t wait to see that in person!!! Tomorrow I’ll be blocking Boxleaf to wear to the Dessert Reception. I’m so looking forward to meeting you!

  6. Michele in Maine says:

    Yes, knitting deadlines – that’s what gets it done! I’m trying to finish a poncho for my niece by Wed. and I’m just 1/2 done.

    Can’t see the sweater photos yet as I’m on dial-up but will check them out at work tomorrow. Can’t wait!

  7. Peggy says:

    Love the diminishing collar. It has a “stateliness” about it.

  8. Julie says:

    That’s coming along beautifully! I’m amazed at the difference in the right to left shot. (really have got to start blocking more)

    Can’t wait to see the finished sweater!

  9. twinsetellen says:

    This is sure to be a winner.

  10. Booklassie says:

    I absolutely love this sweater. Can’t wait to see it at the fling. The yarn really sets the pattern off nicely, too.

  11. Jocelyn says:

    Good thing sandwiches are delicious :) I’m loving the sweater!! I can’t WAIT to get started — it’s absolutely fabulous, and the wavy bits are making me very happy.

  12. margaret says:

    beautiful sweater. thanks for sharing your knowledge and design. you always give me so much to think about!!

  13. GeekKnitter says:

    Monogamous Knitting… You know, I’ve run that one through my Internal Translator at least seven times, and it keeps coming back with the same answer. “Does Not Compute.”

  14. Linda says:

    I can’t wait to make this…

  15. Jody says:

    Very cool to see the blocking process. It’s a lovely sweater. I doubt it would work with my body shape though. Darn. Your bleeding heart is ahead of mine, which has foliage about 5″ high, but no blooms yet. Of course my daffodils are just on the point of opening too. More rain coming your way I’m afraid…Chicago isn’t to clear up until Wed.

  16. Katrina says:

    I have such sweater envy!!!! And yet another reason for me to lose weight…so I can actually afford the yarn it takes to make such lovely sweaters!!! In the meantime, I’ll stick to socks, mitts and an occasional shawl while drooling over your lovelies.

  17. elizabeth says:

    That is a freakishly cool texture!!!

  18. Michele In Maine says:

    Fabulous sweater! Can’t wait to see you model it!

    My hostas have not appeared as of yet.

  19. Theresa in Italy says:

    One week of computer glitches and I missed so much! The sweater is so cool and the Trevi shawl is beautiful—and the garden seems to be coming along just fine, too….

  20. cathy says:

    I love bleeding heart! Mine didn’t come up last year and I was so sad…must get some more.

  21. Alicia says:

    Now that’s texture! Beautiful!
    Love the bleeding heart!

  22. Nan says:

    Ooh, I like the sweater. I like the long ribbing on it. I can’t wait to see it completed.

  23. Ann says:

    Love the stitch pattern of the sweater. I wish I could knit all day & give my family sandwiches for dinner too.

  24. marjorie says:

    That is beautiful. I love the collar, and the stitch pattern you used works so well with that yarn.

    I used to steam block all my sweater pieces, but in recent years, I’ve switched to wet blocking. And then my final step after weaving in the ends is to steam block the seams (because I crochet them and they need flattening). The steam blocking of everything is certainly faster–is there a reason you prefer it?

  25. Teyani says:

    that cardigan is going to be a real show-stopper!
    And you know, every time I see your bleeding heart photos, I want one – such a wonderful addition to ones garden ;-)

    Thanks again for your generous contributions to my Yarn Contest!! I launched the initial posting yesterday, and due to wonderful friends like you, I suspect that it will be a fabulous success . You’re a dear.