All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘blocking’

Friday Roundup: We Have Blocking!


What I’m Knitting

The baby blanket is blocking, woohoo!


And let me just say that wet-blocking a blanket at 38.5 weeks pregnant is not for the faint of heart, yo. But I managed. I’m soooo happy to have the knitting and finishing done on this one. I only ended up using about 5.5 skeins of Malabrigo Rios, which is about what I’d use for a sweater, but somehow it seemed like so much more.

My little model should be along within the next few weeks, so expect modeled pictures sometime in the near future. :-)

What I’m Cooking

This week’s meal for a crowd was something I haven’t tried for a while: enchilada casserole (also known as Mexican lasagna). I tried a new recipe that came out really, really well! Pardon the craptastic phone picture, but trust me—it was delicious.


I also made some banana/oat/blueberry muffins. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these.


What I’m Reading

I’m focusing on writing middle grade fiction right now (for roughly ages 8-12), so I’m trying to read some of the more popular MG books I’ve missed over the past few years. I started Princess Academy last night and am enjoying it so far! The setup is great.


Friday Roundup: New Beginnings


What I’m Knitting

I think I’ve finally figured out a cable pattern I like for the Malabrigo Rios blanket I talked about last week! This is most of it, just minus a couple of rounds of cable/lace patterning and a garter stitch border:

IMG_2452I’m a teensy bit worried about how well the superwash yarn is going to hold a block, since I had to pull the square pretty tight to get the pattern to show up well. But oh well, I figure I’ll finish this square off and block it, then manhandle it a bit and see what happens. The nice thing about doing blankets in squares is that you’re not getting unpleasant surprises at the end of knitting a whole huge blanket.

What I’m Cooking

Hey, I’m starting to feel a little better! The morning sickness isn’t quite as bad as before—enough that I actually managed to cook and eat several things this week that I couldn’t have even contemplated a few weeks ago.

First up, my old healthy standby: quinoa, lentil, and kale stew. I’ve made this stew a lot, but it never fails to amaze me that it’s so tasty. I mean, it doesn’t really SOUND that tasty, does it? But it’s delicious, trust me.

IMG_2441I also made some vegan chili from a new recipe. It had several secret ingredients which sounded really odd to put in chili (maple syrup and lime juice???), but it was totally amazing! I also made some really tasty cornbread muffins and a salad to go with:


What I’m Reading

I have several books I want to read, but they’re all checked out at the library… so while I wait, I’m revisiting one of my old favorites. This is the first book in the Hand of Thrawn series by Timothy Zahn, sequels to Return of the Jedi. I liked the new movie, but I have to say, this will always be my favorite account of what happened after the original trilogy!




Friday Roundup: Why You Should Block Colorwork, and Challenge Accepted!


What I’m Knitting

The second colorwork mitt is alllmost done—just the thumb ribbing and weaving in ends to go!

IMG_9341 (1)


I sometimes get comments about how even my colorwork is on my FOs… to which I always respond, “Nope, it’s just blocking.” Here’s an illustration of what I mean: the unblocked mitt next to the blocked one (they are, of course, the exact same stitch count, needle size, etc.).

IMG_9337 (1)I think the difference is even more obvious on the reverse side:

IMG_9340 (1)So anyway, there’s my PSA for the day: block your colorwork!

What I’m Cooking

Remember I said I was considering cooking every single recipe in my new Appetite for Reduction cookbook in order? Well, I accepted my own challenge and started in on it this week! I’m aiming for 2-3 recipes a week, since most of them make enough for leftovers for another meal the next day.

I’ve already cooked several things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and they were all delicious! I missed getting a picture of the baked falafel, which was a bit time-consuming, but amazing. I love falafel, but it’s usually fried in oil—not exactly health food. The baked ones came out moist and delicious. Next time I’ll double the recipe.

Here’s what I did manage to photograph. First, a quinoa-chickpea dinner salad with homemade balsamic dressing. We don’t usually eat dinner salads (hence the need for reduction, ahem), but this one was really filling and just enough with a few pieces of crusty bread. This was my first time making my own salad dressing—it was yummy!

IMG_9322 (1)Next up is a chickpea piccata, served over spinach and what Isa (the cookbook author) calls “caulipots”: a steamed potatoes/cauliflower mix mashed with a little olive oil. The whole thing was amazing! We gobbled it up and didn’t have any leftovers that day.

IMG_9329 (1)And finally, another dinner salad, this one from another cookbook (we had leftover quinoa that I wanted to use up, so I went looking for a recipe). This is a mock Caesar with homemade dressing and tempeh “croutons.” Another winner (especially the croutons! I usually find tempeh pretty bitter, but this method of cooking them was great).

IMG_9334 (1)


Stay tuned for next week’s challenge recipes!

What I’m Reading

I finished The Wee Free Men and started in on book #2 in the series, A Hat Full of Sky. I love these books so much!






Friday Roundup: A Finished Object and a Helper


What I’m Knitting:

I finished the knitting on the nautical pullover. I’m mostly happy with it. It fits my son with a little room to spare, so that should be perfect for a fall photoshoot. I’m not altogether pleased with the way the topmost white stripe is pulled up by the collar, but I’m hoping a good blocking should even that out. Blocking will commence tonight or tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Here it is in all its unblocked, lumpy glory (see my helper underneath the table?):

IMG_8746I also knit up a very large, intricately cabled swatch this week. It’s for a design submission to a yarn company, so I can’t show a full pic, but here’s a teaser. I love the way cables look in heathered wool:


What I’m Cooking:

Some old standbys this week. We were still playing catchup from our trip, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to cook. My favorite lentil, kale, quinoa stew made an appearance. The MVPs of this stew are my time-saving helpers, pre-chopped garlic:

IMG_7074And veggie broth bouillon cubes, so I always have broth on hand:

IMG_7073And again, I had a little helper keeping me company:


What I’m Reading:

Back to the second Raven Boys book, The Dream Thieves! (I just got a notification that it’s overdue from the library. Oops. To renewals I go!)


Friday Roundup: Big Sister, Little Sister


What I’m Knitting:

I finished the Entrechat for my niece! Here it is with the teeny one for her little sister, due in May:

Big and Little Entrechat

Entrechat back

The specs:

Pattern: Entrechat by Lisa Chemery (Ravelry link).

Yarn: Ella Rae Cozy Soft Chunky Solids in Purple Eggplant. I bought 5 skeins of this yarn and only used 3 for both shrugs. If I had one little teeny criticism of the pattern, it’s that the yarn requirements are extremely generous. But the yarn is nice and soft, seems very sturdy, and blocked nicely despite its 75% acrylic content.

(PSA: Always, always block your handknit garments! Here’s the before blocking shot in all its ugly glory, if you need proof.)

Pre blocking EntrechatNotes: Like I said before, I now totally get why everyone and their mother has made this. It was an enjoyable and interesting knit, even when I knit the largest size directly after the smallest size. Usually I hate working the same pattern more than once (even if it’s my own!), but this wasn’t bad at all.

I found perfect little wooden sunflower buttons at Joann Fabrics, which made me happy. Their button selection can be very hit-or-miss for me, but they’re the only place in town with any kind of selection.

What I’m Cooking:

I have to get better at remembering to take pictures of my meals before I dig in, because there were a few I missed this week (like the tasty chickpea curry we had for dinner on Wednesday). But here’s what I did get.

I made this tofu scramble with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach after the success of the plain one I made last week for my vegan Egg McMuffin analogue. It was really tasty! Tofu scrambles are definitely going in the regular breakfast rotation, now that I know how to spice them properly.

Tofu scrambleI also whipped up a recipe I’ve been wanting to try for a while: seitan sloppy joes! (Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten–the tastiest sub out there, if you ask me.) They were goo000d.

seitan sloppy joes

What I’m Reading:

I finished the beta read for my friend and started in on the second book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. It’s fast-paced and funny, as usual for his books.


WIP Wednesday: Stuff I Can’t Show You Edition


I’ve been hard at work on a secret, very large, commissioned project. Since I can’t actually show you what it is, here’s a teaser pic:

GW teaserAs you can see, it’s got lovely squishy garter stitch and a texture pattern, and it’s in one of the nicest yarns I’ve had the pleasure to work with. I’m sad I have to wait to share it until the pattern is released!

To distract from the lack of actual WIP pictures, I’ll show you the other stuff I’ve been working on: re-blocking samples for TNNA this weekend. Our cross-country move last summer was not kind to my poor sweaters and accessories.

hats blocking

Hats blocking using my preferred balloon-in-a-mug method

Two sweaters blocking

My Hipster Stripe and Put Together samples drying on the blocking boards

pile of blocked sweaters

Pile of blocked sweaters awaiting transport

I’m still nervous about the show, but as you can see, things are coming along nicely. My next post will probably be a TNNA wrap-up, so wish me luck!

Design Process: Blocking!


(Seventh in my series of design posts. Earlier posts are here: Part SixPart FivePart FourPart ThreePart TwoPart One.)

The sweater is done! I had plenty of the BFL sport left when I finished the last sleeve, so I couldn’t resist adding a cozy pocket on the front. I kept it small-scale to (hopefully) avoid the young teenager/sweatshirt look:

front pocketNext up in the design process is blocking. When I’m knitting someone else’s pattern, I sometimes skip blocking–especially if it’s an item that’s going to get wet anyway, like a woolly hat–but I always, always block designs intended for publication.

This pre-blocking picture illustrates why. See the wrinkles and uneven stitches?

pre-blockingThe sweater fit me perfectly before blocking, which is good, since my swatch didn’t change in length or width when I blocked it. I took detailed pre-blocking measurements anyway, since the fabric usually gets stretched out and needs to be patted back into shape.


I warned you earlier about my nonexistent artistic skills.

And here it is in all its pinned-out glory. Esme is guarding the sleeve (and was summarily ejected from the room after the picture was taken):

sweater blockingNext step in my design process: schedule a haircut/color. No, seriously. I’ll be the model for this design (obviously, since I knit it to my measurements), and I’m waaaayy overdue for a trip to the salon. While I’m waiting for my appointment, I’ll start in on the pattern writing–my least favorite part of the whole process, but necessary!

FO Friday: Latte Baby Coat


Two FO Fridays in a row! Baby sweaters are addictive, yo.

Latte side

Again, apologies for the non-modeled, craptastic blocking shot. My niece lives about 1500 miles away, so getting her to model the FO wasn’t really feasible.

The specs:

Pattern: Latte Baby Coat by Lisa Chemery (Ravelry link). I made the largest size (3T-4T). The pattern was well-written. It included tons of options, which makes for a slightly more cluttered pattern, but I always appreciate having choices.

Yarn: Cascade Eco+, 1 skein in Purple Jewel Heather. The pattern calls for 1.5 skeins for the hooded version in the largest size, but mine took only one, and I had a good sized ball left over. I did rip out my swatch, though–if I had kept a decent-sized swatch, I might have been closer to the end of the skein.

This yarn has been marinating in my stash for more than a year, and it was good to finally use some of it up. I usually avoid baby/toddler knits with non-superwash yarns, but since this is more of a coat anyway and likely won’t fit her next year, I’m not going to be terribly upset if it gets ruined. Plus it was really quick on #10 needles!

Notes: It turned out really cute! I was worried about rippling on the edge, so I bound off very tightly the first time… and then had to rip it out and re-do it when I realized her face wouldn’t fit into the tiny head opening. Doh. But I think I got the tension right the second time.

Latte top

The balloon is something I’ve recently started using to block hoods. It works like a charm! No more flattened or weird-looking hoods.

When it’s dry, I’ll sew on buttons. I’ve got these neat Celtic knot ones in my button stash that should be perfect.

And it’s good that I’m done with baby knits… because a huge box of yarn just arrived for two commissioned designs that will be due in the new year. Unfortunately, they need to be kept secret, but I can tell you I’m about a fourth of the way through a gorgeous cabled pullover in one of my favorite colors. More on that later….



I’ve arrived at my new home in Indiana, and now I finally have time to get back to blogging!


Of course, now that I have the time, I’m working on a top-secret project I can’t show anyone. Ha. But trust me, it’ll be awesome.

For this project, I need to buy some blocking wires for the first time. I’m going to visit a few LYS (oh darn, right?) to see if anyone has them to purchase right away, but I might end up needing to purchase them online.

Knit Picks has these ones for $19.99:

Knit Picks blocking wires

But I’m a little worried about the speed of shipping. I’m trying to get the project done by the weekend, and my (non-negotiable) deadline for this piece is the week after that… so unless I paid for super-expedited shipping, I’m not sure I’d get them in time.

I saw a few mentions on Ravelry of buying welding rods from a hardware store (plenty of those around!). I found this picture online when I searched for “welding rods for blocking”:

Straight welding rodsThose look pretty good, but I also found lots of pictures of wires in spools, like this one:

Welding wire in spool

And I wouldn’t know the first thing about straightening the wire to make it useable. Hrm.

Probably my best bet is to call around to the LYSes and see if anyone’s got them. I would much rather have wires designed for the purpose, even if they’re a little more expensive.

Do you have blocking wires? Where did you get them?

FO Friday (and new pattern): Rosanna Wrap!


It’s so nice to have a plethora of projects that I’m allowed to show off!

This is my newest design, Rosanna Wrap:

Rosanna main

I picture this wrap being perfect for dressy nights out in the summer–it looks fab with a little black dress. And it’s long (75″), so there’s enough fabric to actually keep one warm.

Rosanna full

Blocking the finished wrap was a bit of an adventure. I wanted a nice straight edge (obviously), but I don’t own blocking wires (haven’t ever needed them before) and had only about 50 pins. First, I went out and bought a couple more packs of pins. Then I used a method I found on Ravelry: I ran cotton yarn along each edge, pulled tight, and then braced the cotton with pins so the lace was pulled tight and able to open up.

It worked rather well, if I do say so myself–but slowly weaving in the cotton yarn and putting in a few hundred pins isn’t an experience I care to repeat very often!

Rosanna detail

I also decided to up the dressy-factor by adding a knotted fringe. I had to look up tutorials on how to do this and I figured others might have to as well… so I included my own photo tutorial in the pattern.

Rosanna fringe

Here are the specs on my FO:

Pattern: my own Rosanna Wrap, available to purchase on this website or through Ravelry here.

Yarn: madelinetosh tosh merino light, 2 skeins in Tart. I blogged here about my worry that my two skeins (purchased at different times) were too different from each other… but oddly enough, that appears to have been completely addressed by blocking. The dye ran pretty severely when I soaked the FO–I had to empty the sink and add fresh water five or six times before it was clear. The excess dye seems to have evened out the difference in the colors, which is so lucky I can hardly believe it. But the proof is in the pictures!

Rosanna main

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