A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Sweater Yarn Growing


A common concern that designers and test knitters don’t mention or address. Do you think hand washing may pull your sweater out of shape? A sweater in looser-gauge is more prone to growth with hand washing. Putting a sweater in the dryer on low for 5 to 10 minutes will definitely put it back to its pre-grown shape. Though there is a ton of information online about how to block and shape hand knit garments, I will share the steps that have worked for me.
Estela Cardigan Swatch Test Knit
Whole 60-row piece sent to frogland…for not reading instruction carefully. My bad!
Since I drag my knitting around with me–do lots of knitting while my children at their activities and drop my stuff on the floor plenty of times–I wash my finished projects before blocking. Usually, I add some Eucalan or gentle ECO Wash to water. For non-superwash fiber, I wash it gently in the sink, squeeze it with my hands, fold it in a towel and step on it. Next, I put it in the dryer for 5 to 10 minutes to get it really started on drying. In my house, it’s added bonus…the dryer pulls out any dog hair that may remain. Then lay it on flat surface (instead of a lawn) to dry so the stitches will get nice, flat, and even. I use my hands to shape it into place to match proper measurements in the schematic (or custom size to fit.)
Estela Cardigan Test Knit 2nd Cast On
Need to decide on contrast-color yarn to sleeves and collar-bands
For superwash stuff, I put it in washing machine on the gentlest cycle using Eucalan or ECO Wash. If it’s really grubby, let it soak for a bit before finishing the cycle. Let it spin out. I really like that the machine spins the garments out so very dry. Let it dry for a bit. Next, follow non-superwash steps above after laying the piece flat on a large table or surface. It feels counter-intuitive at first because it’s tempting to lay it out ‘stretched all the way’…the knitted item gets too big. It feels a little bit like I’m scrunching it, but it does dry to the perfect size.
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Back Completed
Another test for Andrea that knitted up super fast!
If my stitches aren’t as even as they should be, if it’s a bulky yarn, or I might have ladders from fixing a mistake or two, I whack it with a wooden spoon to get everything even while the piece is laying flat. Sounds crazy? Try it. My sweaters haven’t grown or shrunk from their original knitting…and it’s a great stress relief. LOL What do you do with your sweaters?
Cinco de Mayo in preparation
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!


(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)

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Comments on: "Sweater Yarn Growing" (3)

  1. Kirsten said:

    I think I need to see a video of this spoon-whacking process!

    Thank you for the helpful tips. I do very little blocking as I have been sock-obsessed, but I still think it's a miracle that bunchy shawls and lumpy sweaters come out looking so fresh and new afterward.

  2. I want to see that spoon-whacking, too!

  3. […] I am back home with a weekend to recover, it is time to finish up this long neglected sweater since early […]

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