And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm a Believer!

Last night I sewed together the front, back, and sleeves for Ian' sweater (Katie's sweater is on the agenda for tonight; the picture -- for which the sweaters are being knitted -- is scheduled for noon tomorrow). After putting both sleeves on, I realized that I had sewn them in slightly differently on the front, and it was obvious. OK, just cut the yarn sewing the sleeve to the front on one side, pull it out, and resew. Simple, right?

Well, it would be, if you didn't miss the sewing yarn and cut the yarn at the edge of the front, thereby mysteriously unraveling four rows and leaving a hole in the piece about 1.5 x 2 inches. EEKS! I managed to kludge together a reknitted section, and it doesn't look too terribly bad, but I alternated between panic attacks and tantrums for a good 45 minutes there.

Anyway, I got it done, and the cute pewter celtic knot buttons sewn on, and tried it on Ian. It fits, just. I swear the boy has the arms of a monkey! But then, this afternoon, I discovered the magic ingredient: BLOCKING!

Oh, sure, I've heard of blocking sweaters. And the instructions did say to block the pieces before making up the sweater. But I thought blocking 100% cotton wouldn't accomplish much, so I skipped it. And it turned out okay. But then I started to sew Katie's sweater together, and the lengths of the front and back didn't quite match, so I looked up how to block a sweater, and decided to give it a try.

I started with Ian's sweater, to see if I could get the armholes to relax a little bit -- they seemed kind of lumpy and crowded. I plugged in my new iron and steamed and steamed and steamed -- and behold, the sweater looked amazing! All the crumply, jammed-up stitches relaxed and straightened out. I tugged on the sleeves and the torso, to make it smooth out and fit a little better. I just can't get over what an improvement it is.

Of course, I blocked Katie's pieces first, and I'm trying to sew the seams a little looser -- I tend to be a very tight stitcher. Hopefully it will come out even better (which is why I did hers second -- since it's light blue, it can be passed down to Ian in a few years, whereas he'll outgrow his by next year at the latest).

I'm feeling more successful at knitting than at baking. I started Christmas cookies today, and ended up with very flat Christmas trees, extra crunchy fudge (note to self: when allowing preschooler to help decorate with sprinkles, make sure to give him the thing with the sprinkler top, so he won't pour out the sprinkles), and flattish snowflakes. I don't know if it's my margarine or what, but it's frustrating. At the moment, I wouldn't give any of these -- except maybe the fudge -- out as teacher/friend gifts. I'm going to have to come up with some more foolproof recipes. Tomorrow we'll be dipping Christmas-shaped pretzels in Ghirardelli white chocolate and sprinkling them with holiday sprinkles. I have high hopes for that project -- if I give Ian the right shaker!