Monday, 25 January 2010

So I Murdered Some Yarn

I am an enthusiastic knitter. An ardent knitter. A passionate knitter. I don't think I am a great technical knitter and I don't always match project, yarn and stitch choices as well as I would like. I'm OK with that. These are things my hands must come to understand as much as my head, but sometimes, even an enthusiastic, ardent, passionate knitter comes to realize that the yarn must die

The body of the baby blanket I am working on, is simple garter stitch. I thought about doing a lace edging, but I am using acrylic yarn. It wouldn't hold the blocking lace would need. Knit double, this DK weight yarn, Baby by Stylecraft, forms a wonderfully squooshy, surprisingly lofty fabric. Lofty and squooshy are the perfect thing for a baby blanket, and I wanted something sweet and delicate, light and airy. A ruffle seemed like just the thing.

I knit the ruffle with one strand of plain white yarn and one strand of Ice Cream from Adriafil. Ice Cream is a perfect girly yarn, with candy coloured bits sprinkled through it. Because picking up all the stitches around a garter stitch edge is easy and brainless, I decided to knit the edging in the round and because the edging is in the round, the edging is stockinette. I didn't even think about it, I just did it.

As you can see in the photo, what was knit was anything but soft looking. It is more roly poly than ruffly. It doesn't have the soft drape that I was hoping for. I could have cried.

I think there were two problems between planning and completion. First, the stockinette caused the ruffle to roll badly. It is just the nature of the stitch. I knew this. Second, I held the yarn double. Though that might have been fine for the squooshy body, doubling the yarn made the fabric too thick. Hard to create soft drape when you are thick and squooshy. The candy coloured bits were just about perfect though.

I didn't want to reknit. I was happy with how fast this worked up and I really didn't want to unstrand all these doubled yarns. I thought about tossing the whole thing in the corner. I might have too, if it wasn't that a friend introduced me to the idea of killing acrylic.

Killing acrylic yarn is usually accidental. Heat and moisture can make the acrylic fibres sag. The yarn completely loses its bounce. Once gone, it cannot be restored. Killed. Murdered. Dead. It is easy to do. Just toss the acrylic project in the dryer on moderate heat instead of letting it air dry. Does it every single time.

Here I was with a rolling edge blankie when I wanted a soft drape and gentle ruffled edging. What I needed was to do was kill the ruffle. I've killed whole things before by tossing them in the dryer. I couldn't do that this time and retain the centre.

I wet the edging with a spray bottle, put down a pressing cloth and pressed with a medium heat. It worked. Killed it dead. Murdered it. With glee even.

It is lays perfectly. The ruffles are just so, staying exactly where I put them. I have every confidence that the yarn will continue to drape softly. It is exactly what I hoped for.

I might have committed 'murder' but I feel like celebrating.


Sandra said...

as a self avowed acruylic-hater - this looks nice! Killing it actually revived it...

Mrs. Spit said...

I cannot believe that I am commending, nay, celebrating the murder of yarn, but. . .

It's lovely!

Christine said...

I have been meaning to play with killing acrylic for so long, but haven't gotten around to it. It's *wonderful* to see it work successfully.

patchwork said...

You have done the edging beautifully ...with a mixed up color wool and a rounded shape it is able to give a unique look to the blanket.