October 2020 Meeting Recap: Blocking: It's Magic! with Michele Lee Bernstein a.k.a. PDXKnitterati, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Kimberly Williams
The last month brought some losses to our knitting community. Cat Bordhi turned sock knitting upside down, reinventing the way we think about socks and so many other things. She passed away from cancer on September 19th. One of Puddletown’s founders, Judy Welles, passed away on September 28th, also from cancer. Judy was the guild’s first volunteer coordinator and was dubbed “Volunteer Wrangler”. She had an unfailing good mood and cheerful outlook on life.
The guild extends our condolences to both Judy and Cat’s families and friends. We will honor Judy by continuing to build our guild community and knit in friendship.
Anna brought forward a designer recommendation this week. Elizabeth Zimmerman (1910-1999) was a teacher and designer who reintroduced and encouraged continental knitting after WWII as a more efficient method. She also demonstrated the benefits of circular needles and their easing of complicated designs. She brought us the Baby Surprise Jacket and the Pi Shawl. To learn more, check out her books.
Knitting a cable without a cable needle was this month’s theme. Anna did it again by making that complicated cable sweater I’ve been eyeing much more desirable. I knew, in theory, one could knit a cable without a cable needle, but I thought it was only for the brave. Anna showed us how to knit 1x1 and 2x2 cables without a cable needle and made it look easy. I’m not sure I can describe in words the process without taking up the rest of your day. Just watch the video and be amazed.
Next month, bring us your stitch marker tips and tricks. Don’t forget, Anna, our Tip Czar, welcomes you to demonstrate a tip or just share the idea for her to present to the guild.
We welcomed back our first ever speaker this month, Michele Bernstein, a.k.a. PDXKnitterati. She started off her lecture on blocking with a poll. 39% of the audience said they always block, 34% said they usually block, 19% said sometimes, 7% said never, and 4% said “What’s blocking?” Even Michele had to be convinced to block and she presented three cases of sweater care gone awry.
Blocking is the process of treating your knit or crocheted item with moisture and shaping. You can do this by steaming, or washing and air drying, usually flat, in the desired shape. Blocking allows wool and silk fibers to bloom, cotton and linen fibers to soften, and stitches to even out and set into the fabric you created. It is especially important in opening up lacework and for colorwork and cables to truly shine. Some tips for the process:
Thanks, Michele, for a great presentation!
We were happy that again several people sent in pictures of their finished projects for the virtual show and tell.
Enjoy knitting weather until we see each other again.
Missives from the fabulous women who got the ball (of yarn) rolling.