Purposeless Peice

A couple months ago I started knitting on Size 8, 32 in. long circular knitting needles for no apparent reason other than the desire to try out these needles. I couldn't wrap my mind around knitting in the round (all in good time I say), so I have just been going back and forth in stockinette. As of now I have a peice that is 34 in. wide and 19in. long. I would post a photo, but I don't have a digital camera. In any case, I'm probably going to keep knitting it until in reaches a desired length and just call it a shawl, but I was wondering if you guys might have some ideas or tips for this lowly beginner as to what i could do with this peice-in-progress.
Also, what sort of blocking techniques would you suggest for something once it's off the needles? Or is it too soon to think about that?

On a side note, I watched Frost/Nixon last night as part of my Thursday-night-movie-watching-ritual and highly reccomend it if you haven't seen it.
Pax et bonum,


WillyG's picture

Ian, hello! You're more patient than I, to be knitting a piece that wide back and forth. In the round is a different story; you get to where you can close your eyes and knit till you're nauseous (may it never be so).
I'm not sure what to do with a big rectangle of fabric...what a fun brainstorm! What kind of yarn are you working with? I may not have the patience, but you could keep going till the piece is long and make it any number of things...a panel in an afghan, a superman cape like I had on my pajamas as a young boy, or seam it into a tube.
Even at its current length, expanding on the seaming into a tube idea, you could possibly make it into a funky hat, small shrug, or big cowl/neckwarmer thing. If you want to learn a skill, you could also consider picking up stitches along the sides to add length in a different direction. It might be good practice, since you don't have your heart set on it becoming something too specific; it hurts less if it doesn't quite turn out.
Since the sky is the limit as to what this may become, you may not know just how you're gonna need to block it. I always block via immersion in tepid water with a no-rinse wool wash (such as Eucalan) and let it sit about 20 minutes, then lift my new baby out of the water, squeezing it gently, roll it up in a towel and press out the excess water, then block-- either by laying it out on a drying-friendly surface (such as a mesh sweater rack) or pinning onto a foam exercise mat if I need specific shape and tension. I also have enjoyed using blocking wires. I'm sure other guys here will be able to give much better advice than I; I feel like a beginner in a lot of ways, too. These are just the methods I've been trying out in the past year or so. Good luck, and get to a camera (even if it's someone's phone...that's all I use, plus my webcam in a pinch) to show us the results!

KjoyPsorrow's picture

Thanks, I greatly appreciate the advice. I'll especially keep the blocking info handy for future use. As for the yarn, I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I'm using something other than wool as it seems most everyone else is a prurist when it comes to yarn. I have not been to a store where they sell wool yarn thus far. My apologies. However, the yarn I do use, Caron Simply Soft Eco, is my preferred yarn of choice as of now -- it is actually quite soft in comparison to the other acrylic yarns i've come across, and environmentally friendly as it uses post-consumer recycled polyester. I'll consider the panel in the afghan idea. But I suppose that means I'll have to muster even more patience to A) finish this peice and B) make say three others to put together for the project. I kinda dig the idea though.
Thanks again

WillyG's picture

No need to apologize about your yarn. We all sin and fall short of the glory of Elizabeth Zimmerman...wait, that's taking it too far. If you are working with an acrylic yarn that you like, good. There are some decent ones out there, I hear, but don't tell. I'm sure you'll try many more yarns in the wonderful future of your knitting; I know it's hard to find yarn at first. Where I live, you have to drive a good hour to get better than Michael's or Walmart. It's worth the trip, if you can get off the campus. Sometimes the yarn itself is exciting enough to make an otherwise boring project a thrill. If St. Francis of Assisi knit, I could see him getting a kick out of yarn. Noro yarn gives me a kick, but some people hate it. Snobbery goes in all directions. That's the fun of variety. That said, the purists have really great points.

I gave basic info on blocking, assuming others would fill in details better than I, but let me know if you need more.

As for the afghan idea (even the baby blanket, if you like), I read that you've done some basic cabling. If you do panels, you could put in a few cables to add interest (whether for the eye or for the knitter is to be decided).

Happy knitting!

purlyman's picture

What about a baby blanket? I was just looking at the manufacturer's website - interesting idea for recycling plastic! Seems to be a safe product and it wouldn't have to be hand washed or anything.

As far as finding wool yarn, I'm sure San Antonio has local yarn shops or even a Michaels, which would carry at least Paton's Classic Wool - it's not expensive and it's actually one of my favorite standby yarns.


albert's picture

The craft stores also usually carry Lion Brand Fisherman's yarn which can be used in the natural colors or overdyed for a fun project. Price wise it's not bad.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

My advice on yarn is to use the best you can afford and whatever fits your projects needs. I always knit baby items in acrylic so they can be thoroughly washed...even though my friends are aghast at the concept. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

albert's picture

A sensible strategy until someone comes up with tidy babies.