Archive for April, 2013

Wet Blocking Vs Steam Blocking

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Congratulations!  The final stitch on your latest knitting project has just been cast off, now what?  Before you sew your seams together, take time for one of the most important steps in finishing a garment, blocking, which will shape and mold your knitted pieces to correspond with the actual measurements given on the pattern schematics.  This will make a huge difference to the overall look, from homemade to professional with just a few simple materials that you may already have at home.  Set up an area with a table to work on, and gather together the following supplies, a tape measure, rustproof pins (T-pins are preferable), a few large towels to use as a blocking pad, spray bottle filled with water, steam iron, and a linen or cotton tea towel.  The next step is crucial, choosing wet blocking vs steam blocking.  To decide which method is most suitable for your project, check the fibre content on the ball band and match to the chart below.  If in doubt, test a small swatch first, any yarns that contain synthetics should be wet blocked, as the heat from a steam iron will damage these fibres.  Both blocking methods require pinning the garment pieces so they will measure out to the required sizing.

Wet Blocking- fold a few towels to create a soft pad and pin your garment pieces in place.  Choose either a spray bottle filled with cool water or a large damp towel as your blocking tool.  Both work equally well, it is a matter of personal preference.  Wet the pieces thoroughly with either the spray bottle or the damp towel.  Leave overnight to dry.

Steam Blocking- fold a few towels to create a soft pad and pin your garment pieces in place.  Set your iron to the lowest steam setting, hold slightly above the pinned garment pieces, and rotate in a circular motion without touching the fabric.  The steam will dampen the pieces without pressing.  If your work requires a light pressing, make sure a linen or cotton tea towel is used as a pressing cloth to avoid direct contact with the fabric.  Leave pins in position until pieces are thoroughly dry.  Drying time is much quicker with this method.

 

Angora-   Wet block by spraying

Cotton-  Wet block or warm/hot steam block

Linen-  Wet block or warm/hot steam block

Lurex-  Do not block 

Mohair-  Wet block by spraying

Novelties-  Do not require blocking

Synthetics-  Carefully follow instructions on ball band- wet block by spraying, do not press

Wool-  Wet block by spraying or warm steam block

Wool blends-  Wet block by spraying, do not press

 

Spring Lace

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

Spring is finally in the air, and sporadic might really be the best way to describe it, but at least the layers are getting lighter and the styles are shifting gears, veering in a fresh direction.  One of the current trends creating plenty of buzz is the ‘case for lace’, whether it be a hint at nostalgia or what some may describe as bridal boutique wear, this filigree fashion has recharged the style savvy, showing up as diminutive touches on jackets and dresses, spreading its dainty appeal onto peplums, necklines, and sleeve cuffs by the likes of iconic designers such as Oscar de la Renta.  This season, Katia has translated the look from runway to mainstream with the all-new Elegance Collection featuring a shimmery array of cotton and viscose blends, luscious linen, and an exclusive line-up of pre-knit lace options that will amaze even the most advanced knitters and crocheters.

 

Oscar De La Renta Spring 2013 Collection

Oscar de la Renta Spring 2013 Collection

 

Stretch the possibilities of your talent with one of these striking lace designs from Katia worked in crochet, knitting and hairpin lace-

 

Cap Sleeve Top

Cap Sleeve Top

Innovative, and fresh, this cap sleeve top from Katia’s Elegance Collection captures the impression of vintage filigree, but with far less effort.  This design is worked in one piece up to the armholes with six narrow bands of Guadalupe, joined together with a few rows of crochet using Mississippi 3.  Katia offers a video here to show how simple the technique really is.

 

Brisa Tunic

Brisa Tunic

A well-crafted boatneck tunic knit in an alluring wave pattern with openwork sections created by wrapping the yarn three times for each stitch and then dropping the extra loops on the next row.  Knit in Brisa, a cotton mixed with viscose readily available in thirty shades.

 

Syros Cardigan

Syros Cardigan

Be ready for most occasions with this sophisticated cardigan, a summer staple as a light and airy cover for sleeveless dresses.  With a hairpin loom and a small crochet hook you are ready to create this exquisite design worked in Syros, a shimmery fingering weight yarn available in a range of thirteen shades.

 

Linen Top

Linen Top

Stay cool with this crisp white linen top in a combination of hairpin lace and crochet.  Worked from side-to-side in two simple squares with Lino, a pure linen yarn presented this season in eighteen colour options.

 

Cap Sleeve Cardigan

Cap Sleeve Cardigan

A trick of the eye gives the illusion of intricate lacework in this stylish cap sleeve cardigan.  Two new yarns from Katia’s S/S Collection work in harmony to create side-by-side panels.  Guadalupe is a flat woven band with scalloped edges, which is cut into strips and joined together with San Remo.   See Katia’s video here for step-by step instructions on how to work with Guadalupe.

 

A Well-Knit Home

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Let’s sneak a quick look inside the pages of the all-new visually enticing design book, Knits For You and Your Home by Debbie Bliss, featuring more than thirty projects that dare we say are….. self-indulgent.  It is a well-known fact that knitters are exceptionally generous with their time and handiwork, the tendency is to knit for others first, sharing their special gifts with family, friends, and often charities.  In this book, Debbie turns things around and puts the focus on you, and your home, as she explains in her introduction-

“Whenever I meet knitters I am reminded time and time again that they are some of the most selfless of people; so many times I hear the refrain ‘I am making this project for a friend/partner/grandchild’ or the classic phrase ‘I never have time to make anything for myself.’ So with this book of over thirty designs I hope to entice the crafter – if only for a short time – away from the projects they are planning to make for everyone else and to knit something for themselves.” 

With her incredible instinct for knowing what knitters really want- simplicity, style, a soothing palette, and a splurge of luxury now and then, Debbie divides this book into four sections, each one setting a relaxing mood with a specific colour-

 

Pamper is for the ultimate time out, so bring the spa into your home and put your feet up on a giant pouffe,

drift off with a sleep mask or make hearts containing relaxing lavender.”  D.B.

 

Lavender Heart

Lavender Heart

Beaded heart-shaped sachets are filled with dried lavender, that familiar fragrance that stirs the memory and induces a sense of well-being.  This is a simple and quick one ball project knit in Baby Cashmerino, the ultimate blend of luxury fibres.  Have fun picking a calming hue from one of more than seventy colour choices.

 

Pouffe

Pouffe

Stylish and comfortable at the same time, this knitted pouffe provides extra seating for guests, as well as a child-friendly option for the living room or a footstool for those overworked tootsies.  Knit in Cotton DK, a sturdy yarn with more than thirty colour possibilities.

 

Cocoon has knits to envelop and comfort you, from super-soft throws

and a snuggly snood to cosy chair covers.”  D.B.

 

Chair Back

Chair Back

Cables and bobbles add surface texture to an elegant chair back, in an easy one-piece construction with satin ribbons to tie.  Knit in Rialto Chunky, a superwash merino available in twenty-six shades of opulence.

 

Detox is for those who sometimes relax by pottering around. I relax by sorting out

my crayons by colour or my sketchbooks by size, rearranging my mood boards,

gently tidying (but nothing too energetic!), so in this section

I have included projects that will help you sort, stack and tuck away.”  D.B.

 

Magazine Holder

Magazine Holder

This magazine holder keeps clutter under control and conveniently transports reading material from room-to-room or to the recycle bin.  Knit in durable Cotton DK, in panels of garter stitch, a project well-suited for beginners.

 

Storage File

Storage File

Moss stitch texture and the palest shade of duck egg blue go hand-in-hand to create a well-organized space.  Versatile and pretty to look at, this storage file is ideal for stashing away favorite recipes, catalogues, knitting patterns, or incoming mail.  Knit in Cotton DK, a worsted weight yarn which gives great stitch definition.

 

Indulge has projects to make you feel that little bit extra-special,

bringing some well-deserved glamour into your life.”   D.B.

 

Chevron Pillow

Chevron Pillow

An ordinary pillow goes from drab to fab with this bargello-inspired cover knit with hours of rest and relaxation in mind.  Choose these five complimentary shades of Baby Cashmerino  or pick your own pleasing palette.