Wednesday, March 14, 2012


How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

~Isaac Watts, "Divine Songs"

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Joining with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

I thought I could do it,
I knit every spare minute I had,
unfortunately my spare minutes
were limited and just couldn't
add up to the hours I needed
to finish my Abigail Cardi. It has
been a very busy, busy week!
I managed to complete one sleeve,
am almost complete with the
other and then all that remains
is the collar. Taking tips from
Ravelry comments I am knitting
the sleeves inside out which is really
a lot easier for me since I am much
better at knitting than I am at
purling. I am so close!

I pulled Finishing School from the
shelf because I am a little concerned
about how I am going to block the
cardigan once I am finished and I
so want it to be just right!  Other
knitter's have voiced a lot of concern
about how this yarn really 'grows'
when it's being blocked. Some people
have put the cardi in the dryer to
get the size back, resulting in a
denser finished item. One of the
things that drew me to this pattern
was the airy, drapey look of it so
the dryer is not what I want. I
have shed too many tears, spent
more money than I planned, and
knit a lot of hours to have it ruined
because of my careless blocking.
Does anyone have any suggestions?


  1. Too technical for me I am afraid. Spectacular photos as usual.

  2. Hi Tracey. The cardi is looking absolutely beautiful. I have never blocked anything in my life, it is an altogether new concept for me , only having heard of it since blogging. So i am of no use to you in this department. Good luck with it all. At the moment I am tearing my hair out over 1 sock!!! Great bee photos.

  3. Nice pictures! I think the cardi is looking wonderful. Sorry I can't help with blocking, I am usually pulling and stretch to make size, I hope yours doesn't grow!

  4. Your cardigan is looking great! I definitely wouldn't put it in the dryer... And I wanted to comment that your pictures today are just beautiful!

  5. Beautiful photos <3

    There are lots of good blocking videos on YouTube - it may be worth having a look there. I didn't bookmark them but I watched quite a few before I bought my blocking wires. I usually block scarves and shawls so I can't offer any more advice, I'm afraid.

    Good luck

  6. i'd say just don't block it at all. you can wash it when it needs to, but don't stretch it. you had asked about the puffin yarn of quince and co. it was quite stiff when i finished the fisherman's pullover. i washed and blocked it (i reaaaly stretched it) and it grew a lot and it has more drape now then when i knitted it, so now it's perfect. but if you like your cardi the way it is really i just wouldn't block it!

  7. I agree with Sylvia, just don't block it out. It looks lovely and I hope your week this week gives you oodles of time to finish the sweater :)

  8. Your Abigail Cardi is coming along beautifully. I have finally picked up my needles after a long spell. I always get inspired to knit once Autumn is upon us. Love your pictures. It seems spring is definitely in the air. I hope the cardi blocks up ok for you. I understand your concern when so much time and money is invested in a garment. I get nervous too when some yarns grow after blocking. Thankfully that has only happened with stuff I have knitted for the children, where it isn't such a concern, as they grow into the item.
    Could you possibly just use a damp cloth and your iron and gently steam any edging that needs flattening, as opposed to doing the whole cardigan? Jacinta

  9. Your finished cardi is beautiful--love the color. I wish I had some advice for you. I heard pinning isgood or does that only work for shawls?....
    I always love reading techknitting and maybe if it does grow you could run elastic in the waist or in the cuffs?....

  10. Your photos are fabulous! I don't have any advice for you but I hope it comes out just the way you want it :)

  11. Your cardi looks lovely, I love the way you have photographed it. That book looks rather handy to have around the place!

  12. Such beautiful photos!

    I never thought of knitting sleeves inside out. Interesting!

    Your cardi is looking great.

  13. Even unfinished your cardigan looks fabulous. It drapes so nicely, that I'm not sure you need to block. Especially if the yarn is infamous for growing. (I don't even put wool in the dryer when I'm felting it - not good finish on the whole. Getting out the pom poms to cheer you on for the last few inches to knit!

  14. Your cardi is looking so beautiful, I can't wait to see it finished. Knitting the sleeves inside out is such a good idea.

  15. Oh, is coming along so well! You will love wearing it. Sorry...don't think I can help much with the blocking. Lovely bee pictures, too!

  16. no suggestions here, but certainly a lot of accolades on how your cardi is turning out!!! just wonderful Tracey!!!

  17. The cardi looks great. I put some thought into making that one, but I'm not sure my wobbly reverse stockinette would look right!

  18. Oh boy! good luck with the blocking. Sending good yarn vibes over your way lol. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Your cardi looks comfy. Great pictures.

  20. Those bee pics are AMAZING!!!!!! Lovely!!! And Abigail---you are looking absolutely stunning!!!

    I think for blocking, I'd just do the "spray bottle" blocking. Lightly mist her--and pat her into shape on a stack of towel. That should even out the stitches a bit--and give her a more finished look than just not blocking at all. (Just my opinion--she looks pretty fine as is in the pics!!!!)

  21. Knitting the sleeves inside out is a brilliant idea!

    As far as blocking goes, I'm with Sylvia and Swanski. If you like it just the way it is, leave it alone. :-)

  22. Knitting inside out? That's an interesting idea. I'll have to look into it. I'm with you - I like knitting much more than purling. Busy week here too and very little knitting. But it looks like you've gotten quite far on your cardigan despite the busy week. Yay!

  23. Beautiful pics! If you are going to block, I suggest a light (and I emphasize light) steaming or a light misting. This will help with the drape, but hopefully not make it "grow." Good luck!

  24. I understand your wariness if the yarn tends to grow. I vote for light steam or mist as well if you have stitches that need evened out or any curling to manage.

  25. I agree with the others who mention not blocking. I just blocked my FLS(February Lady Sweater). I use Dream in Color yarn. I read loads on it, so I was uber gentle. It still grew a lot, and now I am not as happy with it. I liked it the way it was before blocking (I wore it a lot before finally blocking). A friend suggested a light run through the dryer, but that worries me. In lieu of no blocking, you could do a light steam block. Just be gentle. Do not stretch on let it pull with the weight of the water. It is gorgeous!

  26. Beautiful, Tracy. I agree about not blocking it at all. Just because we knitted something, doesn't mean it HAS to be blocked! If you like it like it is, just wash it gently and hang/lay flat to dry!

  27. Ooh, so close... I'm afraid that I'm not an expert at blocking so I'm no help. I'm also afraid that we are going to lose you to National Geographic when they hire you on as a photographer. Wow! :)

    Blessings, Debbie

  28. Tracey,

    Your knitting is beautiful!!! I have never blocked anything....but if I had questions I would probably e-mail Yarn Harlot

    She has shown her blocked items on her blog so I know for a fact she blocks everything.

    Blessings to you!!


    A Knitters Notebook

  29. I agree with a very gentle blocking, perhaps no pins at all. There's no alpaca in the yarn, so I'm hoping it doesn't grow much, if at all. Best of luck! After all you've done, I hope it comes out perfectly for you.

  30. I love the photos of your cardi in nature. That bee photo is spectacular! No help from me on your blocking question, but I'm glad that you asked it...I've learned a lot from reading the other comments. :)

  31. ooh how exciting! your almost done! dear tracey, i wouldn't be afraid of blocking at all. maybe it won't need it straight off, but the time will come when it needs a bath (i imagine this lovely thing will get lots of wear!).

    i have washed and blocked everything, and tossed things in the dryer if they grew too much. just check every two minutes, and i would put the sweater in with a small load of already dried items.

    here's what i do for great results everytime:

    wash and block when necessary (no pins yet)
    let dry about half to almost all the way
    toss in dryer
    check every two minutes, watching for signs of shrinking
    (sometimes just 2 mins is all you need)
    reblock when your sweater is near dry
    pinning it out to your just right size.

    i can't think of any wool or fiber i've not done this with.
    xxx lori

  32. You are really close to finishing that sweater. Hang in there! Amazon just recommended this book to me this morning, so that's twice in one day. It's going on the Goodreads right now. Looks like a great resource. I've thrown things in the dryer a few minutes at a time as well with good results. Just don't get distracted while you do it!

  33. I have been known to 'block' by pressing :) My Mum and Nan taught me to place my finished piece under the couch cushions! Depending on the yarn I have also ironed it to flatten it. Perhaps those might work better for you!

  34. Oh it's gorgeous Tracey. I love the airy drapey look you have going. I haven't knit with this yarn so no suggestions...if it's just too big I'll be happy to take it off your hands:)
    BTW I love the bee shots, so lovely.

  35. Your photos are so gorgeous@

    It looks to me like this sweater is meant to be drapey, so if it were me I would lightly steam block it, and then just let it drape! But you could also knit up a belt if you have enough yarn, and make it a wrap & tie style.

  36. I love your quotations Tracey, very thought provoking, beautiful photos too. Take your time on your beautiful cardi, you've done loads, it will be gorgeous.

  37. What absolutely beautiful photography, Tracey! I love Isaac many wonderful hymns that are favorites. 'Turning the sleeve inside out to knit it', what a great idea! I bet that purl side looks prettier, too. Have a wonderful day!

  38. That's what I've read about the February Lady Sweater too! When they tell you to size WAAAY down than normal I think that's a huge hint that the sucker will grow! Gorgeous photos today, Tracey. Like a breath of spring air.

  39. Your photography is absolutely amazing. The sweater is coming along beautifully as well.

  40. You photos are absolutely beautiful. And your cardi is going to be lovely, take your time, don't rush it, it will be worth it :)

  41. Ha! Oh the darn sleeve! They take so much longer than they should, right?

  42. Sorry no suggestions, but those are some awesome pictures! I hope it works out for you...

  43. yes, bees, work work work!! :)
    i also like your cardi's drapey look. don't know a thing about blocking though...

  44. I don't know
    contact the company and voice your concern????
    good luck

  45. Such beautiful pictures! Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'll certainly be stopping by yours often!

    Good luck finding a blocking method that works.

  46. Tracy ~ That is amazing! You are quite the knitter but what I am most impressed with is your photography and you don't seem to even work on that. ( don't even have photography mentioned in your bio!) I am really curious as to what kind of camera and lens you have...can you leave a note on my blog? I just love the photos of the bees and flowers. Awesome work on all fronts!

  47. What a beautiful post, filled with lovely photos. I think your cardi is going to be so beautiful-and I am so jealous of your spring buds. We had snow here in Seattle yesterday! Thank you for commenting on my blog today too!

  48. I'm impressed, I never seem to be able to finish a cardigan or jumper for myself, I seem to lose steam halfway through - I look forward to spending some time (later, has to be later when children are in bed) having a look at some of your other creations :0)

    Your photos are lovely - I'm always so envious of beautiful photos!

    Thank you for visiting me, too. The largest age gap I have is the 17 (almost 18) years between my eldest son and this babe to be - scary to think how many years my pregnancies have spanned!

  49. Your cardi is lovely. Sorry I don't have any blocking advice. I have yet to block anything. Would the LYS be able to help.
    Love your shots! What lens did you use on the bee shot?


  50. The cardi looks great, almost ready to snuggle up in. Love the colour!

  51. I found you on Ginny's yarn along. I absolutely adored the photos of your knitting amongst the blossoming trees...bees and all!

    As for the blocking, I would try laying the swester to preferred size (I personally use pins) and steaming it. I have placed a damp cloth over my knitting and lightly pressed it with an iron too with good success.

    I hope whatever you try will work, such a lovely sweater.