I’m asked occasionally what qualities make a good knitter or crafter. Perseverance, patience and a willingness to experiment are my top three qualities. Talent is not necessarily on there. This beret is a good example. The first time I made it, it came out huge. It sagged on my shoulders. There is good slouch, and bad slouch – this was definitely the latter. I pulled the whole thing out and reworked it, taking more care with my gauge swatches. This new beret is the result. It took a lot of patience to pull everything and redo it. I won’t pour out my limited time and money on a project only to abandon it at the final stage, even if that means going back to the beginning.
I’m very pleased with the new size of the hat, and would highly recommend the pattern. (Again, it’s Ravelry only: Star of the County Down) I unfortunately used 1.3 skeins, leaving me with quite a bit leftover. The yarn, Rowan Wool Cotton, is a pleasure to work with, blooms beautifully, and feels wonderful to wear. Happy fall!
The other photo I have posted is the before blocking photo. I know many knitters who resist blocking because it sounds time consuming. Just look at the difference in this finished object between the before and after washing. It looks a million times better! Maybe we should think of blocking as “washing” instead. The same crafters who wouldn’t dream of sewing with unwashed fabric need to understand that not washing finished knits is the same thing. You need to see if the dye bleeds, give the opportunity for the stitches to relax, fall into the shape you have made, and then dry. And it that doesn’t motivate you, know that there are lots of people like me in the world who will see you walking down the street in your beautiful new sweater, take one look and know you haven’t washed it.
Maybe it’s also that I take so long on big projects – I drag them to the beach, camping, through road trips all as WIPs, so when they are finished, the washing really gets some of the dirt out.
An easy tip – use Euclan. Do not use woolite on fine fabrics. Use Euclan instead. You can buy it online, from yarn shops, from Target, from lots of places. You don’t even need to rinse it out! Just fill a bowl or bucket or pot with the appropriate amount of water and Euclan , swish your item, let it soak for 10 minutes, drain, and get the excess water out with towels (not by wringing). It’s really transformative.