design, sweaters

After blocking FAIL

TulliaShoulderTullia looked great straight off the needles.  The fit was exactly what I expected and the whole sweater was to gauge.  But something happened after I blocked it.  The sleeves grew.  The shoulders sagged and the whole stinkin’ sweater looked huge and ridiculous.

So, back to into the hot water it went.  Then for a spin in the washer to squeeze out excess water and back to the blocking mat.  It was all good until I put the sweater on for a few minutes and the shoulder stretched out again!  I checked gauge and sure enough, the shoulder was stretched out to 3 stitches per inch instead of the 4.25 my swatch gave me.

To solve this problem, I took the sweater to the sewing machine and ran a piece of interfacing down the shoulder “seam” and then stitched around the entire arm hole.  This provided much needed stability and it looks nice and neat.  (See above picture.)

blueshoulderI got to thinking about the shoulder sagging issue.  It’s happened to me before in a blue sweater that I once loved but now cannot wear because the shoulder is hanging down too far.  It looks terrible and feels terrible on the body.  Today, I’m going to soak it in hot water and reblock.  Then, I’m going to sew in a stabilizer before I wear it again to avoid future problems.  This blue sweater was even pieced and seamed but it didn’t stop the stretching out of shape.

Have you ever noticed that most commercially produced sweaters and t-shirts have stabilizers sewn into the shoulders?  My favorite store-bought sweater does.tapeseam  I think from now on, I’m going to take a hint from them and add a bit of stabilizing to my hand knits.  I’m guessing it will make a huge difference.  Does anyone else add stabilizers to their hand-knitted garments?

And, if you noticed the wimpy shawl collar attempt on Tullia, do not worry.  I am going to rip and reknit.  I wanted the collar to be subtle but it turned out so insubstantial it looks ridiculous.  But, this is how I learn- the hard way!  🙂

apronAnd, just for fun, I entered a contest on and won this beautiful handmade creation from Naomi.  My husband was again a good sport and modeled the apron for me.  Thanks Naomi!!  (She’s got an interesting blog full of beautiful photos and projects!)


14 thoughts on “After blocking FAIL”

    1. There’s a specialty ribbon-like tape that is sold at the fabric store just for this purpose. I bet it would look prettier than the interfacing inside the sweater. I’m going to pick some up and give it a try inside the blue sweater.


  1. I add stabilizers to anything that is knit — even garments I sew from commercial machine-knit fabric. I’ve tried sewing in elastic thread to fix droop in handknit garments but it gives way after a few washings so that’s definitely a fail.


    1. That is good to know! I had actually thought about trying elastic. I wonder why more knitting books don’t suggest shoulder stabilization. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but I’m beginning to see that it’s very necessary!


  2. I’ve been knitting most of my life and have never thought of stabilizing the shoulder seams before. It’s a brilliant idea! The sweater is gorgeous, by the way… at least, what I can see of it.


      1. Not really, although the last sweater I knit for myself (a cotton/acrylic blend) did stretch a bit. When I wash it, though, it comes right back.


    1. 🙂 There’s no shame in not having knit a sweater. It took me quite a while before I built up the desire to try one. And, I fail-knitted a handful of sweaters before I even was able to knit a wearable garment. That was a very frustrating period in my knitting life where I almost gave up on knitting…


      1. Technically I have knitted one, I made it for my mom in seventh grade. She tried it on and one sleeve was too big, one was too small. She’s kept it though. Every once and a while she asks me about redoing it but I haven’t really thought about it lately.


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