Blocking Question

I blocked the sweater I made and, simply put, it grew! If I reblock it and reshape it by pushing the yarn tighter together and pinning it, should it then stay put? The arms did grow a few inches more that I had wanted and if I can't make is smaller by reblocking it, then I can always rip out a few inches and redo the last few inches. The rest of the sweater is fine a bit bigger because I will wear shirts or even sweatshirts under it when I take it hiking. But I do want the arms the proper length and the cuffs to be tighter against my wrists.

Attached are pictures of the project. I am really proud of it and will be showing it off in Colorado in the cool of the evening or morning. there are two being "worn" by two of my white shirts. The other two show the difference between the unblocked sweater and the one Gigantor can wear with the long arms.

Any suggestions about reblocking? I am thinking that I will just do the the arms and not the torso. What do you guys think? Spray bottle? soak? steam? Any other suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Your input is always most welcomed. I want to try to reshape this week, so any suggestions that I can do quickly and get it dried by the trip next Thursday, the better things will be in my little knitting universe.

Thanks, guys!


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New York Built's picture

Mark, when I knit up a swatch, I "murdalize" the poor thing. Think of a past charge of yours whom you would like to see suffer unspeakable horror and give the swatch the same name you mentally gave that creature. You KNOW of whom I am speak...LOL. Yeah...THAT student...

In other words, assume nothing, test everything. Knit the swatch, including any variations, like ribbing, and note it's size. Then stretch it...hard. Hang it with weight attatched. THEN wash it. Hang it with weight again. Put it in your shoes as a sock liner, then go on seven-mile hike. Wash it again, and then steam it. Crush and fold it into it into the bottom of a container for a day. Then spread it out and measure your abused, whining, sniviling swatch. Smile at it and say to youself, "What's wrong, Princess?"

Now you know how it will perform...and be part of a successfull, therapeutic session at the same time!

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Mmmmm ... think I'll try this method on the swatch I am about to start. Interesting ...

If you liked the dimensions before blocking, you could try washing in very warm water with minimal agitation and then laying if flat to dry, without blocking. If you didn't like the dimensions before blocking, and the sleeves are knit from the top down, try reknitting the cuff end of the sleeves. You did a gorgeous (stupendous) job, especially with the zipper.

Bill's picture

My instinct says the arms will grow as the yarn matter how much you scrunch during blocking. I'd reknit the arms.

Crafty Andy's picture

personally I don't pin it , I lay it flat, but usually sweaters like that will stretch. When I make a sweater I always try to go with the old adage, "Look for a sweater that fits you well and emulate" . I just finished a seater a while ago, I am a short guy with a broad chest, so I have to make accommodate for both, that means that the sleeves are usually shorter and may go with the small size, and the chest go with the medium. You need to do a gauge swatch and like Mark 'newyorkbuilt' said treat with passion. The swatch may give you a better idea of how the fabric is going to behave.

AKQGuy's picture

Sweaters must be switched, and as it's been said, terrorize that swatch. I to learned the hard way and have a lovely sweater that now looks like one of those sweater mini skirts. The sleeves did not stretch, but the torso did badly. Some day I'll cut off the cast off edge and pull back before casting it off again. Just not yet. It's still I the dark corner being punished.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks guys for the advice.

I am not going to make any adjustments to my sweater for now. I will more than likely just rip out the sleeves a bit and reknit the ribbed cuffs making the arms a few inches shorter...but not today. I will bring it along to the retreat in Colorado next week and perhaps some of those in attendance will guide me. It's going to get down into the 50s up in Estes Park, so a sweater will come in handy.

Mark...beating up a swatch is exactly what I will do on my next project, although it's going to be made from superwash merino wool, so it won't change too much I wouldn't think; it's fairly forgiving. I wonder, though, even a swatch won't be as heavy as a fully knitted sweater so it may not "grow" due to gravity as much.

Bill...I think you are absolutely correct. I was really surprised by my naïveté. As we all know too well, gravity certainly has it's effects on our human bodies, as well as the fabrics that cover them.

All in all, I think I can reknit and repair the arms/cuffs and proudly wear this sweater.


ronhuber's picture

I have had two sweaters that grew into robes. One made with alpaca and the other with superwash merino!! I agree with those that suggested you reknit the sleeves. Another wonerful reason to knit top down sweaters. The details on your sweater are wonderful.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks for the compliment on the details. I really took my time with it because of the cost of the wool. I'll get the sleeves figured out before colder weather sets in.


New York Built's picture


I realize you have joined the sadder but wiser chorus (wailing used to be economically viable, but no longer...hired mourners and criers at funerals are so rare, nowadays. I feel a new trend emerging!).

However, at the top of my pedantic drivel below, note bene ---

Assume nothing.

Substitute weight for the effect of gravity.

Wool pools merge the clippings from many, many sources, and unlike food and other consumables, merino sheep need only be a significant part of the mix to be called merino. In fact, similarly treated wool from all breeds of sheep can be blended together, treated with chemicals, dyes, mordants, elasticisers, relaxants, et cetera...(this last one, et cetera, gives me the shivers at the mere thought!) and called...whatever you choose to believe.

Just like Escalator, Kleenex, Xerox, Saran Wrap, Post-it, Wite-Out, CrockPot, Jacuzzi, Band-Aid, Zip-Loc, ChapStick, Aspirin, Davenport, Tupperware ---- superwash merino has leapt into immortality...a common noun.

Test everything.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

CLABBERS's picture

Ah, semantics and lexicon. Thanks for the clarification and explanation of the behavior of wools. You'd think by now someone would have invented some high quality polyester sheep!!! LOL.


New York Built's picture

Thanks to heavy adjusting of my Penfield Mood Organ, I no longer have dreams of polyester, electric, or any other ersatz sheep. But something still feels...artificial. I'll figure it out even if it kills me...if that bastard Deckard doesn't do it first.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

Tallguy's picture

Great job! We all watched as it came into being, and are very pleased with the results. You are getting pretty good at this! Ha-ha-ha

That is something we all have to learn by ourselves, no matter how much anyone else can try to forewarn you, blocking knitting reveals surprises every time. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Stretching is common with knitting, and most especially with some fibres. I've forgotten what you used. Some have a notorious reputation of stretching A LOT in various directions, while others do not. Really giving your swatch (make it a generous size) a thorough workout is a very good practice to follow. You certainly do want to know the worst that can happen before knitting the whole thing.

Sometimes re-blocking will make your garments re-shape themselves, and all may be well. However, I do think those sleeves will always stretch out in the wearing, so re-knitting is the only way to go.

I have cut off the cuffs, raveled what I needed to, and then grafted the cuffs back on. Worked well, and you learn to graft very well that way too! You can do that if you need to lengthen a sleeve or body of a sweater too. This is ideal if it was knit bottom up, since you can't rip out the ribbing in that direction.

Anyway, wear it a bit and see if there are more changes, and then fix the sleeves to suit you. You got yourself an excellent sweater!

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks so much for the advice and the compliment. I am quite flattered. I enjoyed the process and won't mind ripping out the sleeves a bit. I won't mind because it's still knitting. I could be doing this or making something else...knitting is knitting. It will also satisfy the perfectionist in me....I think it's in me somewhere...oh yes, there it is. Hiding under my imperfect self.

BTW the yarn is from Knit Picks and it's 55% merino wool, 25% superfine alpaca, 20% Donegal Tweed.


Potter's picture

I don't have any answers or ideas, but I am very amazed how different/ how high toned that sweater looks paired with the shirt compared to laying out on the board.
*hangs head* I'm female but I just don't "see" clothes possibilities.

CLABBERS's picture

I'm not sure what gender has to do with seeing clothing possibilities. I have in mind to wear the sweater with either the white dress shirt or a white t-shirt and jeans. I do have some brown khaki pants, along with a nice dress grey wool pair that I think will look good with it too. Time will tell. But, shhhhhhh.....the Paparazzi are everywhere, just waiting for the sweater's debut! LOL