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I have a confession. For years I was scared to wet block my finished projects. The idea of taking something I’d spent so many painstaking hours on and dropping it willy nilly into a sink full of water was enough to keep me up at night. I even bought a garment steamer in order to side step the entire issue.
I’ve since learned to anticipate the beautifully relaxed knit fabric that results from proper wet blocking. The added softness, drape and smoothness are compelling reasons to block but somewhere deep inside (or actually, just on the surface) lingers that doubt … are my hopes for a successful project about do go down the drain with the soapy water?
This was my first time knitting with Cascade Eco Cloud. The squishy chain yarn made of merino and baby alpaca felt fragile. Can one even block a chain yarn? In my rush to publish the pattern before Knitty came out, I hadn’t stopped to block my swatch. Was it time to pay the piper? With one eye closed, I gamely plopped my new Manchester scarf into the sudsy water.
The answer, of course, is no and in my heart I knew Cascade wouldn’t let me down. The yarn has dried beautifully, the stitch pattern relaxed but still very visible in this lofty yarn that emphasizes the raised Showy Decreases. The scarf, which felt heavy in my lap as I knit, is now light and airy. That doesn’t mean, however, there weren’t some surprises. The scarf started out a bit stumpy at 11” by 44” since I was anxious to get some pictures for you and stopped knitting after just 2 skeins. When wet, it was still 11” wide but had lengthened to 56” without seeming to over stretch. That’s 12” longer! But wait there’s more …
When I tiptoed past the sleeping dogs in the morning to check out the results, I was surprised and a bit confused. You see, the scarf is now 58” long and 9” wide. As the yarn dried, it relaxed into a longer and narrower shape. I’m thrilled – it’s the perfect shape for this scarf and saved me knitting another skein. However, had this been a sweater I’d be kicking myself for not blocking my swatch with this unknown yarn. Lesson learned. I promise to behave in the future (well, at least until those impulsive knitting fairies get a hold of me again).
Free Ravelry eBook
The reason I was in such a hurry to publish the Manchester Scarf (although I could not tell you at the time) is because it’s a warm up project for the Fiftyfifty top in Knitty. It is part a Ravelry eBook designed to introduce you to some fun new knitting techniques (like the Showy Decrease featured in Knitty) in a straightforward way. A fun striped version has been added as well. There are already over 800 downloads. Thanks.
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