Blocking is a wondrous example of knitting magic. All knitting has magic, to be sure, since all of knitting is transformation, turning one thing into another, but the magic of knitting is slow magic, and you need a little commitment to see it clearly. Now, blocking lace is obvious and fast. You can transform something in just a few hours. I started with the Mystery stole looking finished, but ratty.
This is the case with much of lace knitting and can be discouraging to the beginner who thinks their lace is sucking…which it is, but that’s normal. It all comes out in the wash.
I started blocking by gently immersing my lace in a warm bath with Soak. I’m a big fan of this wash, and though I usually use the Aquae scent, but I got some of the Sweet Sheep’s signature scent at the Knitters fair, and I really like it. (Be careful with that link to the Sweet Sheep. It’s a dangerous one.) I left it in there for about 15 minutes, long enough that it was good and wet, all through. I lifted it out (supporting it all round) and put it on a towel, pressing gently to get lots of water out. Then I laid a clean white towel out on the bed and got my new blocking wires and pins.
My new blocking wires (the Dressing wire kit developed by Myrna Stahman and sold by Handworks) are so much better than my old blocking wires that I feel sort of stupid now for how deeply I have loved the old blocking wires. It’s like I’ve always thought that instant pudding was good and someone just gave me crème brûlée. My old wires were serviceable, and I respect them for that, they certainly did get the job done, but these ones just do it more …. elegantly. These wires come in a kit with three gauges, heavy, medium and fine, and two lengths, which I thought was totally excessive, but it turns out that I really love it. I used the heavy wires for the sides.
I used the medium gauge shorter wires to shape the point at one end..
I used the fine gauge wires to shape all the parts with curves.
See how I have the points pinned out? If I had been thinking I would have used the flexible fine gauge wires like this:
But alas, my own intelligence eluded me. Pinned out and pretty, I waited for it to dry. (This doesn’t take long with a laceweight, but still, you don’t want to unpin anything even slightly damp, so I waited more.)
Unpinned, it is gloriously, wondrously, finished.
Mystery Stole 3 – “Swan Lake” by Melanie Gibbons.
Lane Borgosesia Cashwool (I used about half a skein), cheap glass seed beads, silver lined.
Modifications: Only one, I used more beads than Melanie suggested. I love the beads. Can’t get enough. I want to put beads on everything now.
They give the whole thing a sort of weight that makes it drape like a dream.
Blocking. It’s magic.
Random Wednesday Stuff:
1. I am going to be at Rhinebeck on the Saturday (thanks for asking) but not in an official sort of way, just a shopping and petting sheep sort of way.
2. I did work on the gansey wool yesterday. I got all the clean and dry fleece through the drum carder, which gave me six big, fluffy batts:
and I spun all of that, and it made this much.
Clearly, since I am making three ply, there is much work left to be done.
3. Buttonholes better, no picture.
4. Reward yarn still not arrived, though Kathy from Webs confirmed yesterday that it left her on the 25th. This means that it is somewhere sitting at the border, no doubt. (Blast the border. I don’t think they give a crap about wool.) I leave for SOAR in Michigan in the morning, and I seriously, seriously wanted it to come by then – it’s tons of knitting time in the car. (The irony of course, will be that I will likely pass my yarn at the border.) Keep your fingers crossed that it will arrive today.