Friday, November 11, 2011

A Winner and Another Give-Away!

The winner from our last is........:drumroll:....... JENNIFER S.! Please email me at the address in my contact information with the pattern you'd like (Kumfy™ Pants or The Kumfy™ Schlüttli Collection), and I'll send it right away. If you'd prefer it to be sent to a Ravelry account, please let me know and I'm happy to oblige.
What? You want MORE free stuff? Okay, fine. There's a pair of twill Kumfy™ Jeans up free-for-shipping at the premier all-boy congo on HyenaCart, Kings of the Castle! Enter now for your chance to win before the drawing ends Monday.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Importance of Blocking

One of my favorite things to do in my "spare" time is to sit and browse Ravelry. Just scanning through random project pages looking at all the knitted gorgeousness gives my brain a creative thrill. I know, I know, I'm a nerd and there's a profound possibility I am also addicted to yarn. Yes, addicted.
So in my travels across the fiber artists' paradise of Ravelry, I frequently come across projects that aren't blocked. Are they good projects? Bad projects? Is the artist's skill excellent, or need some work? It's hard to tell when a project is not blocked!  It just looks like a lumpy, misshapen wad of yarn.
Unblocked cabled Kumfy™ Pants
Cable detail is hard to see, body
Is lumpy and misshapen

Blocking is the official finish to any knitted project (it may also be for crochet, but admittedly I know nothing of that art so I will not encompass it in my information). Once an object is completely finished being knit, it must be washed. Just think- this item has been in your sweaty, hard-working hands for HOURS, and  freshly washed or not, your hands will inevitably have grime on them then ends up on your project. So wash it! A simple soak and swish in the sink in warm water and baby shampoo (or a 4:1 hot water and vinegar solution for hand-dyed fibers to set the dye) is plenty. Gently squeeze out the excess water with a towel, then choose a safe, flat surface where it can dry, undisturbed, for approximately 24 hours. Some garments can just be laid flat without the use of pins to hold its place. Just be sure dimensions are appropriate, edges are even, cuffs are flat and symmetrical, etc. Then let it dry!
If your project includes asymetrical lines, cables, lacework, or other details that need help remembering where they belong, a soft foam surface and blocking pins are a necessity. As the object dries, the fibers create a new memory, and will stay where they are pinned, showing off the beauty of the knitted garment, cables, lacework, and so on.
Blocking wet longies
Cables are spread, Cuffs smoothed
And pinned into place

Blocking will vastly improve your finished object by evening out tension, matching cuffs, lines, and smoothing out rubbing, lacework and cables, and generally relaxing all those fibers that were knotted so tight during the knitting process. Some objects will benefit from blocking after every washing, but for most a simple 'lay flat to dry' approach is perfectly acceptable.
So if you don't already, I dare you to block. Every item, every time, and ESPECIALLY before you take photos for Ravelry. I guarantee you'll get many more comments, favorites, and shares if you show off the details and lines on those beautiful knitted garments.
Blocked and dry,
BEAUTIFUL detail visible!
...And if you sell your knitted wares and don't block before taking stock photos, FOR GOODNESS SAKE BLOCK IT ALREADY! You cannot be 100% sure of the dimensions and measurements of your knitted garments if they aren't blocked. Once the fibers and stitches relax on that first wash, you could have an entire bigger size! It truly makes all the difference in the world.

Hey you. Yeah you. Are you reading this right now? Comment on whether or not this was new info or not. In two days I'll do a random drawing for a winner. The winner gets his/her choice of one of my patterns for free. WHO DOESN'T LIKE FREE STUFF? :-D