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Knitting Law

November 30, 2011

{With more than a week free from work at Thanksgiving, full of family and holiday traditions, you’d think I’d have managed to document at least some of it with my camera.  Apparently, not so much.  My camera went everywhere with me, but I don’t think I pulled it out of my bag once.  So, when I tell you that I spent most of that week cooking, crafting, and cutting down my own Christmas tree (with no help thankyouverymuch), you’ll just have to take my word for it.}

Forgive me, knitters, for I have sinned.  Not only am I months behind in telling you about this sweater, I broke one of the cardinal rules of knitting.

The following story may contain content inappropriate for new knitters.

It started with plane tickets.  It turns out that airlines (also non-knitting boyfriends) are not particularly keen on delaying a flight so that your new handknit sweater can finish blocking, no matter how many late nights you’ve pulled trying to finish the thing in time for your two-week vacation.  It also turns out that when you try on said slightly damp, mostly-blocked sweater, it will inevitably look like something custom-made for an orangutan.  At that point, I figured I had two options: let the thing sulk in the time-out corner until we came home, or pack it up and hope there was some way to fix it on the plane.

So I put it in the dryer.

Yes, friends, I put a handknit wool and silk sweater in the dryer.  I have no idea what made me do such a thing, unless it was sheer desperation.  But you know what?  IT WORKED.  Every few minutes, I pulled it from the jaws of potential death and tried it on, and before long, it was both dry and properly-fitting.  In plenty of time to catch our flight, too.  I sewed on the buttons and wove in the ends the next morning as we circled London airspace, and wore my (not felted!) sweater for the first time that evening, for a drink and a saunter through London with an old friend.  I wore that sweater along the canals in Amsterdam, in the German countryside, and on a tiny bar patio in Saltzburg, Austria.  Of course, since I’m usually the one behind the camera, I’m not sure there’s a single picture of me wearing it during our whole trip, but never mind.  Far away and at home, this is a very, very loved sweater.

Laws be damned.

(Knitterly details: The sweater is Talamh, it’s knit in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, which I love; and the buttons are from Orit Dotan.  I accidentally put the buttonholes on the wrong side, but otherwise followed the pattern.)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin I. permalink
    December 8, 2011 11:34 am

    It’s gorgeous, and I’m utterly impressed.

    • Ashley permalink*
      December 8, 2011 3:43 pm

      Thank you, Robin! 🙂

  2. December 8, 2011 12:33 pm

    Gorgeous! I recently finished a sweater in Shelter, and made the complete rookie mistake of failing to block my swatch before casting on. The result, giant sweater. Someone told me to throw the nearly dry sweater in the dryer to tighten it back up–I may just try that now!

    • Ashley permalink*
      December 8, 2011 3:50 pm

      No Whitney stop! See, this is why I put that little italicized disclaimer at the top – I don’t want to be responsible for a whole sweater’s worth of felted Shelter! What I did was risky, but I think putting your sweater in the dryer could be downright dangerous. I did block my swatch, and I think that finished sweater was so stretched out because the weight of the fabric pulled the lace open vertically. The knitted fabric itself was about the right size. I also suspect that the silk content of the yarn I used may have helped keep the yarn from entirely felting. In your situation, putting the sweater in the dryer will absolutely shrink it, but you may end up with a felt sweater by the time it’s the right size. I know it’s demoralizing, but I would not recommend my risky fix for your particular problem. 😦 Especially since Shelter is so beautiful – it would be so sad to have it felt!

  3. Christa permalink
    December 8, 2011 3:24 pm

    The sweater is lovely. It’s nice to see it finished. Where did you get your tree? The place we used to go closed 2 years ago and we’ve buying them already cut since then.

    • Ashley permalink*
      December 8, 2011 3:52 pm

      Thank you, Christa! I got my tree at the Christmas tree farm in the foothills that my family has been visiting for something like the last 30 years. It’s called Roberts Christmas Tree Farm (, and it’s off Highway 50 near Placerville, on the way to Tahoe. It’s not a short drive from the Bay Area, but since my family is in Sacramento, I’m usually much closer on Thanksgiving. It’s wonderful though, so if you’re up that way I highly recommend it!

  4. Lynn permalink
    December 8, 2011 9:22 pm

    Ashley – It is absolutely beautiful!

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