Monday, August 31, 2009

The knitting gods...

...they do exist and they have looked down upon me this day and deemed me unworthy of their love. They have wrought their particular and sneaky havoc throughout the night, in a plastic bag in which I had delicately place the carefully folded Hemlock Ring Throw. In an effort to court their approval (and make the blanket smell nice), I deftly added a couple hand-made lavender and cedar sachets.

Not more than 30 minutes ago, I learned how cruel these knitting gods can be. I have heard them spoken of, often in hushed tones. Sometimes, a particularly brazen (or drunk) knitter might scoff at such a belief, only to have even the simplest of project go inexplicably and horribly awry. I have always approached these stories with respect and more than a little reverence, even though I had not yet, until this day, had any first-hand encounters with their extreme and awesome power.

I brought the finished Hemlock Throw into work to show to my co-peeps, always appreciative and appropriate in their ooo-and-ahhh response. I pulled the throw from its lavender and cedar paradise, a smile upon my face and my heart full of pride and accomplishment. With two hands and great flourish, I tossed the blanket up, it unfurled and landed ever so gently upon my desk...and a shriek of horror resounded in my head.

It was a glorious testament to its former, FRUMPY self!

Yes, indeed...over the course of the night, as I slept semi-soundly in bed, lulled into a false sense of security brought on by the cool, pre-autumn night air and the soothing sounds of the city at night, the knitting gods sent down their post-modern Puck to wreak undue havoc upon my work. All of the soaking and pinching and prodding and pinning and stretching...all of the blocking wires in all the world could not, nay would not, tame this beast! No!

In the course of just a few sleepy hours, the blanket had transformed and reverted from its gorgeous and beauteous self back into the frumpy, clustered and scalloped heap it had been prior. Like Cinderella at the ball, the clock has struck midnight and the Pumpkin carriage was no more. This beautiful lotus flower had its leaves fold in upon themselves, as if it could sense the impending Fall. The fan & leaf pattern, each repeat receeded and pulled; the increases and decreases, their epic battle frozen in a moment of monumental frump!

I blame this whole mess on the acrylic content of the yarn. Yes, I many times have I read that you simply cannot under any circumstances block acrylic into anything. I thought, however, that the wool content might mitigate this tiny fact, this minuscule facet of the total project.

It doesn't mitigate shit, my friends.

I am crestfallen. In my 2 years of knitting, this ranks as my first major knitting disappointment. I'm sure there will be others. But there's nothing quite like your first time...and this is mine.


  1. Oh no! How terrible! I'm sorry for your misfortune.

  2. I've gone back in your posts to see what yarn you used, and I can't find where you've actually said what it is. Yes, acrylic doesn't block, and yes, sometimes wool content will help with that, but by its nature, acrylic is designed to bounce back. However, you can kill it. Steam -- LOTS of HOT steam -- will alter the nature of acrylic so that it does not bounce back, and it will change the hand of the fabric from something that feels like wool to something more slinky, kind of a cottony silky feel. Take your swatch (No swatch? Any yarn left? Knit one!) and stretch and pin it out, then get out your steam iron and go to it. Don't touch the fabric; just shoot LOTS of HOT steam through it. Let it cool off and dry, then unpin. Disclaimer: I know this works on 100 % acrylic, but how the wool content will affect the final result is a matter of "try it and see."

  3. I used 100% wool, soaked it, carefully pinned it out every blasted little point, and the blocking lasted 30 seconds after I unpinned it! I don't understand it either. But my cats love the smell of the Eco-Wool, so I let them enjoy it.

  4. Oh FUCK. Dude - acrylic? Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless.