Thursday, August 21, 2008

Land Ho!

Drifting is almost completely finished. I have numerous - not to say multitudinous - ends to weave in, and she will be all done. I tried to get some nice pictures for you but it was horridly dark today and the flashed shots were just too garishly lit for my taste. I opted to suppress the flash, ending up with a more subdued colour than in reality, but preferring the mellow tone of these photos.

I went to the fabric store this evening in search of buttons. Buttons are difficult. Buttons are problematic. Buttons are a tricky thing. You don't want them to overwhelm the garment, but it's all too easy to err on the side of caution and end up with nondescript, boring buttons. You want them to be eye-catching, but not obtrusive. As to size, you have to be careful with knitted items because the buttonholes are often fairly tight to begin with, but are easily stretched. A too-large button will pull the band out of shape - a too-small button will come undone at inopportune moments.

Today I had a pretty good button-search experience, actually, only trying seven different buttons before I found the winner. I tried two or three rather rustic-looking, matte plastic hearts and flowers, but though they looked fine on the papers, they looked cheap on the sweater. I went to a more standard, round button, but they were jaw-crackingly boring.

Then I spotted, hiding on the bottom rack of the button spinner, some beautiful pewter butterflies. They are a great shape for knitwear - about twice as wide as they are tall, so they will be easy to button (provided you put them in wing-tip-first) but the width will keep them in place once they are there. Also - butterflies! Pretty!

And here's more button love for you.

I spent yesterday blocking the sweater, and tried a new technique this time - forcing steam through the knitting using my iron, without touching the soleplate to the fabric.

It worked remarkably well. The knitting smoothed out beautifully, and dried quickly. I love blocking - everything looks so right, pinned flat and with a patina of mist over it. Wool loves water, and water covers a multitude of sins. I'll use the steam blocking method again, because it was so darn fast and easy. I still prefer the soak-and-stretch, but this garment was already biggish for the child's age.

Which brings me to, how can the final knitted piece be three-quarters of an inch bigger than the pattern says it will be, when my tension was spot-on? I am getting exactly 22 stitches over 4 inches - I should have a piece that is identical in size to the schematic given. That it is not, is just another example of how knitting can mess with your mind.

I'm trying not to get too annoyed, because it doesn't really make any practical difference in this case - the child is not going to get any smaller, after all - they can always roll her sleeves up for the first year she wears it.

But still. Irritating.

I will soon have the FO post ready, but I have a date with a tapestry needle, first. I will be busy for a couple of days, I think, weaving in ends, and then I will give the entire thing a once-over with the steam just to pretty it up a bit. The button bands need a good steaming, as they weren't knitted yet when I blocked the four individual pieces.

The button band, before the advent of buttons.

This was a nice quick knit - I would definitely do this pattern again. More notes on that, in the FO post later this week....or possibly next. In the meantime, here is a glimpse of the (pre-blocked) wrong side of the Fair Isle band, in case that floats your boat (as it does mine).


Susie Hewer said...

I love those butterfly buttons and the knitting looks gorgeous too. Can't wait to see the finished items.

Btw, I have another word for you. I've added word games to my thinking time when 'm doing long runs and Iast week I had to find 10 words that I like associated with running. How about this - proprioception!

Stace' said...

The buttons are adorable!

You always amaze me!


Dave Hingsburger said...

Me too, I love the buttons, good call. I can't wait to see the sweater. Thanks so much for doing this for us.

Brenda said...

Great button choice! The whole sweater is going to be amazing, hope to see it in person soon.

Linda said...

Perfect choice with the buttons. And, the back does float my boat - it's so nice when all of those floats just lie there so comfortably. A thing of beauty that probably only knitters appreciate.

Bethro said...

Amazing! I can't believe you finished it so quickly (minus the ends - don't want to jinx it).

The buttons are perfect. Any little one would love them.

Knitsonya said...

I am a believer in the steam as well. There is something about blocking that is just so satisfying. The sweater is lovely and those buttons are perfection!

kate said...

Floats my boat ... snort.

You and the puns!

Finding buttons is a crucial step. Frustrating when you can't find quite the right ones, so wonderful when you do. The butterflies are delightful.

knititch said...

lovely buttons. that is so great when one knit for children. they are attracted to buttons.

i love steam blocking and it wasn't before i entered the blog world i had heard of any other kind of blocking.

hope you are doing fine.

Kristine said...

I *ADORE* those buttons.

I was resisting the urge for this sweater, but think Lucy needs it. Tell me the smallest size I can knit it in is a 2, and I'll do it for next Christmas.

lizbon said...

Oh golly. Those butterfly buttons decidedly float my boat.

Sweater came out glorious.