Agnes Jumper (3)

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Agnes was finished two weeks ago, but until this weekend I haven’t had a chance to get any pictures of Agnes-in-action. Spring is definitely springing, and this afternoon was lovely and sunny, although the wind still nips a bit, demonstrating that Agnes is perfect for the days that the sun through my kitchen window persuades me that going out without a coat is a clever idea.

Once the tedious bits were done, ie ends woven in, it was time to block. I’ve never blocked something so substantial before, only baby clothes for which the right measurements aren’t vital.

Most clothes are blocked before sewing up, but this is a raglan jumper (which means, for non-knitters, that it is knit in one piece from the top down: no sewing up seam necessary, so perfect for lazy knitters such as myself!) However it does mean that you have to block the whole thing in double-thickness, and it takes much longer to dry.
There are various methods of blocking, involving either steam or (liquid!) water. I did some googling research and opted for water. Even in this category there are choices: you can pin the garment out to the right measurements and spray it with water, or wet the whole thing first and then pin it out. I thought I’d go for the former, so I spent a good amount of time pinning it to a couple of sheets of thick cork (courtesy of The Boy) covered with a towel (courtesy of my parents.) Then I attacked it with a spray bottle (also courtesy of The Boy,) but the wool was so thick that the water was pretty much just sitting on the top layer of wool and refusing to soak through. But I’m stubborn (just ask my family,) and I stuck at it for a good 20 minutes, sticking my hand underneath every few minutes, but the water just refused to soak through.

When I was finally ready to admit that I was beaten, I unpinned the whole thing, took it into the bathroom and hosed it down with the shower head. Then I painstakingly squeezed it out (for you must never wring!) took it back and, with some difficulty, pinned it back to the towelled cork. Wet, the wool is much more cumbersome, and stretches an enormous amount. I actually had to shrink the arms by patting them down by hand.

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Waiting for it to dry was the hardest part, it took up a good chunk of my living room, and besides, I’m impatient. After a couple of days, the top dry but still damp underneath, I unpinned it and laid it the other way up on the sofa overnight, which did the trick to dry the back.
The next day I could tack down the top edges of the pockets and sew in a pretty tag (I can’t resist pretty hidden touches.)

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And then I waited for the right weather to emerge on a non-school day. Which it finally did today.

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Hey, look at my hair! Happy 6-months-no-shampoo!

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Please excuse my bag pulling the neckline out of shape!

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The lovely fluffy catkins are out in force.

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I can’t resist a tree to climb..

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Nicking snowdrops out of people’s hedgerows? Who me?

In typical ironic fashion, my warm woolly jumper is finished just in time for the weather to warm up, but I reckon there are a couple more weeks this season left in it, and then I shall look forward to a more extended period of her company next year. If anyone has a fool-proof method for keeping moths at bay, (apart from freezing it, this jumper would take up my entire freezer!) please feel free to share!

EDIT: My friend has suggested wrapping woollen garments in newspaper, as apparently moths don’t get on with the ink used in the printing. I’m certainly going to give this a go. Has anyone out there heard of this or have any experience of it?

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