Blocking for the win!

A few weeks ago, I reported being stalled on my Sparkling cardigan.  I had knit the back and both fronts, but was worried that the armscythes were all wrong: my impression was that they were too deep and too long and the slopes were off.  This would mean that the shoulders were too narrow, and that the sleeve placement would be wrong on the finished garment.  I felt that the best option would probably be to frog down (ie, to rip out the finished knitting) to an inch or so above the start of the armhole decreases on all three pieces.  Given the mohair yarn and stitch pattern, this was not an option I was interested in pursuing.

Thus stalled, I switched to other projects (finishing a lovely cashmere lace shawl), before making decisions on Sparkling.  It was Doug who convinced me to block the pieces first and see if the armhole shaping would improve.  I needed to not only increase the width of the shoulders, but also increase the width generally, as the cardigan was on the tight side.  So, I did a careful wash and block of the pieces:

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This morning, I sewed the pieces together.

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I decided to use backstitch instead of the more labour intensive mattress stitch.  On this garment, I wanted a firmer seam rather than the invisible seam mattress stitch would provide.  I also wasn’t interested in attempting mattress stitch over this stitch pattern.  I think it made a very nice seam (and one which took almost no time to whip together).  Win-win!

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As you can see, the blocking seems to have helped.  The shoulder hits about a half inch short of where it should ideally be, but I think that this difference is negligible.

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The general fit is good and it fits exceptionally well across the back.  (You may also notice my new hair cut in these photos!)

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The armhole depth is still large, but I want to be able to wear this over a variety of clothing and I also don’t want a tight fit, so I am pretty confident it will work.

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I can still shorten the armhole depth pretty quickly by removing the shoulder seams and ripping out a few rows and then re-seaming.  What do you think?  The big issue for me with cardigans is that I get hot very easily and I think having room under the arm is not a bad thing.

The real test will come once I get the sleeves knitted up, but I am much happier now.  I also avoided ripping out mohair!  Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK (and it is Doug’s birthday) and the weather is supposed to be fantastic.  I am hoping to get some work done on the sleeves while relaxing in my garden!

11 thoughts on “Blocking for the win!

  1. It looks really good, what a great idea to block and seam to assess the situation. I think having some room to maneuver is a good idea, especially if you plan to wear something under your cardigan (that’s usually the point of a cardigan, isn’t it?). Both fabrics will breathe better if you have a bit of extra space.
    Your haircut is great, the shorter hair suits you (which reminds me I need to book my next appointment).

  2. Brave of you to block and then decide if it needed fixing. I imagine frogging would be made even more difficult by blocking!

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