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Hello, fellow Spud & Chloë Knitters!
It’s Neighbor Elizabeth, back to help with the first part of the final two steps in the Chinese Lantern Hat Knitalong.
First, give yourself a big pat on the back! After successfully navigating the chart, it’s time for blocking. Blocking this hat is not very labor-intensive; however, it will require plenty of time to dry. My hat took two full days, under a fan! Not to worry, though, it’s worth the wait to have everything just right for seaming. To block the hat, first follow the instructions in the pattern that tell you to thread waste yarn through the final 9 stitches on the needle, leaving an extra long tail attached. In my case, after knitting both the swatch and the hat, the amount of yarn leftover was about 6½ yards, so I just left it all attached. Don’t forget to tie the ends of the waste yarn together, so your stitches don’t come loose ;).
Next, place the hat, along with the attached yarn for seaming, in a bowl, or sink, filled with lukewarm water. Submerge the hat slowly into the water, without agitating it, and allow it to soak for about 30 minutes, or until it is completely saturated.
Drain the water, and gently squeeze out most of the excess. Lay the hat open on a doubled bath towel, with the extra yarn next to it; roll-up the towel, pressing down to remove remaining water from the hat. Unroll the towel, and carefully transfer the hat to a clean dry towel, or blocking boards, if you have them. Lay the hat so the RS is facing up.
Now, flatten the surface of the hat, so the lanterns will lie nicely next to each other; carefully line-up the ribbing on the stems with the ribbing on the band, so the lines are relatively straight; and open up any areas that appear distorted.
Next, begin shaping the hat to the specified dimensions in the pattern. You may find your hat has grown considerably in some areas, and shrunk in others. This is normal. To get as close as possible to the given measurements, it is o.k. to push some areas together, and pull others apart. If necessary, pin your hat in place.
The extra yarn can be coiled loosely off to the side to dry. In my opinion, it is better to seam with Outer yarn that has been “washed”, than with yarn that has not. More on that subject later…
I’ll be back later, with Part 2: Seams harder than it really is …
~ Neighbor Elizabeth