A few minutes ago I finished setting in the second sleeve on Sybil and popped her on to see how I'd done. Not bad! If I do say so myself =)
This is little peek at how it looks pre-blocking, but right after I took this photo I dunked her in some Soak to get the blocking process underway. Washing and blocking such a heavy sweater is a bit of a delicate process, because it soaks up so much water and has the potential to stretch way out of shape if you pull the wet mass too thoughtlessly. This particular sweater had an unpleasant surprise during the washing step:
It bed like crazy! I don't think I've seen yarn bleed this much color in a long time. It's kind of disappointing. But I'm not complaining because at least I found this out on a solid-colored piece and not on something where bleeding could ruin the project! And yes, I did wash my swatch but if that bled, it was clearly not enough for me to notice it. Reading through the Ravelry comments on the yarn, no one else mentioned bleeding, so perhaps I got a bad batch. Many people did mention knots, though, which I unfortunately also saw plenty of over the 14 balls I've used so far.
That said, I'm still hopeful that the finished sweater will dry and wear well and that I'll get lots of use out of it. I'll give you my final verdict on the yarn after I've worn the sweater for a while.
Which won't be all that soon, because she's laying out to dry:
And with this rainy weather, I'm not sure she'll be dry anytime soon.
Quick aside: Have I mentioned before how much I love sweater drying racks? They're probably my second-favorite non-knitting tool that I use for knitting (the first being the kitchen scale!). I never had much luck stacking them on top of each other, but they're worth their weight in gold when used in a single layer like you see here, on top of my (very messy) bed. Having air circulating both over and under the piece makes it dry way faster, and also means that my mattress stays nice and dry.
Oh and you see the tape measure on top? This is a technique I started using after blocking a few heavy sweaters WAY too big. Like I mentioned above, when they're full of water they can easily stretch way out of shape if you aren't careful. When laying the piece out to dry, it's easy to leave it in a wacky shape that will totally dry that way and make the finished sweater really weird, or too big. Now every time I do this step with a heavy sweater I make sure to have a tape measure on hand and spread everything out to the correct measurements. The most important one being the chest circumference of course. I hope that tip helps someone out there!
I'm now knitting the collar and then need to do the belt, and of course write the pattern . . . but so far so good. I have a quilting update to share with you too, but that will have to wait for the next post, this one is long enough!