Crochet: January 2011 Archives
I have noticed among knitters and lay people alike that knitting is seriously considered a winter activity. Like geese flying south and bear hibernating, knitting is what is done indoors and in cold weather. Not for this knitter and not for many steady fast others who have turned to knitting as not just an activity to populate their closets but as therapy and way to keep a cultural tradition alive. I know that this may do little to sway some but perhaps with some inducement (a proverbial carrot dangling from a stick, if you will) you will be knitting by the pool this summer.
The biggest hurdle appears to be, the yarn. NO ONE wants to touch wool, let alone think of it without sweat popping up all over, especially here in the south. Cotton, however, is at home in the heat. It's cooling and lightness has earned it the #1 spot in summer wear. With cotton, you don't need to lay your creative focus and stress relieving needles in with your winter wear. I love to put aside many of my favorite sweater patterns or those I have not yet had time to knit in the cold weather aside for spring time (or in many restaurants, offices, and movie theaters that think 60 deg is the ideal climate for patrons in summer) knitting. I can't stop knitting, even when it is too hot to go on. I love the feel of completing one more row, of reaching another point in the pattern to see how the author handles this increase or this cable turn. And I love completing a pattern, weaving in the ends and gloriously blocking it. Cotton allows me to continue knitting and wearing my creations year round.
I generally go for heavier weight cotton for spring (worsted and DK) and then towards lighter weights as the temperature goes up (sport and fingering). I try to start in Jan but sometimes hold out till February because it is still so cold here. But before long I am dreaming of humidity and can't wait to pull out my cotton yarns. I know by the time I am done the weather will be warm enough or I will be stubborn enough to wear it. The colors of cotton sing to me as well. I can't help but spurn the jewel tones of winter and find my shopping cart full of pinks, yellows and (my fave) bright grass green. I will often alter my patterns to accommodate the warmer weather by shortening the sleeves but often enough just changing from wool to cotton is enough to make any sweater perfect for warm weather. Though cardigans are my favorite because you can unbutton for breezes, pullovers work well for office wear, early morning walks and late night dates. I love knitting with cotton; it is forgiving, great for textures and the warm weather equivalent of wool.
You can follow us on Twitter! Get the scoop on Fabric.com Deals by following @fabricdotcom
or you can get the inside scoop on my projects, see their progress and get extra tips and tricks by following me@tdangermiller
Often when you are finished knitting you find yourself with a piece that is not quite how you imagined or doesn't fit as well as you had hoped. All the knitting down the drain you think as you plan to frog your project. Wait- All you really need is to properly block your knitted project. Wet blocking will bring out the details in lace, adjust fitting issues and show off the cables to best effect. Wet blocking is simple and to those detail-oriented folks, immensely satisfying.
Start by fully submerging your knitting in the water and gently (especially for wool-you don't want to felt it) squeeze to saturate every fiber. You will probably see air bubbles escape. Then leave your knitting in the water for 20-30 min. Drain the sink or bowl slowly and then carefully squeeze out extra water. Don't wring the fabric, just lightly squeeze.
Lay out your towel on a flat surface and open it fully if needed to accommodate your project or fold it in half width wise for small pieces. Carefully lay out your piece on the towel and gently shape it so it is laying flat. Roll up your towel until the whole towel is rolled up. Apply gentle pressure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Unroll your towel and lift your piece on to your blocking board. Start by pinning the major corners or points of your piece (for a shawl the top 2 corners, for a sweater the shoulders and neck line). Using a ruler gradually add more pins until your piece is fully pinned and shaped to your satisfaction.
Now comes the hard part: waiting. Put your blocking board in indirect light so it will not fade but will use the warmth to help it dry faster. You must wait until your piece is FULLY dry. Don't pull out those pins until you are very sure it is dry and then wait a little longer. The bigger the piece the longer the wait. It is worth the wait since you will be rewarded with a beautiful piece of knitting that fit better and looks amazing.