When Blocking IS a Good Idea

When blocking is a good idea and basically rescues your project from certain death.

Call me a hypocrite. I know. I can’t even follow my own advice on the matter. I didn’t want to block this cowl because I feared the honeycomb stitch would wither flatly away. Before blocking, it was so plump and dimensional. And I loved that.

When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I developed this cowl in a big, fat loop because I wanted to avoid grafting. While I have FINALLY done enough grafting this past year to remember how to do it without re-watching the YouTube tutorial every stinking time, it’s still not my favorite thing to do. It requires a lot of concentration. I know myself well enough to know that my brain is not currently capable of such undivided focus.

My big ol’ loop construction created a problem. Of the devastating variety. My simple ribbed edges were folding in on one end, and the cowl was rolling a bit on the other end. The honeycomb was so luscious, but my cowl seemed fatally flawed.

I thought for sure it was going to require scissors. Or something drastic. Again.When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I didn’t want to do much. I sat with it for a week or so, picking it up now and again to ponder. I felt lazy. I didn’t want to cut the darn thing or unravel the cast-off. I just didn’t.

So I blocked it. Come as it may. What the hek.

I hereby offer this post as a compendium to my former opinion.When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I was EXTRA careful to wring out all of the water before laying it flat to dry. I hoped this alone might spare my beloved stitch.

It didn’t. My plump honeycomb wasn’t quite so voluptuous. BUT my edges were behaving themselves and my cowl was rescued for a perilous fate as a cat blanket. Good thing too, because it’s a cashmere blend (Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Dried Rose).When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea. Now that all the drama is over and I’ve  come out the other end all smiles and sunshine, I love this cowl. It’s long enough to loop twice perfectly. The worsted yarn gives it enough heft to stand firmly in front of my neck, showing off what’s left of the honeycomb luscilicious with just the right pizazz, snuggle, and warmth.

I am happy.

Which just goes to show, sometimes you can be standing on the brink, fearing all is lost, drowning in the dark morass of knitting hell.

And then you block, that magical formula of wool and water that, with a bit of luck, has the uncanny ability to make all right in the realm of yarn and needle.

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  • Reply Ge Ge February 29, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Now I want to make this. the color is sooooo lovely. This is the most pink that I’m allowing myself to get close to (*I’m allergic to pink*). Thanks for stirring up my cowl obsession. I’m itching to start some lovely Madelinetosh.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life February 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      My great pleasure!

      • Reply Ge Ge March 1, 2016 at 9:38 am

        Is this something new that you’re designing? I can’t wait to see it done. I will probably copy and do the same color.

        • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm

          Yep. It’s a work in progress…but it’s been a very windy road. We’ll see what comes. I will keep you posted. xoxo

          • Ge Ge March 1, 2016 at 4:07 pm

            Is this something new that you’re designing? I can’t wait to see it done. I will probably copy and do the same color.

  • Reply Paula @ Spin a Yarn February 29, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I love that color and the cowl looks so squishy and delightful! I really like honeycomb patterns. Yours turned out super cute 🙂

  • Reply bonnyknits February 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    LOL! I often avoid blocking if I can, much like swatching. Your cowl is truly gorgeous; I’m glad it turned out well enough for you to wear it. Do you have a pattern for this pretty thing?

  • Reply woolythymess February 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I love happy endings!!!! (and beautiful cowls….this one is lovely!)

  • Reply Ady Grafovna February 29, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    The cowl is beautiful! It still looks three dimensional in the photos too. 🙂

  • Reply pumpkin sunrise March 1, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Oh it is beautiful!!! I love how the cowl came out so pretty and the honeycomb stitch detail is perfection!

  • Reply Little Church Knits March 1, 2016 at 6:18 am

    After all, what’s an opinion without a compendium? …I love it!

  • Reply Essential Knitting Accessories - This Knitted Life March 2, 2016 at 4:50 am

    […] knew things had to change a few weeks ago when I caught myself stuffing a my cowl-in-progress in a paper grocery sack on the way out the door. A paper sack can serve many purposes, but it was a […]

  • Reply knittedblissjc March 2, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Sometimes I don’t block cowls for this exact reason- the texture! But I find that if the yarn is a a sturdy one and the needle size was right, it keeps the texture nice and plump, as opposed to getting stretched out. And high fives on choosing such a beautiful colourway, it’s spectacular.

    • Reply Andrea @ This Knitted Life March 3, 2016 at 9:06 am

      Thanks so much my dear, nice to know I’m not alone. I hope all is well up in the great North far away, and wishing you much quiet knitting time this week.

  • Reply Stefanie March 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    I’m glad you still had good texture after the blocking. The color is lovely.

  • Reply Judy March 6, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Hi…On you one paHe you have cream yarn and something you were knitting laying on a bag…what is that pattern…it would be a pretty scarf……

  • Reply naelany March 11, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    that came out beautifully 🙂 I love it. And I totally get the honeycomb reluctance as far as blocking it goes. Still, I love the slightly understated look of it here

  • Reply Caitlin February 11, 2017 at 6:35 am

    I tend not to block little things, like cowls and hats and mitts and such, but the big things yes. I’m in the midst of blocking a sweater that has lots of texture, and all you have to do, once the dimensions are correct, is go back and plump those cables! I pinch them to get the texture back, same with the raspberry stitch that’s throughout the pattern. It works wonders!

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