Lion Brand Notebook

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Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along: Blocking, Seaming, and Getting Ready to Finish

February 25th, 2010

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The pieces to my Inishturk sweater are looking good with the front and back done and the sleeves still coming along.  Some of you have finished (congrats!) and some have just begun (welcome!), but most of us are still “in progress.”  Many times, when I sew together a sweater, I just lay the pieces out and start sewing if the pieces are close to the correct size.  But before of you do, some of you will want to block the pieces. Why? Some of you have noticed how the cables have pulled in the fabric, as cables like to do! For example, my back is supposed to measure 22″ inches across, but after I knit it, it is only 20″.

Even if your gauge is right on the mark, this happens because of the cables. So, before I sew together a sweater that has a lot of cables, I just gently block it to size with a spray bottle of water.  I simply spritz the front and back of a piece with water so that it is damp, let it set a minute or two, and then just gently pull or shape it to size. Next, I let it dry completely. Since I used the Fisherman’s Wool, the natural fiber just eased up almost by itself!  Here it is at 22″:

My arms are usually a little longer than most patterns call for, so I like to put my front and back together first, work the collar, and then I put the sweater on to see just how long I would like my sleeves.  This pattern is easy to adapt the sleeves – you can just make them shorter or longer without having to worry about any sleeve cap shaping.

Before I can do that, I need to sew those shoulders — but I’ve decided not to sew them at all! This pattern is perfect for working the 3 needle bind-off to join the shoulders.  So I put the stitches of the shoulders back onto needles, worked the 3 needle bind-off, and I couldn’t have sewn a better seam if I tried! See the results below:

Now I just need to pick up stitches for the neck.   I really like this pattern, because it tells me exactly how many stitches to pick up and where to pick them up.  Knitting this collar in the round leaves even less seams to sew!

(As always, photos above with outlines and highlighted techniques are “clickable” for more details and/or information.)

How are you coming on your sweater? Let us know, or share photos by joining our Flickr group!

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  • Kim

    I haven’t quite finished the front yet, but this is great to read! I’ve never done any seaming, so I was glad to see the bind-off as an alternative. I assume you use the same size needles on the shoulders, but does it matter what size you use for that third needle?

    Heather says: “Good question, Kim. For a 3-needle bind-off, it is only necessary to work the binding-off with the same size needle you knit the sweater. The other needles (holding the stitches) can be the same size or smaller. I hope you will try it!”

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Thanks again for all this great information, Heather.

  • Donna

    Thanks for explaining blocking, I never knew how to do it. I’ve been looking at blocking boards online, does anyone have suggestions? I saw the blocking blocks that LionBrand has and they look like they would work and be compact but then I’m not sure if there are markings to know the size. Thanks for any and all input.
    Donna

  • Connie in Texas

    Donna, I don’t have a blocking board so I used a huge, fluffy beach towel folded in half and laid on my dining room table. Then I used pins to mark the width then dampened the sweater and laid it out on the towel to dry. Works great!

    Heather, thanks for all the wonderful tips. I also used 3-needle bind off at the shoulders and love the way it looks. I’m working on my last sleeve and plan to finish my sweater this weekend. I hope it stays cool here for at least one more week so I can wear it!

  • Angie

    I just got started this week… I’m doing mine in Wool-Ease in Blue Mist. So… looking at the 3 needle bind off… since you already did a bind off at the top of the shoulders on the front & back, do you un-do that to get it back onto the needles in order to do the 3 needle bind off?? Or should I just anticipate that and put it onto stitch holders?

    Heather says: “Hi, Angie: If you want to try the 3-needle bind-off, then just leave the stitches on a holder with the yarn attached. Then you can work your bind-off with that yarn!”

  • Angie

    Actually, it’s Blue Heather… I wanted to do Blue Mist, but the store didn’t have enough of that color… not that it matters… :)

  • Donna

    Connie, thanks for the tip. I’ll give that a try.

    Angie, I knew I was going to do a 3-needle bind off, so I got extra cable holders and put them on them instead of binding off. I’m still working on the front, so hope it works okay.

  • Angie

    Heather & Donna… thanks for your help. I figured that’s what I should do, but the blocking pictures above look like it was bound off, so I wanted to double check.

    It’s been a very long time since I’ve made a sweater, and I wasn’t very happy with that one when I got done… so I’m hoping this one turns out much better!! I love all the cables!!

  • donna

    Angie, I never even noticed the picture. This is my first sweater and I’m so happy with the way it’s turning out. I’m going to try and block the back this weekend and hope to get the front almost done. I’m really nervous about doing the neck but will deal with it when I get there. Good luck with your sweater. *smile*

  • Claire

    I’m finished the front and back and have just started a sleeve. I have never heard of the the 3 needle bind off before, but it looks great. I’ve already sewn the shoulder seams, but I think I will definitely try it on my next project! This is my first KAL, but I’ve been knitting for about 15 years. Loving the KAL!! Thanks for all the interesting tips and hints. I love seeing how others are doing the same thing, but in new and different ways!

  • Lynn

    Hi Heather,
    I’ve got a blocking question. I used Vanna’s Choice in fern (I love the color) and was wondering, since it is 100% acrylic, will it stretch the same as the wool when i try blocking it?

    This is my first sweater and first KAL and I’ve really enjoyed it. Almost finished with my last sleeve, only 4 more rows!

    Heather says: “Hi, Lynn: I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this KAL and soon you will have a beautiful sweater! Although acrylic yarns do not ease as much as wool (usually), your piece should still even out if you dampen it and let it dry. Thank you for your kind words and joining this KAL!”

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Well, I have a few mistakes I need to correct, to my cables, and my sweater is done. I just love it! As does my husband, seeing it is of him.
    I just wanted to thank all of you for taking time out and sharing 6 weeks of your life through this KAL and all your wonderful knitting talents. This was my first KAL but it will not be my last. This is a project that I never would have tried on my own, but through the support of a group, It was made easy. Thank you Lion Brand for providing the enviroment for all of us to learn. And Heather, I have learned soooo much from you! Thank you for sharing all of the step by step topic discussions and all your wonderful knitting techniques. You are great!
    Well, off to my next project – -Happy knitting to all. Hope to see you back here for the next KAL.

  • sarah

    Hi Everyone, I am knitting my sweater in the round and am wondering how to do the arm holes? How far up from the bottom do you knit before you take off armhole stitches to a holder? Thanks for the help, this is my first aran sweater!

    Heather says: “Hi, Sarah: One of the nice things about this pattern is that there are no armhole stitches that need to be bound-off. So when you get to the armholes, just work the front and back halves separately. I hope you will enjoy making this first Aran sweater of yours!”

  • Joy from Massachusetts

    I want to thank everyone for all the hints and helpful notes. I have knitted for many years but this is my first KAL. I have learned so much from all of you. I just finished the back. Heather, thanks for the tips on blocking and the 3 needle bind off.

  • Nancy

    I’ve finished the back and will keep going, slowly, until I finish. I love the patterns. I’d probably have more pieces finished if I wasn’t constantly looking to the blog for more hints and ideas. There are fewer postings now, maybe the new has worn off. But I’ve learned so much! I will do the 3 needle bindoff, I’ve used it on socks and love it. All the info has been great; just wish I was retired! Thanks everyone, it was nice reading you.

  • Pingback: Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along: The Final Touches and Finish Line! | Lion Brand Notebook

  • Babette

    hi! Ive been knitting away & am about 1/2 way thru the back! this is my 1st cable sweater and 2nd sweater! Im so glad you explained the 3 needle bind off. when you talk about sewing the sweater together, do you mean with the same yarn as the sweater or with a needle and thread?? and is there a special technique you use? I know this seems like a dumb question but Im a newbie and I didnt finish my 1st sweater because of this reason! O & btw I “grafted” my shoulder on the 1st sweater, it turned out well, but it looks a little big… I havent had the nerve to add on the neck yet, maybe after I finish this one, I will go back to that one & finish it. That one is a basic ss stitch sweater. It just needs a little tlc. Im so thrilled about the way this one is turning out! Thanks so much Heather & LB for doing this KAL! Do you know what the next KAL will be?? I sure hope & pray it is something we can WEAR as this one has been so fun & I will be so proud to show it off when I finish it!!!
    Blessings
    Babette†

    Zontee says: Hi Babette, we alternate between a knit-along and a crochet-along each season, so expect the next knit-along sometime in the summer.

  • Mary Lee

    Greetings Knitters. I have finished the back and am half way up the front. Today I tried knitting on the nodic track! Trying for exercise and fun at the same time. Mixed results. Just wanted to say I have really enjoyed the KAL and would not have tried such a difficult pattern without the help and support of all of you. Look forward to finishing this project and starting the next KAL. Happy and Blessed Easter to all.

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