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 joann.com).
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.