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Crazy for Ewe

The wonders of blocking

Bernadette came in last week with Vortex hot off her needles - a beautiful circular shawl pattern worked from the center out in lovely Huasco,   Very pretty, no?

Vortex unblocked 

As with all lace projects, Vortex needs a good blocking to look its best.  See how a good hard blocking opens the fabric, displays the structure of the lace, and creates a beautiful drape in the fabric. Nice blocking job, Lynne!

Vortex blocked 

Here's a close-up of the fabric that really shows the dramatic change.   Great job, Bernadette!

Fabric close-up 

 

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Merrily we Swirl Along

The SwirlAlong in Leonardtown was quite lively.  Connie and Jeannie both cast on and were able to join in the round.  Sigrid swatched, and Shelly got ready to swatch.  Althea brought in two swatches she had worked so that she could decide which needle size was right for her project.  She had worked one on size 6 needles, and the other on size 4


Here are the two swatches right off the needles.  The swatch on the left was done on size 6 needles; the one on the right, size 4.

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Unblocked swatches

You may be at this exact spot with your Swirl.  It would be tempting to simply measure the gauge here, but it would only give you a piece of the picture.  So much of a Swirl depends on the blocking, and your taste in fabric.  Sandra McIver gives details on this point in her blog here.  Following Sandra's lead, I got out the blocking board and we pinned the two swatches into 8x8 squares.  First the swatch from size 6 needles.

As we pinned this swatch, it needed no stretching to get to 8 inches across.  In fact, I felt as if I needed to smoosh it into its 8" boundary a bit, even with stretching the length to 8 inches.  All pinned out, it looks nice, but really just a tad droopy.

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Swatch done on size 6 needles

The size 4 needle swatch needed a little coaxing to reach 8" in width, but it wasn't a fight.  Same with getting it to 8" in length.  Pinned out, it showed the structure of the alternating merino and Kidsilk Haze welts.

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Swatch done on size 4 needles

Blocked side by side

Blocked side by side

Althea and I discussed the possibility of doing another swatch on size 5 needles but she decided that she was going with the size 4 needles.  I think that's a good decision, and here's why:

  • Althea really liked the look of the fabric at that gauge
  • Her fabric already has plenty of drape and will benefit from a slightly tighter gauge overall
  • The fabric lends itself to hard blocking if necessary
  • Althea is petite, and the coat could end up too long if it stretched out, which is more likely in a loosely knit fabric.

I had to rip out my swatch Friday as I had not been paying attention and had done the wrong number of rows in my welts.  Alas...

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