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by Ysolda support@ysolda.com May 14, 2020

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You've made it to the very last Glenmore tutorial, and I'm so proud of you! I hope you have a sweater that makes you feel amazing, and that you've enjoyed the process. If Glenmore was your first garment know that you've built a great foundation for a handmade sweater wardrobe that's exactly what you want to wear.

If you're not quite done yet, it's ok. I'm still working on the one I cast on for the KAL so I'll definitely be knitting along with you after our official deadline passes. This blog series will stay up, so you can refer back to the tutorial for any section as you knit at your own pace. On May 20th we'll be drawing KAL winners, but even if your sweater isn't likely to be done you should still check that you've made a Ravelry project and tagged it #glenmorekal. Our two runner up prizes of a £25 gift certificate to ysolda.com will be drawn from anyone who has a tagged project, regardless of sweater completion. Of course, if you would like a little extra motivation to finish your Glenmore, our grand prize of a £50 gift certificate will be drawn from all of the finished projects.

Finishing the sweater

There are two parts to finishing a sweater: weaving in the ends and blocking. You'll also find plenty of strong opinions on which you should do first. It doesn't matter. The logic of blocking first seems to be that the ends could come loose when washed. Are you ever going to wash your sweater again? If so, make sure that the tails are long enough, and woven in securely enough, that they won't come loose, and you can happily weave them in before blocking.

I usually weave the ends in first, because I don't particularly like doing it and know that if I block first the ends might never be woven in.

The other rule is that you should always block your finishing knits before wearing them. Blocking does make your finished projects look better. It's hard to stress how much better: blocking really is magic. Straight off the needles your knitting might look a little uneven, parts might have stretched out as you worked, or been crumpled up in a project bag, so there might be some irregularities in tension and an unruly yarn might not have settled neatly into its stitch pattern. 

But... nothing bad is going to happen if you're too excited by your finished sweater to block it before wearing for the first time. Do so with joy, and then, when the initial excitement has worn off or you've spilled your soup, follow the blocking directions.

Weaving in the ends 

photo of wrong side of knitting with ends being woven in in a contrast colour and the text "weaving in ends with a sharp needle"

Check out this tutorial for my favourite method of weaving in ends, using a sharp needle. I find that, for a chunky, seamless sweater like Glenmore, where there's no hiding the tails in the seams that this method is the least visible from the outside. 

Use the tails to close up any holes

You might have small holes at the underarms or where you cast on for the front neck. This is completely normal and doesn't mean that you did anything wrong while you were knitting. Just use the yarn tail to catch a few strands around the edges of the hole and pull up tight before weaving in the end. 

How to block a sweater

Blocking a sweater isn't the same as blocking a shawl, where you'd stretch the fabric out and pin it. You won't use any pins, and you don't need any special tools, just a few old towels, and a warmish place to leave the sweater to dry. 

Soak the item in lukewarm water with a small amount of no rinse woolwash or a mild shampoo, I love the scent of this plastic free bar, and leave it to soak for about 30 minutes until the fibre is fully permeated. Drain the water out and carefully scoop up the whole garment, trying not to let any of it dangle. Gently squeeze out as much water as possible, without wringing it out. If you have a top loading washing machine without  an agitator or a stand alone laundry spinner you can spin it out. Only trust a front loader / European style washing machine that has a gentle spin cycle and that you know well. Otherwise just keep squeezing. 

Lay the garment flat on a towel and roll it up and squeeze it again. I like to stomp on the sweater + towel burrito. If necessary repeat this process with a second towel. Lay out the now damp garment on a dry towel, blocking mat or mesh sweater drier. Smooth out the fabric and make sure it conforms to the desired final measurements, you may need to stretch it a little or squish into place. 

Here's a video of the whole process. Thank you to my rather small giggly assistant: because film making is absolutely a home school activity in these strange times we're living in. To follow along with the video you will also need a cookie. 

This is also how I wash most of my handknits, although I do trust my washing machine's wool cycle with sturdier wools and anything superwash, and then I just lay them as flat to dry as space allows. In practice, because my house isn't huge and my family doesn't love stepping over sweaters laid out on towels, that means that I hang them over a few rungs on an airer and call it good enough. Sometimes at the studio the last thing we do on a Friday afternoon is wash a bunch of sweaters so we can leave them spread out allover the floor over the weekend. We have a couple of these and they are a nifty way to improve airflow and speed up the process. 

Gauge changes after washing

Many yarns will result in a different gauge and fabric hand after washing, so it's best practice to wash a swatch before checking the gauge. If you didn't wash your Glenmore swatch (or swatch at all!) it is a very forgiving shape that fits well with varying amounts of ease, so hopefully you will have a sweater you love even if it's not quite the size you were expecting. However, if you're making something really fitted and elaborate in future that you're going to put a lot of work into, it's well worth the effort to block your swatch and reduce the risk of a surprise the first time you wash the sweater.

Join the Glenmore KAL!

You don't have to do anything special to sign up, just buy the pattern and share your progress. Use the hashtag #glenmorekal on instagram, twitter and your Ravelry project, so everyone can see your photos and come and say hi in our Ravelry group. There will be prizes! 

Read all posts in the Glenmore KAL series. 

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Ysolda support@ysolda.com
Ysolda support@ysolda.com

Ysolda designs knitting patterns, spent years teaching at events and loves to find new yarns and books to share.



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