Had a bit of blueberry pie for breakfast.
|I can't figure out why the posting template keeps laying this picture on its side. Sorry.|
Back home I finished the Damask Shawl. Unfortunately it's a bit more of a Shawlette due to the smaller yarn (Remember I had the self destructing yarn issue?), and the more appropriate needle size for a smaller yarn. I did bump up to the largest size in the pattern and am glad I did. I'm sure she'll appreciate the work just the same. In fact I'm thinking of sending this one to my sister in law instead and re-knitting it in the replacement yarn that the Great Adirondack Yarn Company sent me. I'm going to think on it a bit I do believe.
I've been asked recently about blocking, and blocking lace in particular. Here is how I typically do it, though at the Rocky Mountain Mens Knitting Retreat we were shown a fascinating technique using PVC piping, rubberbands and hooks that I will try in the near future. It looked so much simpler.
First I soak the finished item after all the ends are woven in for several minute in a tepid water bath with a rinseless wash such as "Soak or Eucerin"
Then after draining the water I wrap the item in towels and pull out the extra water which leaves me with a damp wonderfully wet woolen scented mass of stitches.
I gently so as not to over stretch areas (probably over anal) spread the mass out, find the reference lines such as the edge where the border meets the body of the work and start pinning to shape
Using a yardstick for measuring and to provide a straight edge, I continue the pinning process to fill out the shape. I use less pins such as on the lower border to give me the desired points and more to even out the edge and like on the top edge.
I try to even out the knit work as I go with my hands to keep the stitch work showing its best and looking even and precise.
Then I take artsy fartsy pictures just to make myself feel smug with my work. Everyone in my opinion should feel smug about finished projects after all.
Here in Wyoming the climate is a bit on the dry side, so to slow the drying process I lay towels across the work (Here are the last of my rags that Bob hasn't stole from the laundry to add to the dog towels. Obviously I need to do some more transferring of supplies again). This helps slow the drying process to really set the blocking in. Other items that I've let dry in their own time have bounced back to the pre-blocking state rather exuberantly. I found that by slowing the process down with towel layering and a real good soaking with a mister before finishing really gets the blocked shape set well.
And that's about it. I'll eave out all the picking out, fussing and worry at trying to get the thing as straightened out as possible... it's all rather embarrassing. Now I let it sit until tomorrow when I check on it to see where we're at. If it's still damp I'll re cover and turn a fan on in the room to get circulation to assist with the last bit. If it's still soaking like some fibers tend to hold onto the fiber, I will take the towels off for the last drying stages.
I've seen all kinds of blocking surfaces. I have found the guest bedroom's spare bed the best surface. I know many who use an emptier rooms floor. My downstairs room has carpet that still smells of the previous owner's dog which is not what I prefer to leave my knitted gifts smelling of. Also with a cat that wanders downstairs to keep cool I don't trust her not to mess with blocking items. The bed also accepts pins well for holding tension. The aforementioned technique that was shown us allowed the blocker to build a relatively cheap frame for the item to be blocked and then was simply stood in a corner to dry. It was very space effective and mobile. My only concern here is that with the dryness I may have to re-wet it several times through the blocking to keep it damp long enough.
Hope it all made sense...