Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Art of Blocking

There are a few different ways to block your project once it's finished.  The two most common are wet-blocking and steaming.  Occasionally I will steam block, but  I prefer wet blocking and do this about 99% of the time.  
Learn how I wet block at the end of this post!  

I often am asked if blocking is really necessary.  My answer is always "ABSOLUTELY!" it's the finishing touch on your project.  Wet blocking is immersing your project in water and wool wash (we love Kookaburra), which opens the fibers making them bloom.  They become softer and smoother.  

Another reason I believe wet blocking is important: wet blocking = washing.  Think of all the places your project has been while you were working on it: in the car, at the doctor/dentist office, used as a dog pillow, on an air plane, etc.  We'd be fools not to wash it!

Blocking also evens out your stitches, which is especially true for stitch patterns such as lace and stranded color work which need wet blocking to smooth out the stitches to show the true nature of the pattern.  

Here are a few tools available at Stash to help with blocking:

Knitter's Block  The Knitter’s Block is a set of 12” square blocking tiles that snap together like pieces of a puzzle. The Original Knitter's Block kit contains 9 tiles, an instruction pamphlet, 30 t-pins, and 36" × 36" 100% cotton pressing cloth

Sweater Care Kit  The Sweater Care Kit contains everything you need for handwashing and blocking your hand-knit items and all of your fine hand-washables. The kit is perfect for blocking seamless sweaters or accessories which do not require pinning.  Kit contains: two fine mesh, zippered laundry bags (small: 8" × 12 × 8", large: 8" × 22" × 8"), one large super-absorbent towel, one super-absorbent grid towel, inches and centimeters on opposite sides, one mesh pop-up dryer, a bottle of unscented Eucalan wash, and the jute bag

Knitter's Keep  A silicone slap bracelet fits any size wrist and sports a brushed steel-plated magnet. Nickel-plated accessories attach to the magnet to keep what you need where you need it most.  Like T-pins used in blocking!  Kit includes: One silicone slap bracelet, 10 large round stitch markers,10 small round stitch markers,10 opening stitch markers, 2 cable needles, 2 curved-tip tapestry needles.  T-pins not included, but you can get them at Stash!

How to Wet block:

You will need: 1 towel, wool wash (we love kookaburra), a blocking surface (we use the Knitter's Block kit) or a large towel will work, stainless steel pins, and a tape measure

1. Fill sink with cool/cold water and add wool wash.  Soak project for 10 - 15 minutes to get the fiber saturated.  Do not fuss with the project too much, you don't want it to felt!

2. Remove item from the sink and gently squeeze out as much water as you can.  Do not twist or ring.

3. Lay a clean, dry towel on the floor and lay your project on it.  Roll the towel up into a tube and press down on it to get as much excess water out.  I like to step on the towel to really get as much water out as I can.

4. Unroll the towel and set aside.  Begin blocking by laying out the piece in the general shape and size it should be.  Use any given measurements in the pattern as a guide for sizing

5. Once pinned i place, let it dry completely.  Once dry, unpin your piece, finish any weaving in of ends, or other finishing work, and wear or gift with pride!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Times Square KAL: Day 1

Did you start your Times Square today?  We had fun starting ours at Stash!  If you are knitting along with us at home here are a few tips:

1.  Knit a gauge swatch and wet block it to get correct gauge!
2.  The pattern refers to using a fancy "alternate cable cast on"  I chose to use this one, if you choose to use your good ole stand by, the long tail, it will be just fine!
3.  We also found it easier to keep track of your pattern by placing stitch markers on Row 1 (after the ten rows of garter) as follows:  (P1, K1) 7 times total (or 14 sts) p1, place marker here, knit recommended sts, place marker here,  continue in pattern.

It's fun to see the many ways people knit, the colors and yarn they choose, and the accessories they need.  I managed to remember to take a few pictures of our KAL at Stash

I'm a little old school, I like to use the paper pattern and write notes all over it, I also need my stitch markers ready.  Kate on the other hand seems to be very minimalistic, just her project and IPad.  Margaret, like me, has all her supplies at the ready.  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Times Square KAL

Times Square Knit-a-Long starting September 2nd!

This sweater will be your absolute go-to piece for the season and maybe for the rest of your life!  It has timeless style, great fit, and is knit with the most amazing yarn!  Times Square is worked in one piece form the bottom of the back to the bottom of the front.  There is minimal seaming and no picking up stitches.

Join us in person at Stash 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
or Knit-along with us on our blog where we will be posting our progress and tips!

knitting my swatch for the times square KAL
My swatch is knit and ready to go!  Do you have your swatch done yet?  We can help you with that!  Swatching is one of the most important things you should do before you start any project.  The next most important thing is to block that swatch!  Read all about the importance of blocking from Courtney and Kate of Kelbourne Woolens on their blog.

times square by norah gaughan
knit with knightsbridge beaverden
times square knit by kate
with knightsbridge poole
For more information visit our web site: www.stashcastlerock.com

Monday, August 17, 2015

We Love Gradient Packs!

knerd string and wonderland gradient packs
Gradient Kits make me swoon, but I often wonder "what do I make with this?"  I've heard the same form many of you, so I've come up with a few ideas for us to knit or crochet!

my antarktis shawl using
wonderland yarns gradient kit

augusta shawl crochet by
Manos dul Uruguay yarns

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Stash is Celebrating SIX Years!

Stash is Celebrating SIX Years!
Saturday, August 1st 10 am - 5 pm

Join us Saturday, August 1st, and help us celebrate SIX years of Stash!  There will be treats and refreshments as well as goodies and prizes!

Can you believe it's already been six years? Neither can we, our growth wouldn't have been possible without you! As we look back on the past six years, it is all happiness, love and the most amazing people in the world, YOU!  We are so thankful for each and every one of you, and we know that this amazing community would not be possible without each of you! If you have not visited our new space at 360 Perry Street, this is the perfect time to do it!  Thank you for being a part of Stash, and here's to another spectacular year, CHEERS!

Build Your Knitting Skills with the Building Blocks Workshop

We will meet the first Sunday of the month: August 2, September 13*, October 4, November 1, December 6, January 3, February 7, March 6, April3, May 1, June 5, July 10* 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

*September and July will meet the second Sunday due to holidays

$15.00 per session (pay as you go rate)or $150 for all 12 sessions
This will be an on going workshop.  You can join in at any time.  Take one class or take them all!  You can  take individual classes depending on your skill needs.  This workshop is sure to help you gain the comfidence you need to become a better knitter!

Supplies:  Multi-color afghan will need 12 skiens of SimpliWorsted.  One-color Afghan will need 10 skeins of SimpliWorsted.  If you choose to make the one-color afghan, you will need to order the yarn in advance to ensure matching dye lots.  24" US 10 circular needle, and Building Blocks Pattern Book.  All supplies are 10% off!

Every pattern in the "Building Blocks" book focuses on the development of a skill while knitting a lovely square. Each square, or block, builds upon the skills learned in the previous patterns, giving knitters more confidence, knowledge and skill.   You will master each technique before moving to a more advanced concept.  At the completion of the series, the reward is an abundance of knitting know-how along with 12 gorgeous blocks to assemble into a sampler afghan.  This could be the year you will blossom from a beginner knitter to a confident knitter!

This is a skill building workshop.  Students need to know how to knit, purl, cast on, and bind off

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scoreboard KAL

Join Stash in the 2015 Scoreboard KAL!

We will be meeting Mondays 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm during the football season to catch up on our scoring knitting, do a little bragging, or for moral support!  The first regular season game is Thursday, Sept 10th, our KAL will begin Monday, Sept 14th

Sign up and purchase your team colors by August 20th.  The first ten to sign up and purchase/order yarn will receive a prize!

Supplies: Hikoo Simplicity: 6 skeins MC for home scores, 6 skeins CC for opponent scores, 1 skein CC1 for end of game (this skein is optional), US 7 16” circular

I will be knitting with Denver Bronco colors, blue to represent the Broncos and orange to represent the opposing team.  Color card available at Stash!  Click here for the Denver schedule.