Finishing school

Finishing school
I have had a real bee in my bonnet to finish things this past week. Both the socks below were stalled because I didn’t know how long to make the cuff or toe, which means that I put it down with the best of intentions to return when I have time to concentrate.

This tendency is becoming a disease for me. The UFO pile grows like a pond full of phosporus-fed algae, and suddenly my room has eutrophied.

Finally I started to do something about it – worked through the bamboo sock toe, the Trekking sock heel, unraveled the buttonband side of my Blissful Jacket (bottom of this entry) where I had added a stitch, and reknit the right side of Grandma’s cardigan, which I messed up months ago.

Sock blocking
For any of you who think that you should skip blocking, as I have been known to do for years, [particularly since once I finish that sock, I want to put it right on my foot…] here is a little demonstration for you. Both of these pairs of socks are meant to be gifts, so they should look nice when the recipient opens them, right? Here is what a little blocking can do.

Each of these pairs has only one complete sock – so one is blocked and one is not.

sister socks man socks

bamboo trekking

Grandma’s cardigan
Here is the unblocked cardigan.

Aside from a million ends to be woven in, and learning how to do a grosgrain ribbon-backed button band by hand (no worries, right?), aside from finding the right color and width ribbon and the perfect buttons, aside from a steam block treatment, it’s … er … finished? Well the pieces are together.

shetland cardigan

I am not thrilled with the knitted-on collar for some reason, but maybe it will look better blocked. Any suggestions as to why it looks a little off? I’d rather reknit and have it look right, if that’s the best option.


I am happier with my first set-in sleeve (the Bobble Cardi has not made it out of finishing purgatory/eutrophy – the sleeves were the last remaining task and would have been my first set-in sleeves, before I had to undo all the crochet edging, unsew the collar, undo the 3-needle bindoff at the shoulders, and frog a good bit of the right side. I guess I should learn to read the patterns through, since for some reason I always have problems with the right side… The typical sentence in purgatory is around six months, so I’ll look at it in October after my upcoming travel is over with). I’m rather pleased with the result on that bit.


[Also, I am going to apologize in advance for some repeats on anyone’s RSS feed, I may go retag some of my entries this week before my archives get too big.]


9 thoughts on “Finishing school

  1. hooray, a post!

    It is really amazing the difference blocking can make. I’m also very excited to see the progress on Grandma’s Cardigan. The collar might be fixed a bit by blocking. How does it look on? My completely novice designer’s eye thinks that the back of the sweater might be a bit high, so that might make the collar look a little off. I don’t have any crew neck sweaters for comparison, but I feel like the back of the sweater dips a bit where the collar is set in. That’s my 2 cents. The sleeves look really good too.

  2. Well, the pattern came directly from Grandma – it’s the one she’s been using for decades – so there weren’t any instructions for making a dip. In fact, she had finished the back before sending it to me…although if I were making a crewneck, I agree with you.

    You can’t tell while it’s sitting on the floor, but I think it’s supposed to slope down from the neck to the shoulder edge. I am uncertain about the ribbing continuing across the seed stitch. She had started knitting the edging along with the right side, rather than knitting it on later, but the collar is an add-on and is supposed to match the cuffs and waist. Maybe the top button and buttonhole will make it look better, too.

  3. Hmm, well my only other thought would be to experiment with picking up more or fewer stitches along the collar edge.

    p.s. I redid the bind off on my sock and it worked well!

  4. I think the collar looks good and will be better when it’s finished and, more importantly, on your grandma! So sweet of you to finish this for her.

  5. I think Grandma’s cardigan looks great. I can’t see anything wrong with the collar.

    Wow, that is some difference on the socks. Blocking. It’s what we’re supposed to do. Who knew?

  6. Amber: Yes the neck looks a tad small, but she usually doesn’t button all the way up. It is a very conservative cut in general. We’ll see how blocking helps…

    I guess the idea behind sock blocking would be that you would wash but not machine dry them, and block them after washing each time. I would like to try this. Machine drying has made at least one of my handknitted socks much too fuzzy – I used Mountain Colors Bearfoot on that pair.

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