Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blocking Again

I just finished knitting a shawl for my sister. She knits, but mostly garter stitch rectangular things. She purchased the kit in some distant passion for the rainbow of colors, and brought it to me when it proved to end with more than 1,000 stitches per row and require juggling eight or nine colors of yarn. It is the Merging Colors Adagio Shawl, which comes only as a kit from Strickwear and is sold at yarn stores.

I photographed the finished shawl in its "raw" form:
It has a lovely curved neck edge which should make it easier to wear. The ruffled bottom edge is quite a lot of ruffling (and bright yellow) to end at butt level. Just sayin'.

So, I Soaked it (yep, soaked it in Soak, my favorite for fine knits):
After the soak, I pressed out some water without wringing, then put the whole soggy thing in a bath mat and walked on it. No, I did not photographed the flattened sausage of bath mat and shawl.

My daughter gave me tremendous help with the blocking. It took my whole queen-size bed to provide a large enough-barely!-surface, and we covered it with blocking pads. Even so, the lateral edges at the front extended off the 4-foot wide blocking platform and onto the blanket below.  We began by placing a blocking wire through the center stitches from top to bottom. The rest of the blocking proceeded by pulling sections out to their full extent, matching them with their opposite side (mostly eyeballing and using the mat edges as reference points) and pinning them. There was lots of re-pinning as we pulled and shaped additional sections until we were satisfied with the entire shape.  It was a job so massive I ran out of pins. We saved the process by threading a yarn needle with cotton/linen yarn and taking large stitches in the ends of the shawl that we would have pinned. It pays to have a Girl Scout background. Do the best you can with what you have. I am a master at improvising and making do.  Here is the blocked piece:

Finally, a close-up of our improvised pinning method:

You can see that we were well off the edge of the blocking mats by then, so I was sewing my giant stitches into a couple of blanket layers.

Whew!  I will post one more photo tomorrow after it is dry, pins are removed, and it can be modeled.



  1. Wow! It is beautiful! Hope you charge a decent price forall this work. Masterful!!