Question: Ellen, I am working the Que Sera cardigan, and it is turning out so beautiful! My question is about measuring progress. I know that Lace blocks out much larger. Should I stretch it when measuring? I don't want a sweater that goes to my knees! R, Lori
Hi Lori, That's a great question! Yes, you should absolutely block your lace sweater out when you are measuring progress. When you're knitting lace, it comes off the needles a crumpled little wad of fabric. It's not until it's had a nice little soak will it relax and allow you to open it up to its proper size and structure. With a lace garment, it's not very easy to block your sweater as you go, so what you might want to do is block your gauge swatch. If you didn't do a swatch in pattern, go ahead and work a swatch four horizontal and four vertical repeats. Then block the swatch open and measure it. The measurement of the blocked swatch tells you how long each vertical repeat will be after blocking, so that you can work the number of repeats you need without having to wrangle the whole sweater wringing wet and on the needles onto a blocking board every time you want to measure it. Here's the swatch from my Que Sera before blocking,
One of the nice things about lace fabric for a garment is that there is a certain amount of play in it. You can block it a little or a lot, depending on how big or how small you need the garment to be. There are limits, of course, to what blocking can do. It's not possible to make something smaller by blocking, and you can only stretch the yarn so much. As always, I recommend that you save yourself time and heartache at the end by doing a decent sized swatch, blocking it, and even washing it as you plan to wash your finished garment. Then you can be sure of having a garment that fits you just the way you like it for years to come.