April 27, 2005

Why, it's a block party.

Oh, block us, already.
Slideshow, slideshow!
P.S. Look at all those ends I have to weave in.
Don't you feel just awful for me?

Get out your calendar, friends, and circle this day using a great big red marker because I finished knitting the pieces of my son's cotton jacket and immediately starting blocking them! I didn't procrastinate, and I certainly didn't start a new project even though that's what my impatient self usually does. As soon as I pulled the second sleeve off the needle I slapped the pieces onto the blocking board, pinned them down and gave them a steam boost they'll never forget. (And blocking "board" is a term I mean literally as my blocking board is a recycled cardBOARD box that I cover with used plastic and a smooth bath towel. It's the same board I've been using for the past couple of years. D.I.Y, bay-beeeeee!) And speaking of which, I've got a slideshow showing exactly how I put together my fancy blocking board and how I blocked the pieces. You know, 'cause I'm a blocking 'ho and all.

Next up after blocking: Seaming, picking up stitches for and knitting the collar, then on to the zipper with its zipper bands. Ay, the ZIPPER. My fingers ache at the memory of the last zipper I sewed in [my son's boyish jacket, remember?]; after sewing in the zipper I meticulously stitched on some ribbon to hide the zipper and it seemed to take forever. All those little stitches! My index finger and thumb looked (and felt) like I had spent the afternoon poking my fingers with toothpicks. Send thimbles.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the spurts of good weather we're having here. Sunny days with no wind or rain means it's time to head out and get some air.

Partial view of Lyon from Fourvière.
[Click to ENLARGE.]

I took this shot as we walked out of Fourvière Aventures urban forest park, where I got to pretend I was Tarzan by swinging from tree to tree:

Rabbit on a wire.
What's that? Photo not BIG enough for ya?

In the photo above I was zooming down a cable while hanging onto a pulley and I was, of course, yelling like Tarzan because it was part of the moment. Other activities consisted of moving from tree to tree by swinging from ropes, climbing through nets and walking on tightropes or wiggly ladders. [Yes, Mom, I was strapped in a harness.] I haven't had this much "look how high up I am" fun since I went rock climbing and rappelling in the Grand Tetons. Are we gonna go back and do it again? Heck, sssshhhhYEAH!

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56 comments to this entry:

OMG, as much as you look like you are enjoying that, I would be terrified. Me and heights? Not so much!

On the other hand, your D.I.Y. blocking board makes blocking look so easy, I am beginning to think my knitting does not have to remain in perpetual unseamed limbo.

Thanks for the inspiration!

I love the color of his sweater! And that place looks like tons of fun. :)

Too fun! I'm going to have to find some cardboard and make my very own blocking board...thanks for the DIY instructions...it seems blocking is one of those things that's just put out there like new knitters are supposed to understand thru osmosis or something. Guess this means I get to go to IKEA now? ; )

that looks awesome -- but i wouldn't be screaming to be tarzan but because i'd be totally entirely freaked out. go you, you adventurous woman!

and man, are you productive kntting-wise ~ can't quite over that yet ;)

Thanks for the tip about smooth towels. I just use a regular towel on the floor. It takes forEVER to dry! Do you steam all your knits? If it's pure wool, you wouldn't steam it, would you? Man, swinging from the trees look soooooo fun! Now that I'm working full time again, I have to decide if I want to knit or do something outdoorsy on my weekends. Time is such a precious commodity!

ooo so now the rabbit secret blocking board comes out...good to know. better than pinning a towel to my throw rug and then spraying the h-e-double hockey sticks out of it!

Love that blue...very cool.

Nice Tarzan...you are so Fun!

Great blog, and thank you for the slideshow on the blocking - very informative. Would you mind telling me what those boards are with gridlines that I've seen on your blog and other people's that you lay finished pieces on to?

Thanks for that blocking board demo as I needed that lesson, I was slightly confused since I am a new knitter and all. You are one fast woman on that knitting, I can't get over your productivity.

Then there is the urban forest...that looks like a blast. That picture of you hanging from the cable is great.
Good luck with that zipper...can't wait to see him in the finished piece!

I love your slide shows, they are absolutely top scoring. And I'm looking forward to see the Captain in his new sweater. Perhaps some dancing shots?

There will definitely be dancing shots! The Captain is a regular whack dancer :-)

The outdoorsy things are definitely starting up around here again! That's why I love the arrival of good weather because I get to have the outdoor fun I enjoy, but the downside is that knitting gets pushed down to a lower tier.

And I do steam block 100% wool! I'll do it on a very low heat setting and gently steam. The only things that don't get steam blocked are novelty yarns. Everything else usually gets a dose of the steam, though. I find it works fine on my own knits. But! I always use a covering; I never put steam on the fabric directly.

That is a world class picture of you screaming your head off. I've done that tree-to-tree thing before, and I LOVED IT!

What a great tutorial in the adventures of blocking! Thanks! And that swingin' from tree to tree is quite fun. BF and I did it in Nicaragua last year. We're both happy to report that the monkeys straight overhead did not have to relieve their bladders at that precise moment. =p

That's it, I'm packing my things and coming to France. :) Nah, just kidding, although I really wish I could. Nice pics (as usual)! It looks like you are having so much fun. Will you do a slideshow of the zipper installation? **hint, hint**

That looks like so much fun - I'm jealous - I wanna go!!! One of the greatest things about pictures sometimes isn't the main event but what is happening in the background. The kid laughing was almost as funny as rabbit on a wire. Too cute!

No way, couldn't do it. I have become affeared of heights in my old age. Now I wonder that I ever rock climbed or rappelled in the Rockies those many years ago. Or would walk out to the edge of a natural bridge and look down. Shudder! Can't wait to see the seaming party photos!

Rossana cracked me up! There were no monkeys in these trees but having them around would have been fun. I need to check out a similar tree adventure for when I go to Mexico.

The funny thing about the Tarzan photo is that I didn't know that it was being taken; Monsieur Le Hubby snapped it from below and I didn't know that he had taken photos until I came down from the trees. And that kid laughing in the background was a plus! It was a nice surprise to see him laughing when I downloaded the photo from the camera.

P.S. to Liz: I did do a zipper slideshow for my son's boyish jacket. I linked to that project's archive page in this entry. Check it out!

Oh man, that looks like so much fun!!
The jacket is looking perfect, as always.
Now you got me wanting to make a my own board...maybe those Dell boxes down the hallway will do...gotta go grab'em. Lateeer!

That slideshow is awesome! Thanks for posting it..I will have to try blocking that way. (love that random bible reference on the drycleaning plastic..WTF?!?)

YOu are brave. There is NO WAY I could do something like that. I am deathly afraid of heights, let along swinging from trees.

Zip lines rock! I wanna go... What a great idea!

I'm sorry Becky, but I will *not* swing from the top of the Eiffel Tower with you.

The look on your face is hilarious! Was there a camera taking all the action, the way they do it at amusement park rides?

And rock climbing and rapping in the Tetons? Tell me Skinny Rabbit used to be a climber!

Wow, I never thought of coming to France for adventure tours. That might just move it up the ol' vacation spot wish list a bit. That and the chance to see rabbits in the trees.

Becky! Awesome job - the sweater looks fabulous - I can't wait to see it all sewn-up.

I just finished a decedents, estates, and trust at exam this morning and it's nice to know the end is near!

Ooooh - new project, new project I can hardly wait!

AHH, and I thought I was the only thin diaper blocking recycler around! I am thinking of your cotton sweater as i plan tonight's 'picking up stitches on hubby's Rebecca sweater' for the final knitting on a turtleneck cable sweater that has taken weeks longer than I had hoped. I haven't anything for a kir royal, but a splash of tequila should help ease the sudden desire for me to procastinate and start a new sweater for myself. shucks.

Girl!! Those needles are on fire!!! Thank you for the "blocking demo" love it!! Now why did I not think of using the Ikea box!! : )

Hi, Becky!
I also enjoyed the mini- blocking tutorial. It's good to see that someone else improvises in this area. And thanks for posting the wild adventure shot! I was just thinking when I saw it that Captain Destructo must adore having you for a mom, 'cause you're so adventurous! Speaking of the Captain, where was he when you made your debut as Tarzan? I bet he had a grand time that day!
--Kathy B.--

You're a brave woman! :)

Oh my. You could threaten to take away my addis. You could tell me that Lorna's was no longer sharing her laces. You could ban me from ever ever ever touching Rowan yarn ever again... and still you would not get my up onto that rope, harness or no harness. You're a brave, brave wack rabbit.

wow, that looks like SO MUCH FUN!!!!!! we pretend that we're going to go on "The Amazing Race" one day and do stuff like that. :-)

OK, now your slideshow has really done it. i can't pretend that my joseph coat is too big to get blocked and seamed. great tutorial, thanks!

That is awsome!!! I rock and ice climb but I have always wanted to go to one of those parks as they look like so much fun. The blocking tips are going to come in VERY handy when I get my lilac sweater done...Thanks!~ Your blogs as always make a great read :)

*beating chest with both hands* (OUCH!) awww eeee awww eeeee awwwwwwww!!!!!!! (my best Tarzan impression!)

Me Tarzan! You good knitter/blocker! ;)

Fabulous slideshow, Becky! Looking forward to seeing the finished sweater!

i remember doing something similar when i was on holidays in malaysia - i am with so you, it is a great way to have some serious fun! i also tried to learn how to swing and jump from a trapeze during the same holiday. this made me realise that i never would have cut it if i had of followed my dreams of running away to the circus.

i've also got a homemade blocking board which i use - but mine involves plywood, cork floor tiles, quilters wadding, gingham and lots of craft glue.

Oh, my thoughts were mailed to you!!! I have just finished back and front of a top that really needs blocking. I was wondering where to get info and guess what? I found you! Thank you so much, you are really an expert in the field.
Now I am on the way to find cardboards and search for my boy's retired cloth diapers.:)

Awesome blocking board idea! And to think, all this time I've been using my family room carpet and then trying to keep the kids, cats, and dog away. And wouldn't you know, I happen to have quite a stash of baby towels AND cloth diapers. I just need to go to IKEA, I think.

The swinging in the trees looks like a blast. I think I'll have to go outside and have an urban forest adventure straight away.

Oh how scary, rabbit! Not the blocking, but the Tarzan bit. Although blocking can be scary too... ;-)

Oh thanks for this DIY instructions! I had been wanting to make my own blocking board :)

Btw, some people said that I should steam block with wrong-side up. Would you say this is the way to go, or doesn't matter?

Oh, and do you have any tips on blocking knitting that contains acrylic? (since you're the blocking master :) hehehe )

Good thing that not all the boxes from our new IKEA dining room chairs have gone out with the recycling yet. Don't think hubby realizes that for our money - I've got a blocking board out of the deal too!

I soooo envy you living in Lyon, one of my favorite places in France (my 13 y.o. Captain Destructo's fav too, especially for the food!). Okay, so I've only been to Paris and Lyon, but still....

Ok it is sealed. I am coming to Lyon and I am SOOOO going to swing me on a rope. Thumping the chest will however be considered optional and contingent on my mood at that point :)

In the mean time, think you could share some of that sun with me?? Grisel is killing me and my wanna wear a skirt spring feeling up here!

Wheeeee... I can hear you now! :) What fun--but I think I probably would have peed my pants.

Love the cotton jacket!

Hmmm...let's see if I can leave a coherent comment today. I was so busy figuring out how to italicize a word in my last comment that I forgot to proof for sense...ah well.

Meanwhile, instead of admiring your un-rabbitlike love of dangling from thin wires high over the ground, I was busy trying to figure out what sweater you were wearing. Priorities, people!

Ah, blocking. You should have seen me last night, trying to block a stubbornly curling scarf. I poured water into the iron only to notice that, as fast as I was pouring it in, it was gushing out the bottom. I guess steam irons don't like being dropped on the floor repeatedly? Who knew? Guess I'll be buying a new iron before I do any blocking.

I've been lurking here for a while, but I just had to tell you that you inspired me to make a blocking board. Hurray for DIY!

Your site is so inspirational to me, as a semi-new knitter. Thank you for that. I can't wait to see the Captain in his new sweater. If only I had your mad knitting [and of course dancing] skills!

OH NO!!! I swear, my karma is all off right now.

That yarn in the stash-o-mat is lovely! But a burglar just broke into my apartment and stole my phone, my iPod, my digital camera...:(

So all my normal yarn money is going towards replacements!

At least he/she steal my yarn and needles, right?

I can't wait to see the little jacket!

oh, the sweater is going to be so fun once you get it all put together. I really appreciate you explaining how that blocking board went together! Nice!

I love rope courses. My swim team in college did one every year! go team work!

Ah! The mystery of a good blocking revealed. Thanks once again to the rabbit for inspiration and more DIY!

I'm so glad to see that there are some fellow recyclers of cardboard boxes and cloth diapers out there. Do-it-yourself, oh yeah!

Re blocking on the wrong side of the work: I rarely do this, but only because I *always* cover my knits before steaming. I never, ever put steam directly on the fabric. If you don't use a covering, steaming on the wrong side of the work is a good idea. And I almost always block yarns with acrylic content; the only time I don't is if the curling nature of the acrylic lends itself to the shaping of the knit. For example, the fluffy jacket with wild fringe I knit has a collar that folds outwardly thanks to the curling nature of the acrylic content in the yarn. I didn't overly block that part because I wanted it to continue to curl outwards.

P.S. to Sarah: I wasn't wearing a sweater. I was wearing a t-shirt my mom sent me with Strawberry Shortcake [!] on it and the phrase "Life is Delicious". Over that I was wearing a regular hooded lightweight gray sweatshirt. Tree Swinging Gear :-)

Oh, and one more thing to add, your site it one of the most useful out there... Like I said, the details are great for those of us who haven't tried certain techniques yet or for those new knitters out there! Thanks for your kind comments about the bag, I had a successful first day using it! Happy knitting!

That park looks like SO MUCH FUN! I am afraid of heights but I think I would love it anyways...it would be a challenge.

Did you change your blocking board from the old folding table? I made mine out of a 1" piece of styrofoam but the baby decided it would be fun to jump on and broke off one of the corners. Now I have to figure something else out!

HA, that dry cleaning plastic comment made me snort my diet Coke! I'm from Oklahoma originally and boy, you see that everywhere!

becky, you totally just made my "the coolest moms i know" list. even though you were totally already on it. :)

the sweater looks great! good luck with that zipper - ugh. :(

That ropes course looks freakin' awesome!!!

oh that zip line looks sooo fun! i so want to try that. i am a big fan of the amazing race. the z-line is one of my favorite parts. i would love to do that!

It looks like so much fun over there...maybe a little TOO much fun. jk. I have been so busy at work I haven't had time to get on your site and be envious of all of your creations....everything is so beautiful! You inspired me to try a cardigan...haven't gotten past the guage swatch but the yarn is sitting there looking at me...waiting...

Keep up the beautiful work...as you can tell from the traffic to your site, we love seeing your knitting adventures.

Hugs, Christine (in Virginia)

You are so inspiring. My big creativity burst comes with my cello practise each day, but your blog makes me think, hey, so I can't knit what I want to knit, so do something simple at least. I've never gotten victory over my gauge, all my swatches are too short by 3/4 inch. no matter how much needle switching I try. Anyway, thanks for sharing all you do. Its fun to be here visiting.

Weeeeee! I finally followed all your useful blogging directions and now have my own little blocking board with its first visitor pinned on it. Instead of old diapers (as there have yet to be babies in this house) I used a tired hubby-t as the cover. It worked swimmingly. Thank you. Thank you. Thank YOU!

Can I just say I find it hilarious that the dry cleaning bag has a biblical reference on it? I had to look it up to see if it had any sort of a clever tie to dry cleaning, but in that I was disappointed.

Thanks for the blocking demo. Am feeling guilty I didn't spend the time to block past projects in my haste to try them on. Now I've got a blocking board and instuructions so no more excuses. Love your site - can't believe how fast you knit.

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