September 17, 2003

Seaming, swatching, and how to make your own damn blocking board.

Why, it's a seaming party! [Breaks open a piņata.]

That's right. I'm finally blocking and seaming the pieces of my pretty cotton jacket. I do believe I won't have to wait until next spring to wear it! The weather has gone from rainy to sunny, with a bit of coolness in the morning. Definitely cotton jacket weather.

Things got a bit close for a while there, though. As I knit the second sleeve [check it out...doesn't that little piece at the top of the sleeve cap look funky?] I realized that I was coming perilously close to running out of yarn. So close, that I actually ripped out my swatches and started using the yarn from them. My, it's funny how one's Catholic upbringing makes a big appearance as one encounters the "I don't think I'll have enough yarn to finish this project" problem. I found myself praying to the yarn saints repeatedly as I knit that sleeve cap. Thankfully, I was left with the yarn pictured to the right of the sleeve. However, it does seem like a tiny bit for a neckband in 2/2 rib. Fervent praying to the yarn saints will take place as I knit the neckband.

Now that I'm in the process of blocking and seaming the pieces of the pretty cotton jacket, I am now entitled to start swatching for future projects. Behold the swatches I've just knit, washed and blocked, as they sit nicely on my "blocking board". Those are swatches of Bouton d'Or Balzane, Phildar Frimas and Phildar Coton Microfibres. Yarn that is just waiting to be knit into...something ;-)

As you can see, my "blocking board" is nothing fancy. I came up with it after I found the floor to be a dangerous place for knits when one has a toddler who likes to ride his trike all over the apartment. And this one works so much better. Here's how you can make your own damn blocking board, too:

1) Get an old folding card table salvaged from the in-laws.

2) Place in a spare room where there is no humidity.

3) Unfold a large cardboard box, and place flat on the table.

4) Place large sheet of plastic (I use plastic recycled from the clothes coverings provided by dry cleaners) on top of the cardboard.

5) Place easy-to-dry fabric on top of the cardboard. (I use a smooth white towel, which I discovered allows me to see if any of the yarn colors bleed when wet, but I might change to a plaid or checked pattern to make measuring easier.)

Voilā! D.I.Y. blocking board. I plan on getting a staple gun so I can really go to town with the crafty stuff. (Okay, I'm kidding. But a staple gun would be a fun thing to have.)

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30 comments to this entry:

I am waiting with baited breath to see a picture of you modeling the cotton jacket. I bet it will be lovely, and then I will have to make it too!
somehow, a staple gun just seems like trouble waiting to happen in a house with a little guy... I remember my brother (or was it my sister?) stapling his finger with a normal stapler and howling in pain... I can just imagine the damage a staple gun could do. and what a tease you are with your swatches! spill the beans, sister! :P
That's going to be one beautiful cotton jacket! Can't wait to see it finished.
There are yarn saints? I'm going to have to look that one up. Maybe I can find some yarn saint prayer cards to keep in the stash and repel moths. Hmm...I found embroiderers, spinners (and spinsters-will have to make note of that one)weavers, and shepherds, but no knitters yet.
That's funny. I love staple guns. But you have to be careful. From my experience, they can be dangerous!
Buy the staple gun. (But just hide it really well, and really high to keep it away from the babe.) My parents bought me a home tool set for Christmas (with stuff like a hammer, screw drivers, tape measure, pliers, and other basics). One of the items in there was a staple gun. I've definitely gotten my parent's moneys worth out of it. I've used it to staple batting and fabric over a homemade head board. I've used it to reupholster a dining chair. And I've used it for other miscellaneous stuff too. Once you have one you'll find a lot of uses for it, and wonder how you ever lived without it. It makes being crafty soooo easy. Also, thanks for the info on making your own blocking board. I'm in serious need of a board, but was turned off by the high price of a "real" blocking board. This sounds like it would be super easy (and cheap!) to make.
I have another blocking board solution that I put to use here -- very similar to yours, really. I have one of those cheap cardboard cutting boards from the fabric store that people get just to protect tables. It already has grid lines to help with measuring and is thick enough to support pins. Plus, it folds up and hides when not in use.
Don't delete this message until you've read it through at least twice. You need to hear this. Why do you filter your comments? Does anyone else do that? No. They don't need to. Meanwhile, you leave rude, anonymous comments all over the web. You are a mean, hurtful person and people know it. You lie constantly and you threaten people. You're not fooling anyone, except sweet innocents who don't deserve it, and if you keep treating people badly, what you've done will likely become common knowledge. Is that what you want? So behave. Act like someone your son can be proud of. And if you go off threatening people because of this message, you clearly will not have gotten the point. This is the point: treat people with respect. If they do things you don't like, ignore them, don't beat them into the ground.
Will those funky bits at the top become saddle shoulders? Tis what they look like to me. Beautiful work!
Good tip, Michelle! Thanks for sharing. I like that idea! I like to wet block, though. I wonder if the board would get ruined if I placed wet knits on it... Alissa: Is that what they're called? I didn't know the name but that's the little piece that gets sewn to the front and back pieces. I've already sewn one and it looks NEAT. Dear "Anonymous", I do not leave anonymous mean comments anywhere because I don't like it when "anonymous" people do it to me. I filter my comments because of people like you. This is MY site, and I decide what gets published on my dime. I got tired of getting comments from those who were rude for no reason. A few longtime visitors to this site and to my other site know this and HAVE SEEN IT. Stop acting like I haven't kept weblogs for over three years. Instead of taking off comments entirely, I filter them because I need the knitting feedback from other knitters. This is my knitting weblog, not a chat forum where anybody can walk in and act like an ass for no reason. If anyone wants to do that, they can do it elsewhere because my family reads this. Chances are you're the one leaving rude comments "all over the web", and you know it. However, I've let your "anonymous" comment through this time because this has gotten out of hand and I refuse to take heat for something I haven't done. Before you go accusing and spouting off about who's being mean and lying, you'd better go to your own site and the sites you visit, and review all entries and comments. You think it's nice to harp on others in little gossipy groups and act passive-aggressive? It's childish and petty. It lacks respect, and if you think that no one else hasn't noticed it you're mistaken. Clearly, someone is having fun getting rises out of others and attempting to broaden the rifts between people. Also, you'd better review your e-mail folders to make sure that you haven't sent any hypocritical e-mails about anyone because eventually, they get forwarded and become "common knowledge". And are you sure that you haven't left spiteful comments here before? I've deleted rude comments but I save ALL e-mail notifications of them; I save ALL e-mail exchanges I have with people online. Lastly, I may come off as harsh and direct in e-mails to people with whom I have unpleasant encounters, but I DON'T make it a practice to leave them flames because it's cowardly and fruitless. As a matter of fact, one of your new friends once left a snotty comment here and I deleted it because it looked rude and was not related to the entry on which she commented. I replied to her via e-mail in a very blunt manner, but I left no flames on her site afterwards and she knows this. However, it's easy to point the finger at those who make their dislike obvious. Now. Here's my point: Call me what you will, but don't you dare accuse me of something I haven't done. Stop flaming. Stop acting like a spoiled child. Treat others with respect as well. I haven't gone off on anybody publicly here and I don't make it practice to leave flames, so leave me be. Take your own advice and act like someone your own loved ones can be proud of. Edited to add: I just checked my raw server logs, and I know who you are in the event you thought I wouldn't be able to determine it, Ms. Safari/85 browsing Mac person on Mozilla 5.0 AppleWebKit/85 trying to surf in on a webcloaking device in a pathetic attempt to cover her IP (someone forgot to turn off javascript). I even know how many times you came back here.
2 things. Firstly I cannot wait to see that lovely cotton jacket. I have coveted the lovely crispness of the cables and the beauty of the pattern since the first time I saw the pattern. It looks great. Secondly this whole anonymous commenting business has got completely out of control. I second everything that Becky said above, I used to enjoy surfing around my favourite blogs but now I just find myself cringing at spiteful comments and wondering why the hell people are acting so childishly. Save this kind of stuff for the school playground where it belongs, we're all adults here - lets start acting like it.
Amen to that!
The cotton jacket is looking lovely! I'm getting envious. Wish I'd thought of making myself a lovely cotton jacket. And if you tell me that those sleeves are 3/4 length, I'll turn positively green! ;0) Those sleeve caps are hilarious looking. That'll be different to seam. Thanks for the tips on a blocking board - it is so difficult trying to block knits with toddlers around. I usually wet block on a small Ikea bench we have at the foot of our bed, but I can't use pins because the boys can get in there (they can get in everywhere, in fact!). Becky, I'm so sorry that someone is using your own weblog comments to abuse you. Not cool - anywhere, anytime. I know it's hard to leave a comment like that on your site, but I think it helps for us bloggers and readers to know that this sort of thing does happen even though it shouldn't. And you've set a good example of how to respond to it. I hope you can encourage others who might receive similar kinds of comments not to be intimidated.
If I also say that I think you're mean, will you make it better by sending me the pretty cotton jacket? :D No? Figured it was worth a try - the jacket looks like it's is going to be nothing short of gorgeous! I must admit, I'm continually enamored and encouraged by the projects you turn out - so smart! Keep on knittin and go get those internet baddies! Yah! Yah!
I will make an offering to the yarn gods on your behalf. Perhaps it will have something to do with chocolate.
I have found the yarn gods most helpful of late. The multiple years of Catholic education have caused me to have the same prayers as you! I have found that cursing less when sewing up seems to make them more likely to help! ;) As for Ms. Your Own Medicine, do you really think any of us want to hear ANYTHING you have to say? Way to go Becky, well said!
okay, that cotton jacket is so beautiful. You rock. And, by the way, the Phildar catalog my sister got me has that jacket in it..and I just keep hearing about yours..."Can you make it look like Becky's? Look at Becky's blog..." so looks like I have to knit one for a Christmas present....stop raising the bar! I can't knit like you!! (p.s. just kidding, you are my knitting idol.) (p.s. again..who is the crazy commenter and what is that all about? Knitting blogs are happy, not angry!)
the tops of those sleeves are so cool....they have me thinking "scarf...what about a scarf with that cable in it that ended in those pointy little things...hmmmmmm" i would have to knit at least four of them just for fun! (who'm i kidding, i have to finish the projects i have going, not knit random sleeve tops!!!) i've always known you to speak your mind so i find it hilarious that someone is accusing you of leaving anonymous comments. everyone can be nasty when we need to -- but grownups just outright do it and stand behind our actions. i'm sure glad my mom didn't name me "YOUROWNMEDICINE"!! :)
Becky--My condolences for having such a cowardly creep posting to your comments. Such jerks are not worthy of further attention,which they so pathetically seek. Love the jacket. Go ahead and get the staple gun. It's a cool tool, for fixing screen doors if nothing else, and several levels above the glue gun in the crafty-nerd hierarchy.
Becky, that sweater is soooooooo pretty! How I wished I could knit like you. Currently, I'm having lots of trouble getting my stockinette stitch right. Now I'm wondering what a cable stitch is? I'll have to research on that one :o)
Blimey ! Some anonymous person has their knickers in a twist. Don't let it upset you [although ,of course,I would !].We love you,Mistress Becky. :0] O.K. I didn't have time to comment earlier so came back to say how beautiful your cotton jacket is looking,and I love the shoulder strip - looks so tailored when finished.Eagerly awaiting the dancing pics ! p.s. I've said before ,often,it's my / your blog.I/you can delete,exclude & edit as we please.
Hi Becky! Your blog is one of the best knitblogs out there. I always learn something reading your entries. Don't let rude people get you down - I think they just envy your talents anyway. BTW I just purchased yarn to make this jacket. Not sure if it will turn out as nice as yours though.... Oh well, I'll try!
Yeesh! What a weirdo. Great response to a frankly bizarre comment. On a more pleasant note, I can't wait to see those shoulders seamed up. The pretty cotton jacket is looking very pretty indeed, and a big thank-you to the weather for being just right to wear it. ;) So what's up next after the seaming party?
Repentent sinner: Oh Father, forgive me for I have sinned. Priestly dude: Yes my child, speaketh of this sin. Repentent sinner: I am coveting a rabbit's jacket... I am envying my neighbour's goods and talents... oh Father, what ever will I do? Priestly dude: My child, you know the rules: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you... and that means in everything. Repentent sinner: Oi! Lay off the Catholic guilt trip, Father. I'm not the one leaving nasty comments. Now, let's get down to business - what am I meant to do about my jacket envy? Priestly dude: Oh, get over it and knit yourself one. Dur! Repentent sinner: Does that mean no Hail Mary's??? Priestly dude: Sigh. PS Having made a great friend in Becky, I find it very hard to believe such a generous, funny and caring person would be out there leaving nasty, supposedly 'anonymous' comments - particularly as she knows so much about hidden geek info. Whoever you are, give it a rest. There is so much grief and sadness in the world as is - don't add to the pile with your petty immature ways. Do something constructive instead, and put your energy into helping people!
Becky! Your jacket is Mahrvelous!!! Just what I needed to get off my A** and start some Aran this Fall. I actually got some discontinued Tuscon by Plymouth that is *almost* like AllSeasons that I'm going to try. Love that light, fluffa feel to the blendy yarn. BTW, you are too polite to the rude folk who are coming atcha. I get flamed all the time for no discernable reason (it's hard to figure out how some people interpret things?!) and I'm planning on having a Flaming Friday sometime where I'm going to post the most ridiculous ones I've received, so everybody can have a good laugh!
Becky -- can't wait to see your jacket in full action glory. It looks totally fabulous in your pictures. Be sure to make the appropriate sacrifices to the yarn gods before proceeding! P.S. To your rude commenter: Becky has always left nothing but nice encouraging comments on my blog, perhaps you have her confused with someone else. P.P.S To Becky: such a polite well reasoned response to a coward. It is constantly amazing to me that people would say things to people over the internet that they wouldn't *dare* to say to them in person. It's your space. Edit, delete or deal with any comment or comment content as you see fit!
Hi Becky, i'm not a knitter, but i look at your website all the time b/c my sister carrie knits (carrieoke). i just wanted to tell you that: a. i lOVE your site, and it makes me want to knit, and b. i don't know anything about the blogging world, but carrie says you're a super cool chick, and your website makes me laugh all the time. so i don't know what the weird angry comment was about, but i thought your response was well worded and quite reasonable. thanks for sharing your knitting stuff online! oh, and i really want carrie to knit me that white jacket. that's secretly why i bought those phildar catalogs. :)
I am a beginning knitter and I LOVE your site. So do NOT let that creep get you down. I was steaming when I read that the son of my friend says and he's 4 years old and very, ver wise....mean people suck. HUGE FAVOR TO ASK: I am having major delayed Becky-envy. Can I get the English version of the pattern from you? I am going to try to hunt down the yarn. I really want one of these sweaters.
Hi Becky I have been reading your website for some months now and thought I would say "G'Day". I love the site, I have learned so much from your comments, and those of the other knitters. I learned to knit when I was about 10, but only ever made a scarf. Since I found your site I have made my three year old son 3 jumpers (sweaters?) and am starting to think about knitting myself something. I am in Australia and we are just coming into summer, so you've given me heaps of inspiration. Thanks!
Sticks and stones, sticks and stones.... And I thought kids in the schoolyard can be mean and spiteful. You've set a good example to how to act like an adult (civilized) even in cyberspace. I commend you.

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