Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Blocking Magic - a real transformation

As you already know,  I love knitting.   There are many reasons why,  and today,  I will show you a bit of the transformational magic of lace.

This is a mystery shawl I started just over a year ago and set aside at about the half way mark.   The lace stitches were just too complicated for my then current knitting ability,  mental focus and concentration. Fast forward to now.  I picked  the Creekwood back up determined to finish it.   I did.   It is finished, and I am so pleased with it.

Here is a picture of the shawl, finished and just off the needles.  See how thick and puckery it is?  The lace is all bunched up.

The yarn, Dream in Colour - Knitosohpy  Laugh,  is so pretty,   a million shades of purples, with blues, greens, and a bit of rust thrown in for good measure.  It is  100% Merino wool and must be hand washed and dried flat.  This particular skein was a prize in a blog contest I entered 2 years ago.  I am glad I chose it for this shawl.

Lace shawls need to be blocked to show off the beauty of the delicate stitches.     The steps in blocking are easy enough.  First,  soak the shawl gently in a warm water.  ( I always add a bit of  yarn soap to the water).  

The next step is to gently squeeze out the water.   To really get the most of the water out,  I lay a stack of towels on the floor and the wet shawl on top.  Then I roll it all up jelly roll style and  stand on it.  Then, I walk back and forth on top of it, squishing out the water.

Step three:  pinning.    I have several interlocking foam mats I use for blocking my knits.  They are designed as play mats, for kids, and work perfectly for this job.     Lay the shawl on the mat, and begin to pin it in place,  stretching and shaping as you go.  It takes a while, but you soon see the lace emerge and can really shape the shawl to your liking.   I aggressively block (stretch the living snot out of)  my shawls.

I like to use  T pins the best, but end up using all the pins I have, it really doesn't matter.  As you can see, the more pins the better!    You have a lot of leeway here,  you can make long points, or many little ones,  what ever your heart desires.

This picture really shows how tightly I stretch the knitting, and how the lace really opens up.   This is the magical transformation of lace.  I think it is beautiful, and a little bit amazing!

This is Pixie,   one of the official blocking inspectors.  For some unknown reason, cats are attracted to blocking shawls.  They just cannot help it.

Sometimes it takes a day or so for the yarn to completely dry. Today it was quite quick.  :)    Once it is dry,  take the pins out and ta-dah!  you have lace.

I am pleased with how my Creekwood  turned out and will be getting some modeled pictures soon so I can put the shawl in the shop!  This might be a perfect shawl for a Steampunk costume.

~ Feather ~


  1. Love your shawls. And thanks for the blocking instructions ... now I know why I can't skip that part

  2. Thanks cat! Sometimes I skip blocking, for a while, but its always worth it, and really, only takes a bit of time... compared to all the time knitting! The difference is amazing!