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  • How Not to Block A Sweater
  • Sumner Smith
  • knitting

How Not to Block A Sweater

I finished my Nurtured sweater!  Cue the joyful noise!  But... I suspected I was going to have a few issues, due entirely to some questionable decisions on my part.   

For one thing, the sleeves were a few inches longer than usual, due to my lack of enthusiasm for swatching.  I kind of just started the sleeves and figured I'd block them once I had a few inches - which is what I did, only to discover my gauge was too small.  At that point I could have done what I was supposed to do - take it all out and start over.  Or I could do what I actually did - switch to a larger needle and just keep going, figuring I'd let the bottom of the sleeves have a couple of extra inches since I have weirdly small wrists and don't mind rolling the cuffs.  So - the sleeves were going to be long, and then I decided to make the sweater quite large, because my preferred Instagram pics of this sweater are the ones with a lot of positive ease. 

But then I finished the whole thing and it looked... very large.  So I crossed my fingers and hoped blocking would help (which is clearly the land of magical thinking, because in my experience you can block something bigger than it wants to be, but it's a lot harder to smoosh it smaller.  Unless you get into the territory of almost-felting.  That's foreshadowing, by the way.)

So anyway, I submerge it in water, then roll it in towels, then pull it out of the towels and the sleeves are like... two feet longer than my arms. I'm not kidding at all.  And the body looks like it would fit Dwayne Johnson.  And this is supposed to be a cropped sweater.  So I laugh a little, and then try to pat it into some smaller shape (mainly  by pulling some width back into the sleeves), and then I go to bed.  Because what else are you going to do?

The next morning - it's still a sweater for a long-armed linebacker. So, in desperation, I throw it into my clothes dryer with a load of clothes that were drying.  This is a gas dryer - hot! - but I let it tumble for five minutes and then pulled it out, and success!  Smaller, but not yet felted.  So then I put it back out on the table to block, and pull and smooth and coax, and it sort of starts to look like a regular sweater.   And - you won't believe it - in the end it worked! Yes, the sleeves are longer than necessary, but not terrible (and actually quite cozy if it was really cold, unlike today that is supposed to be 70 degrees but I don't care I'm wearing it anyway because New Sweater!) 

So here it is - it pretty much worked!  Yes it could be smaller, but I'm a fan of loose cropped sweaters (because otherwise I kind of feel like a sausage spilling out of its casing, but that's just me.)  I'm going to wear this thing and embrace the positive ease, and I kind of also think this stitch pattern may start to contract a bit too.  I'll keep you posted if anything changes.

 To summarize:  desperate times call for desperate measures.  And sometimes they even work.




  • Sumner Smith
  • knitting