Saturday, October 11, 2008

Blocking Lace

The Arctic Diamond Stole is finished! Bound off, blocked, ends trimmed -- the whole thing. Here are the glamour shots.

Tastefully draped over the shoulders --

Showing off the lovely pattern –

Now let's talk about blocking. I learned a lot in the process of blocking this shawl. Just a few things:

• Remember "wax-on, wax-off" from "The Karate Kid"? Apparently an hour on hands and knees blocking out a stole works certain muscles that do not customarily get worked. Ow! I bet if I did the blocking-the-shawl exercise every day, I'd have the tightest butt in town.

• When blocking a long narrow rectangle, it's best to start from the middle and then block outward to each end.

• Lace responds well to gentle and repeated coaxing. A short rest, and it's willing to stretch some more.

• Geometric patterns (like diamonds) need to be lined up both horizontally and vertically. (Heh. Took a while to figure this one out.)

I didn't think blocking wires would be needed for a simple rectangle, but I was wrong. The painful alternative is the thousand-pin strategy (okay, not really 1,000; more like 300-400; but still . . .). The edge came out reasonably straight only because I wandered over and repositioned the edge pins every half-hour or so. I have since ordered a set of blocking wires (very reasonably priced at

Knowing from both the designer's comments and the behavior of my swatch that this yarn is not so cooperative when it comes to holding the blocked length, I knit an extra half-repeat (one diamond) and then pinned it out to 68". After unpinning, the stole relaxed to 65", exactly the length I wanted.


Delighted Hands said...

Oh, it is so lovely! So , dress up and go out to dinner wearing it! Thanks for all the tips; they really help!

beverlyanne said...

It IS lovely. Good planning for that extra repeat to get the correct relaxed length.

Luni said...

Truly amazing. The symmetry of the design is so appealing.
It's a beautiful stole, worth the work put into it.
I think you'll really appreciate the blocking wires. I like mine, and I like having a table or a spare bed to block on. My days of hands and knee work are over.

Leigh said...

It's beautiful! And worth every ache and pain of blocking. (Well, it didn't hurt me any *just kidding!*)

Sharon said...

Spectacular! I've never heard of blocking wires, but I've never knitted a shawl either. As a knitter, I've learned never to say never when it comes to projects. This information may come in handy some day - just hope I can remember it when the time comes.

bspinner said...

Worth all your hard work.

Marjorie said...

That is beautiful. The color you chose is so lovely.

I always have to psych myself up to do a major blocking (and do some major stretching before and after). Another requisite for me is daylight--I have got to block in the morning when I get the most sun.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Your shawl is absolutely beautiful.
A work of art.
I know what you mean about the aches and pains. Oh to be young again.