I love finishing a project! My favorite thing about knitting is finishing. I love to take my time binding off and blocking. It gives me great satisfaction to know that I’ve made something beautiful by hand out of a few balls of yarn. Finishing my Harmony Knit Cable Afghan was especially fulfilling because I spent so much time working on it. Since finishing is one of my favorite things I figured I would walk you through the finishing steps in deeper detail.
After I finished working the main part of the afghan (for more info on the pattern/yarn click here) and the border on the sides I had to make the tassels for the four corners. The tassels really make the afghan look like an elegant and they were very easy to make. All you needed is the yarn, a postcard or bit of cardstock, a pair of scissors and a crochet needle. Here’s a very helpful tutorial.
After the afghan itself was finished I then washed it, dried it, blocked it and used a shaver on any parts that had pilled during the 5 months I spent making it. The yarn I used for this piece was the Caron Simply Soft. It’s fantastic for afghans because it’s so soft and cuddly. The only downside to this yarn is that it is 100% acrylic meaning that it’s completely made out of plastic, not a natural fiber. As with all plastics, this yarn will melt under intense heat. That means you have to take care when washing and blocking it.
Washing Caron Simply Soft is easy. It’s machine washable on a gentle cycle with warm/warm water. You can use your favorite detergent but please, no bleach! You can also machine dry on a delicate setting with low heat. You will probably had to run it through the dryer several time because this yarn takes a while to dry!
I’ve heard people say that you cannot block acrylic yarn but you absolutely can. It’s a pain in the behind, especially with a large project, but you can block it. The most common method that I use for blocking is wet blocking–where you wet a piece and stretch it to size and let it dry. Wet blockingdoes not work on acrylic. The acrylic will eventually snap back into it’s original shape if you wet block it. On acrylic you must use steam blocking–where you steam a piece and stretch it to size. All you need is a blocking board or spare bed, an iron with steam setting and T pins and/or blocking wires if you like to use those.
Place the piece on the bed and pin it down using your T pins. Then apply steam, (I happen to have a cheap industrial size steamer so I use this instead of my iron) stretch to the size and shape the piece needs to be and then re-pin. Do not touch the knit piece with the iron or steamer head or else the yarn will melt.
Insert T Pin
Steaming the Afghan
Allow the piece to dry fully (remember it take a while) and then take out the pins. It will stay in it’s new shape.
SHAVING OFF PILLED YARN:
Yarn tends to pill after time and because I started this piece just before New Years 2012 the bottom of the afghan, where I had started it, was getting a little pilly. Some people shave their pieces with a disposable razor but I don’t like to do this because yarn damage could occur if it’s done too hard. So, I use a small handheld electronic fabric shaver that I bought at my local Walgreens for $15.
I made this afghan as a gift for my boyfriend’s father and step mother as a thank you for taking me on a trip to the Turks & Caicos.
Tony and Mimi in Turks & Caicos
They live in Washington D.C. so my last step was packing and shipping the afghan. I found an old gift box, some fancy looking ribbon and tissue paper to wrap it in.
Wrapping the Gift
I sent it in a shipping box bought at Staples with a card via USPS and it was delivered earlier today. I was informed that they love the gift!