The Bright Side

The Bright Side

What a week it has been. From being without internet for days to the weather making the Dutch holiday “Konings Dag” (Kings Day) a weary and wet event and not to mention I locked myself out of our apartment…again… I think its time to curl up with a cup of tea and knit away.

IMG_20160428_215841Boschebollen in the spirit of Konings Dag! Look at that orange chocolate!

Alex and I have two beautiful, cuddly and immensely curious cats. I love them dearly and they are my house companions but as a knitter, I’m constantly  on the battle of keeping them from laying all over my projects! Their favorite spot as of late is to sleep in my basket I keep my current projects in. While it is adorable and I’m sure it is quite comfortable, they shed horribly all over my WIPs. Solution? Remake the basket into a smaller basket with a lid. Sorry kittyfurs, I’m sure you’ll find another favorite spot to sleep in!

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Whilst binging YouTube videos earlier, I learned a new technique! A lot of my knitting and crochet projects are done with acrylic yarns. I use acrylic for a multitude of reasons. The colors range is wide and vibrant, its durable and can be washed  and lasts for ages. It holds its shape well and the colors never fade, but acrylic yarn does have its drawbacks too. You can’t simply put it in a wool wash and pin it flat and leave it to dry and call it a day. Soon after you unpin it from drying the edges will begin to curl and the piece will go back to its original shape before you blocked it, defeating the whole purpose of blocking. All any knitter wants is a nice finished project that lays how its supposed to lay and drapes how it is meant to drape.

Steam blocking is the solution to all your acrylic yarn problems. Its a permanent solution and with careful manipulation of your project, you can bend the acrylic fiber to your will and have a nice finished look and a project that looks just how you want it. So off I went to dust off the iron that has been sitting in a bag taking up space in our closet for…longer than I’d like to admit. I don’t iron clothes…Ever. For those of you gasping “But what about the wrinkles?!”, where’s your sense of adventure? Adds character.

So I’ve dusted off my iron, grabbed an acrylic swatch that was all sorts of mangled from being stuffed in a box for reference at later times, and gave it a shot. It was like magic. A few puffs of steam and the fabric swatch just seemed to let out a big sigh. All the stitches relaxed and made the fabric very drapey, the corners laid flat, it looked like a perfect rectangle instead of the previously indistinguishable shape.  Best of all, what truly blew me away was how SOFT the fabric became after a 3 minute steam blocking. Acrylics are not known to be the softest yarn but after some steam I just want to snuggle with this tiny swatch.

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Excited by the results of my test swatch, I immediately went to my yarn cabinet and dug out a table center piece I crocheted months ago but the way the edges curled up drove me bonkers so I tucked it away in a shelf in project time out until I figured out a way to fix it. I laid it out on a tea towel and steamed away, pinching and smoothing and making it the shape it was supposed to be. Now it sits proudly on the coffee table in its glorious state of flatness. I really should have taken a before photo to show the true magic of the before and after but I was maybe a pinch skeptical and it didn’t come to mind in the spur of the moment experiment. If you’d like to see the video I watched, here’s a link! Steam Blocking Acrylic Yarn

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Now that I’ve shared my excitement on a new technique, a certain lazy hiker shawl is almost done and requesting my attention to finish it up!

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Until next time dearies.

-Wol Harpy

 

 

 

 

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