27 July 2011

Adventures in Blocking on the Road

My friend LiturgyGeek had a baby. A daughter. BabyLG, we can call her. She was born a few months ago now, but I didn't rush to make her something because I knew I wanted to make a baby sweater for her -- and, well, she was born at Easter. She lives in Iowa and won't need a baby sweater until the fall. A six-month size sweater will be perfect for her. And I knew I would see her Mama in July. Sooooo I didn't rush to get anything done and in the mail.

Anyway, July is here. Seeing LiturgyGeek (and meeting BabyLG) involved a trip to Tampa, Florida (not because they live there, but because the United Church of Christ national meeting was there, and LG and I both had to attend). About a week before take-off, I put down the sweater I'm making for Husband, found a pattern I liked, and bought some yarn.

Side note: can I just take a moment to say how excited I am that Malabrigo is making a superwash worsted now? I'm surely the last person on the planet to have discovered this, but DUDE. Rios is an amazing yarn. I am totally smitten. I would use it for non-baby projects! I would make big-person-sized sweaters out of it! Hooray for gorgeous kettle-dyed superwash wool!

Okay. So I bought the Malabrigo Rios -- two skeins, just in case, but it turns out that I only needed one -- and cast on and had the body, like, a third of the way done by that evening. I knitted on the plane to Florida, I knitted in meetings whenever I could... At one point, LG said to me, "by the way, I haven't seen you knitting here! Are you working on anything? What are you making?" And I got a little cagey. I think I said something like, "Yeah, I'm working on something. I'll, uh, show you later." She got it, and did not push. This is the sign of a good friend-of-a-knitter.

Anyway, I finally finished the sweater about 3 or 4 days in to the meeting. And it totally needed to be blocked. Fortunately, I was staying in a fabulous Embassy Suites suite, and was therefore well-supplied with both space and tools. I pulled out the ironing board and iron, grabbed a washcloth, and went to town with a bit of washcloth-steam blocking. It's a sweet little sweater, but those leaves on the front don't stay flat on their own! (LG, now that the sweater is blocked, you shouldn't have to worry about this again.)

Also, I accidentally dyed the washcloth purple. Sorry, Embassy Suites!

It all worked out in the end. The blocking part, that is. I honestly have no idea if the hotel got the dye out of the washcloth, but I would assume they did. Hotels are generally pros at bleaching the towels.

And the finished product came out nicely. The Cascade pattern is really cute, and very simple to make. I didn't make any modifications this time, but if I were to do it again (and I might some day) I'd make a sixth leaf at the bottom of the placket instead of cutting it off at 5 for the seed-stitch band. It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to add, although I understand why the author wrote the pattern the way she did.

I added on the buttons during the business meetings on the next-to-last day of the event. We introduced electronic voting this year, and it took a bit of experimentation to get the hang of sewing on a button and pressing the clicker-thingy at the same time (in the past we just had cards to hold up, which isn't as hard because it doesn't involve the same set of fine motor skills that sewing on buttons requires). It all worked fine, and the buttons looked good AND I voted for important stuff like LGBT human rights.

Most importantly, LG and her husband Backbencher loved the sweater. And I'm sure that BabyLG will look adorable in it this fall, when it actually fits her. LG has promised to send a photo of BabyLG in the finished product when it does fit. For now, just enjoy this Jared-Flood-esque photo of the button band.