Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Observe and Report

Being a scientist by training, there is nothing I like better than to observe and quantify. For example, in a previous blog post I chronicled how blocking improved pair of fingerless mitts by defining the lace pattern as well as smoothing out the stockinette portions. It was a interesting study and I thought I should follow up on it by examining how blocking fares with another knitting technique, fair isle.

The photo above compares a fair-isle glove before and after blocking. I can see a slight difference between the two in the cuff area, but I am surprised that blocking did not do more to clean up my uneven pattern stitches. I will have to pay more attention to the evenness of my stitches the next time I'm working in fair isle.

That's not to say that blocking didn't do anything. It actually smoothed out the surface of the knitting so that all of the stitches lay flat and aren't bumpy. If only for this textural reason, I think it's worth blocking my future fair-isle projects. At the very least I will block my next fair-isle item because I want the second glove to match the first!


doviejay said...

This is lovely!

Jenny L said...

These are very pretty, Kristin! And the blocking is interesting to see. I'm currently working on the Anemoi mittens (in purple and green!) and have been wondering how much blocking will do to fix some of the uneven stitches.

I think most of my unevenness is due to my tension, since this is the first time I've tried carrying one yarn in each hand rather than carrying both in the left hand (and honestly, my first one of the mittens looks like something of a scientific study in different ways of tensioning the yarn in my right hand), but I wonder if some of the unevenness is due to my yarn (I've noticed that the Jamieson's shetland spindrift, which I think is what you used for these gloves too, is kind of varying thicknesses throughout). Hmmm. Must keep experimenting!

Kristin said...


I'm sure that most of my unevenness is due to tension, which blocking did not seem to fix. I'm holding one yarn in each hand, so I'm going to have to pay more attention to my left-hand tension (I usually carry with my right, so that tension is fairly even).

I'm also using Shetland Spindrift and rather like it. Yes, it's uneven, but it grabs really well for fair isle work.

I can't wait to see your Anemois. I made a pair a long while ago and loved the pattern.