A Blocking Story

I finished Laminaria last week, and it was blocked atop my hotel room bed.  I’ve shown it off to anyone who cared to look since then, but there’s been no official photoshoot for it.  It’s not that I didn’t try, but rather that every time I even vaguely considered taking it’s picture the sky darkened and rain pelted down. (I eventually gave up. Coming to understand that the planet didn’t want it done and didn’t mind inflicting a pleuvial deluge of misery on me everytime I tried.  I hate rain.  It was a highly effective deterrent.) I thought you might like to see the pictures Tina took while I was blocking.  I’ve got a pretty simple process for silk.  Since it’s not elastic at all, it really stays where you put it and there’s little, if any point to stretching it at all – so it’s a quick block.  It’s not like with wool where having it under tension really changes the shape and character – silk does as it’s asked, once it’s had a relaxing bath. It’s all about patting and spreading it where you’d like it to be, then it just lies there like melting butter.

I gave it a little swim in the sink,  then lay it on a towel, rolled it up and walked on it to remove most of the water, then spread the thing on the bed like a mighty pondscum green wing.  I used some pins to anchor things, and to get the points I wanted on the tips, and that was about it.  A few hours later it was dry, and being silk, it stayed exactly as it was when I picked it up.

I’m hoping that I’ll have managed to ditch the rain curse by the time I’m home.  Right now it’s followed me to Vancouver, but Toronto is far from here, and my plane is fast.  Perhaps tomorrow the shawl and I can take a walk to the park.

I think you can already tell how pretty it is. 

(PS. I know I told you that I’d show you our further yarnbombing efforts today, but we’ve only just left, and I know the staff won’t have found them all yet – and that they’re bloody sneaky enough to cheat if I post anything on the blog. Let’s wait until tomorrow… shall we?)

(PPS.  Yes.  You’re right.  I am wearing my jammies in those pictures. I don’t feel badly about it either.)

108 thoughts on “A Blocking Story

  1. The shawl is lovely. But the rain in Vancouver? Not necessarily about you, says this former Seattleite.

  2. For a moment there I thought blocking a shawl in a hotel room meant that it got a massage after the bath–the walking on the towel bit, sort of threw me! Sort of gives new meaning to the phrase Yarn Harlot!

  3. That’s a seriously pretty shawl. Why should it be different from everything else you do?
    To my knowledge, there’s no law against wearing jammies in one’s own hotel room. In fact, I think it’s encouraged.

  4. Ooooo, I can tell it’s just gorgeous. As soon as I’m done with my current lace project, this is going on the needles. Here’s hoping for clear skies and a photo shoot!

  5. -your jammies are cute,
    -the shawl is gorgeus,
    -and the yarn bombing is both hilarous and genius.
    -can’t wait to see more pic of the latter two.
    And for once (and for all the difference in the time-tones, I caught you minutes after you posted… not next day 🙂

  6. What a beautiful shawl!!!!
    I can wait until tomorrow.. i think… I hate suspense…
    Who says you can’t wear jammies when you want to, jammies are comfortable! If I have my way when I rule the world one of the things I will change is the jammie rules that are out there, saying you can’t wear jammies when you are an adult.

  7. Wow that shawl is so very very lovely! And the yarnbombing is so very very awesome! When knitters rule the world, all will be soft and colorful!

  8. A true Tour de Silk. A perfection of green-ness, like many lily pads floating on a pond. I can’t even begin to imagine knitting such a treasure. Wear it for many happy years.
    Eve from Carlisle, MA

  9. I adore the jammies – makes you so much like the rest of us knitters – all about the comfort baby! Your shawl is stunning. So happy that silk likes to play fair!

  10. Stephanie,
    As always, you’ve brought a smile to my face. The absolutely lovely shawl, and what fun with all of the small yarn hidings and adornments. You wacky knitters! Rebecca

  11. You deliberately go to the Pacific Northwest, in November. And then complain about the rain. Not getting much sympathy from this knitter.

  12. yea jammies!
    Laminaria looks gorgeous. I like this pinning it to the bed idea (vs the rug on the floor).
    Love the yarn bombing – can hardly wait for more photos. does it count if I yarn bomb a tree in my own yard?

  13. Lovely, lovely Laminaria. On my list for someday. As for jammies–I spent literally all day yesterday in mine (one of my rare days off that didn’t require leaving the house). The world would be better off if everybody would wear jammies all the time.

  14. OMG. You just tweeted about the DeathFlake and how you’d like to use it on mittens. That is exactly what I am doing right now! Almost done with the first mitten. How awesome you had the same idea! I’m feeling quite chuffed. Also love how you blocked a shawl. In the hotel. In your jammies. Nothing can stop a dedicated knitter.

  15. You will forgive me for pointing this out but that was a pretty darn seductive email you just had with Lumi……relaxing bath…patting…spreading….melting butter.
    I almost feel I should avert my eyes and give you some privacy. But you do make a lovely couple.

  16. lovely! will it be given as a holiday gift?
    and speaking of the holidays, still no sign of your holiday knitting schedule this year?! is that because you’ve tucked away knits carefully all year long and aren’t having the usual last minute gift-knitting-athon? if so, i’ll miss it!

  17. haha! I’m wearing my jammies in my how to block post too. Isn’t there a rule that jammies are blocking attire (black tie, semi-formal, jammies)?
    Lovely photos of the blocking at work. I’m sure that your finished object shots will be breathtaking.

  18. You think the rain followed you to Vancouver? Having lived there for a year, I can tell you it was definitely there already!

  19. I learned the joy of blocking silk earlier this summer after blocking my Evenstar out of Claudia Silk Lace. Several months later, repeated foldings and transport modules, that sucker still looks good! It’s a joy to block and a joy to behold. I love silk!
    Laminaria looks great- can’t wait to see the whole FO.

  20. It’s truly lovely. In regard to the rain it is Autumn in the Great Northwest – that’s what the weather does there at this time of year. We were just talking about the year (2007-08) when Seattle broke the all time record for rain 3 months running. Nov-Jan. It was like living in a swamp. However, it could have been 20 gazillion feet of snow, so we don’t complain. ;>)
    Peace, joy and sunshine…

  21. Just what I needed – a cryptic few photos that shout “Knit me RIGHT NOW!”.
    It is a beautiful thing, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to pond scum, except possibly at the microscopic level.

  22. I HATE the rain too. (and I live in Vancouver!).
    The shawl you made was like a bit of sunshine to me

  23. Thank you so much! I’ve been dying to see what she turned out like. As suspected, she’s obscenely gorgeous! This is my most absolute favorite color on the planet.

  24. I can see why you wanted to knit that shawl. Beautiful patern. In regards to the rain. Might I just mention that it has rained quite sufficiently in Toronto for 2 days now and for those of us about 1 hour north of the city we have experienced the glory of snow. Sag.

  25. About 2 weeks ago, I saw three young women at a Vancouver grocery store at about 3 pm on a Sunday afternoon all in their jammies. They were cuter than a bugs ear. (The jammies looked crisp and new, in case you are wondering.) There is goodness in the world.
    Lovely shawl. (Lace is not on my project list. Lace is not on my project list. Lace is . . . )

  26. I thought of you today (in a good way) as I tried to explain to my DH the excitement I felt at having finally learned a new knitted cast on! still extremely excited, altho his reaction was totally underwhelming. pretty sure you would have reacted differently. Thank you for the inspiration.

  27. Lucky you’re not on the ocean side of the Olympic Peninsula, where it rains twelve feet a year. You’d think that meant rain 24/7 but there are lots of sunny days.

  28. I can’t wait to see it off the bedspread. Mine will be more “sage-y” and now I can’t wait to sink my needles into that pattern! Glad you had a great time. Our semi-annual retreat is this coming weekend and I’m sure we all will be in our jammies. Looking forward to more yarn bombing photos!

  29. I’m sorry to say that it’s raining in Toronto, too. In fact, it was more wet snow than rain at certain points today. *weeps*

  30. That is such a pretty shawl and I love the colour!
    (I’m a jammie girl too – the only thing I like about it being dark at 4:30 is that I can feel good about having been in them for an hour already)

  31. Love the flannel jammie pants. I go out every morning in mine, walking the dog. It is usually still kinda dark, so who’s to know?

  32. So. It’s you. You are the one who damaged my calm today in Vancouver….it was a lovely sunny morning. Then the rain and the snow.
    Thanks goodness I go home to Kansas tomorrow….

  33. I am sure that when the picture is taken in sunlight, the color will turn out to be really pretty. I’m a big fan of green.

  34. Its raining in Kingston, so good luck when you get to Toronto. I’m sure the photo will be worth the wait/torture.

  35. “Pleuvial deluge?????” NIIIIIIIIICE one!!! (I’m a linguist – I oughta know!!!!)
    And the shawl is lovely, too…

  36. I wonder if whomever thought that one needed two queen size beds in one hotel room was a lace knitter. Why else would there be two?

  37. The best part is that you got to use a hotel towel to absorb the water instead of “soddening” one of your own.

  38. Thanks for the blocking process post. The pictures are very helpful for a blocking novice like me!!
    I can’t wait to see this shawl when the rain stops…

  39. It looks lovely. I actually find it shocking that you could live in the north and not like rain. That must be tough. I LOVE rain.
    Who would feel bad for blocking in jammies? They’re comfortable and allow a lot of movement – quite useful when blocking with all the kneeling and moving around.

  40. It’s beautiful! Thanks for sharing the word about silk; I didn’t know it was well-behaved. Now I’m going to have to try some.
    Looking forward to seeing your modeled FO. I’m also waiting for the rain to stop so I can take a picture of mine. Life in the Pacific NorthWET.

  41. Those feet look like they were made for blocking!
    It is always a plus to have built in equipment. I know, I know, really, really bad pun.

  42. I think there must be something wrong with me. I don’t like knitting silk.
    I’ve knit one scarf that I liked out of a crunchy silk/wool blend (that I shall not name as it is discontinued and I want it all for myself), but other silk, even other silk blends, just feels weird in my fingers.
    As someone who clearly loves silk, do you have anything to say to persuade me otherways? Any tips? Do you use a certain kind of needles? I’d love to figure out how to make it work for me since it is so friggin’ beautiful.

  43. Why do I love that pondscum green? It makes me think of Smooshy’s Spring Tickle. Great color and I can’t wait to see how it looks on a blocked laminaria.

  44. Already looks too pretty for words. I’m unusually partial to pond scum green. Maybe you could be hired to go work your rain magic in drought-afflicted areas…..

  45. OK you’ve seriously pushed me over the edge. I’ve been contemplating making this for over a year. Now I just have to dive into my stash and find the perfect fiber. Wish me luck – I’m goin in!!
    PS. do you know the medical connection to Laminaria??? My LYS owner told me last year….maybe that’s why I’ve been hesitating?

  46. sitting here in my jammies, i’m envying the beauty of laminaria before returning to knitting a watch cap (for giftmas) in a slightly darker pond-scum green.
    i’m retired and now have plenty of time to become a process knitter but somehow i keep churning out the “products” instead (being cosiderably slower a knitter than your royal harlotness).
    btw, i’m already missing the 2011 “never not knitting” calendar that didn’t quite fit into your schedule . . . i even took the appropriate pages along when i was out of the states for a month. mornings just won’t be the same w/o my daily dose of harlotry.
    oh — and i seriously second toni c’s request that you bring some of that rain to central indiana: our pond’s water level is down 2.5 feet!

  47. I thought it was a requirement to block lace in one’s jammies.
    The shawl is beautiful and just your color, can’t wait to see it on you (in the sunshine of course).

  48. So, if I have a really small bed, can I check into a hotel with the excuse that I really need to block a shawl?
    Absolutely gorgeous shawl – I’m considering my Christmas list in light of that…

  49. The hotel staff will never find my yarn bomb unless they redecorate…
    I hope to attend your next retreat so I can check for it!
    I learned so much, plus had a blast.
    Thanks for the wonderful time.

  50. That’s what they get for filling their hotel up with knitters! Your (and your students’) yarn bombs are both funny and wonderful!

  51. I’ve noticed in your previous posts that you often block atop the bed. I’m totally intrigued by using the nice, flat surface. Two questions, perhaps you could address as a follow up?
    1. Are all the pin holes ruining your blankets or comforters?
    2. Do the same blankets and comforters get damp? Do you worry that too much moisture might get into the linens?

  52. That’s a beautiful shawl.
    And I think it’s funny that you think the rain followed you to Vancouver. It probably just visited you in Toronto to be kind enough to get you used to it in Vancouver. 🙂

  53. What a great idea to block in a hotel! A bed for sleep and a bed to block. Lots of towels and they’ll bring you more (and maybe without any questions). A clean sink for wetting knitting. Next time I travel and someone wants to share a room… too bad, I have some blocking to do.
    By the way, Laminaria is beautiful.
    And what else would one expect you to wear in a hotel room!

  54. Were those pictures of the shawl blocking were taken by Jared Flood?? I know his work when I see it! You had Jared Flood in your room?? Awesome! But, you have some ‘splaining to do!

  55. I’ve not blocked anything yet, and the pieces I’m working on, of course are wool. I only hope they turn out half as wonderfully as your shawl. Which by the way, I would love to own. Email me for the address….

  56. did you change the ‘top bit’ (star chart, I think) of the shawl or just went with it? Oh, it got on my tits on completing laminaria_1!
    Fortunately, other people on Ravelry had had it up to here with that section going in different directions (horizontal and vertical) so there were suggestions for making those little stars behave!
    I happily handed laminaria_1 to my mother when she enthused over it (she is really not that fussy) and for laminaria_2, I made the corrections and I’m now a very happy bunny with a well behaved star section!

  57. “pleuvial deluge” has got to be one of the best turns of phrase ever invented. Seriously.
    I wonder what the reaction would be if you whipped that one out in conversation. I think you might get an instant win for that, no matter what you’re discussing.

  58. Not related to the post, but today’s Pickles comic is about knitting! I emailed it to you, but I’m sure the subject line will be something spammy like “Random Stranger Sent You A Cartoon.”
    That shawl is amazing.

  59. Porn or grope? Full-body scan or pat-down? Fortunately I can drive to the Sock Summit, because I’m not going to fly in this environment. You?

  60. J. Peterman’s writers would have a ball with that photo.
    “Laminaria shawl: Leaning over the bridge, the Harlot was contemplating her latest encounter when the shawl she had knitted from exquisite eastern silk, blew off her shoulders and landed in a puddle at her feet. Experience it for only $$$$$$”
    Loved it!

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