Friday, December 26, 2008

Find the right yarn for the project

Choose the correct yarn.

If your pattern calls for blocking to get the project to a certain size, make sure you use yarn that can be blocked.

Which yarns can be blocked?

I've been told that natural fibers can be blocked in varying degrees. Wool (at least 85%) is the fiber that provides the best results when blocked.

I learned this lesson while working on my daughter's baby blanket from the Stitch n Bitch book. It was my third knitting project and my largest. When I went to the yarn shop to buy yarn I looked at the brand called for in the pattern. It was beautiful and I wanted it very badly, but it was also very expensive and needed to have two strands of yarn worked together which doubled the price. So I asked my helpful merchant to recommend another yarn. She took me to a row of shelves with nice soft yarn that she knew many other people had used for this very project. And bonus! it came in a beautiful array of colors. I picked my color (aubergine to go with chocolate and lavendar shades my husband and I picked for our daughter's room) and was content knowing that this yarn would be perfect. After all, a professional helped me to pick it out and many other people made this very pattern with it.

Many, many months later I finished the blanket and I was so proud. I looked at the pattern for the instructions on finishing. It called for blocking the blanket to get it to the size of x by x. So I started researching blocking. I read a few of the books in my personal library and they seemed to refer to wool yarn when they discussed blocking. Hm, does it have to be wool to be blocked? I tried doing some more research but couldn't find any direct answer. So I asked my friend. Yes, the yarn needed to be at least 85% wool to be blocked. I looked at my yarn label and it was only 75% wool (approximately). Oh I was so upset. I was really counting on the blocking process to not only stretch my blanket to the correct size but also to even out the edges and make it look more polished.

I still love the blanket and most importantly my daughter loves it. And I was able to get some of the stitches evened out with washing. But had I known, I would have selected yarn that was able to be blocked.

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