So your project is finished but it didn’t turn out exactly like you thought it was going to. In fact, this object you are holding in your hands is a little lumpy (in all the wrong places), the fabric is tight and might feel like it could stand up on its own, and it really doesn’t look anything like the sample in the picture on the pattern. If your FO (finished object) is a garment, it might be a bit misshapen and, hey, why is this sleeve a different length than the other one? And what person in their right mind would call THIS a size large?? GAH!!
WHAT DID I DO WRONG???
Frustrating, right? We know…
Yes, we get this "question" frequently… occasionally accompanied by photos of the offending (offensive?) finished object (that’s an OFO… keep up on the acronyms here) attached to an email filled with pleas for help and, sometimes, a request to have the designer drawn and quartered in the public square at high noon then eaten by jackals.
Photo reference or not, our first question in return is “Did you block it?” Thankfully, most of the time this question brings about a joyous ending complete with the bluebird of happiness and a fanfare of celestial trumpets directly from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I say “most of the time” because there are those unfortunate instances when a gauge swatch was not made and the bluebird of happiness ain't gonna make an appearance anytime in the near future for fear of being baked in a pie with those blackbirds from that other nursery rhyme.
… let’s take into consideration that many stitch patterns and schematics REQUIRE blocking for your FO to come out looking like the pictures in the pattern. In fact, most of the time, blocking affects the drape of the fabric, the fit of the garments, and the set of the stitch pattern which all affect the very structural integrity of your FO to prevent your cardigan from turning into a floor length sweater dress halfway through the day. And talk about finishing… ever try to sew up the seams or set in the sleeve on an unblocked garment? ACK!!
The good news: This ain't rocket science. (whew!) Like the Sage said "The journey of a thousand yards (of yarn) begins with a single stitch."
Okay… so that's not how it goes but I've had a lot of coffee today so…
The sentiment is, however, the same whether you are looking at a long journey or eating an elephant (get that one?) or learning a new process to create your next FAB garment. We'll take this one step at a time and make it all come out to a FAB finish without the wailing and gnashing and without anyone being devoured by a menagerie of wild beasts.
Over the course of the next few weeks we'll eat this elephant one bite at a time (seriously… a LOT of coffee today) and help with any misgiving or anxiety you might have previously had about blocking. By the end of our series, you will have blocking skills that will make your next FO look more polished and… well… more like that picture in the pattern!
Like I said, this ain’t rocket science… just some pins, wires or string, steam, and water and you will have less "GAH!!" and more "OOHH!!" at the end of your projects.
Up next… The Right Tool for the Right Job
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