Well, I promised you that when I returned to Blogland, that I would have a progress report on my Hey Teach sweater, and well, that’s not quite true. If I had progress, I would be showing you a picture of a sweater that was still incomplete. Instead, today, I am showing you a photo of a finished, and I mean down to the last detail finished, Hey Teach cardigan!

I am totally, totally in love with this cardigan. I will be wearing it tomorrow, and probably the day after that, and then probably again the day after that. It fits my pregnant body so well, and I think it will look great post-baby as well. This whole sweater was made with 3, count them, 1, 2, 3!!! balls of Bernat Cottontots 100% cotton yarn, and 1 3-button card that was on clearance at Wal-Mart for only $1.40! I have two left over balls of this yarn, and I think it will be plenty to make Morgan a sweater out of too!

I stumbled upon an interesting problem when I finished all the pieces today however, and that was how to block the cotton pieces? If this were wool, it would be simple – soak in a warm but not hot bath with some Eucalan wash in it, and then press all the water out, and then lay on towels or blocking boards and pin into place, stretching out to the required measurements. But cotton? Well, you don’t really treat cotton that way. I thought about steam blocking it, but my iron hasn’t been able to make steam in years, and the last time I attempted steam blocking I burned myself very badly, and I might still have a twitch when I think about doing it *twitch*…

So, with my mother out of the house and not available for consultation, I did the next best thing, Googled it!

Apparently, you can iron your cotton knitting. Huh. Who knew? I decided to test this theory on a sleeve. This is, mind you, after I rechecked the ball band to make sure it was 100% cotton, and not actually 100% acrylic and I had simply misread it all this time. So, this is how it works. You drag out your ironing board and iron, and you fill up the iron if you haven’t done so already (ask me how I know this), and you spread a non-melting towel over the ironing board. While the iron is heating (if you hadn’t already guessed to set it to “cotton” on your iron, then well, you know now) spread out your piece to be blocked on the towel, and spray liberally, but not too liberally with water. Cover with a thin cotton tea towel, and then… well, you iron it. When it is finished, it will be damp, so lay it out on another towel while you block the other pieces. It should look something like this:

I don’t know if you can see in this photo that the lace is quite flattened out, but it is. As it dries however, it fluffs back to life, only without the curled edges. After all the pieces have been blocked, it is time to mattress stitch them together. If it is a large garment like mine was, it will probably be damp from the blocking still, and that’s okay. It actually made the seaming easier. When it’s all sewn together and all the ends woven in, but before you have picked up any stitches around the neckline or for buttonbands, it is time for your sweater to take a turn in the dryer. Not too long, just until it is dry.

I then picked up the stitches for the neckline, bound off when finished, and wove in my ends. I picked up the two buttonbands, wove in those ends, and then the sweater got one more blocking, on the buttonbands. It took one more quick turn in the dryer, and then, except for the buttons, it was done!

It was tiring and uncomfortable work, but I did it! I finished my Hey Teach! cardigan today! I realized not too long ago that this would only be the second garment for myself that I have made, everything else I own is an accessory or a sock, so I figured it was high time that I treated myself to something large. I shy away from making sweaters so often because I feel guilty about the price. I realize that I own my knitted garments at least twice as long as my store bought ones, so that should give me all the reason in the world to spend twice as much on the materials for one, but I usually take one good glance at my spouse and decide that I don’t need one. Well, with the baby on the way and my me-time probably going straight out the window, I decided I was at least one more garment before my large-project days are on hold.

But you want to know the funny thing? Completing this only makes me want to start a giant lace shawl and see how far I can really push my fast-knitting skills! I think Neil would have a thing or two to say about that, with two Christmas presents still unfinished, and a pair of socks for him on the needles still. Oh well, maybe next time! For now, I’ll be wearing my Hey Teach to death!