Moi? To the pure in heart, all things are pure....
Being someone who is about to embark on her first lact project, I had been wondering about all this lace blocking business. Thanks!
Thanks for the tip about the string. I have done that avoiding scallops attempt before. Luckily I don't really have a perfectionist bone in my body but a string will save a bit of frustration.
I consider myself a fairly smart woman, but lately, sorely lacking in creativity. I see a piece of lace and think that I MUST have blocking wires to block this piece of lace. Nothing will do besides wire.
So the string? PURE GENIUS. Ingenious, even. I bow to your ability to see the unexpected in the expected.
Wow. This couldn't have come at a better time. Definitely going to make blocking my recently finished scarf a lot easier. Thanks! :)
Yes, the string is pure genius. Now why didn't I think of that?
The bed! Of course! (Smacks forhead with heel of hand) The string is, as has been pointed out, genius. Can you tell I don't block much? Thanks!!
What a beautiful shawl! Thanks for the info on blocking how-to. What is the name of that shawl pattern?
"Water bed?!!" I laughed up a lung. Really.
Wonderful tutorial. Unfortunately with a little one in the house, a bed full of straight pins is not an option for me. :( Oh well I'll just be the knitter with the lousy blocking job...My fbs was "blocked on the clothesline with a series of closepins that weighed down the points.
I think the last picture makes up for any prior crookedness... that's really beautiful!
I love the string idea its great! I used to block on the bed as well until I discovered that the baby foam blocks that the alphabets come on that interlock and the babies crawl on as a mat works just as great. Better I think as you can have your bed at night! OH and the best part about the blocks is that they are able to be staning upright to save precious space!!
That lace is so pretty! Thank you for the tips. I have never blocked before and I am working on a couple of shawls so it is good to know about!
How do you keep the cat(s) off the bed???
you (as we all know) are bloody brilliant! I could have just saved myself tons of time with that extra yarn trick. I would think that a cotton yarn would actually work the best because of it's smoothness.
Oooh! Oooh! We are SO in synchronicity this week, Steph. Except I'm not cycling. But I also blocked a shawl last night. Pics on the blog (click my name to see) Triangular as well, to boot. I use blocking wires instead of thread and a foam pad that was a cast off from Miss Lily when she upgraded. I planned the edge with small loops that are perfect for blocking with wires. The big table in my father's office is used for surreptitious after-hours blocking.
I have had lace spring a leak under the tension of blocking. It is horrifying. When blocking, have a needle and spare yarn handy. You may need to do some fast duplicate stitch.
Harlot to the resuce! I am just finishing up my biggest lace project to date, so this is timely info. You are a better woman than I am, because I am so totally going to pin that sucker over on my husband's side. He is terrified that an ant, earwig, spider-anything with more legs than him is laying in wait for him. It is so fun to watch him jump around when he does lay on something (rubberband, bobbypin, the occasional dpn). I don't get out much-I gotta get some entertainment when I can, karma be damned.
Who needs a chair? Just stand right on the bed. Just be careful not to get your feet in the picture (and not to fall off - I did, but heck, I got a good picture). It is beautiful. Isn't blocking amazing?
Thanks so much for all the blocking info. I will make some good use of it! Is that the FBS! I love that color for it. Beautiful! :-)
Thank you! This will come in very useful for my next shawl (but not the one I blocked last night, which taught me about the scallop phenomeneon...)
Thanks for the lesson! I have been getting lazy in my blocking lately.... but you have helped see the error of my ways. I am humbled.
Thanks for the lesson! I have been getting lazy in my blocking lately.... but you have helped see the error of my ways. I am humbled.
Colleen, we'll have you be a lact-ation expert in no time. You could be a doula like Stephanie.
If you're blocking something like fingering weight and want it to dry faster, one thing you can do is spin it out in the washing machine IF the water is turned off and won't spray during the spin cycle.
I think this is probably a stupid question, but here goes:
I have blocking wires, but have never used them. I have just finished a very basic, lacy scarf whose edges are all scalloped in the un-blocked form...once I stick the wires (or yarn as Stephanie recommends) up the sides, how do I then attach the sides to a surface to keep them from skootching in to meet each other? Does that make sense? Do I still use pins?
I guess it's obvious that I've never blocked anything other than a sweater...
Thanks for the great step-by-step tutorial, Stephanie!
You just gave me a completely Duh! moment. I will toot my own horn and say I did think of the string trick for straight edges too but I've been trying to thread the stupid things through AFTER soaking. Let me tell you that is really hard struggling with wet wool. NOW I see it would be much better to do it before soaking. The light bulb has now gone off. I just can't believe it took me this long.
Thank you. You do make it look easy...
I've saved this in my special "crafts" folder, the entire internet file because I think you are brilliant.
You've also made me ponder getting a queen-size bed rather than this twin I've slept in for the past 20+ years. Hmm. I think it's time for a change.
Wow. Wow. I just learned more in the past 5 minutes than I found scrounging in books for instructions on blocking for hours. Thank you so much.
The blocking info is great, but Libby's suggestion of using baby's interlocking foam blocks (pad) is brilliant!! My little one isn't so little any more, but that foam stuff is easily found, often on sale and can be disassembled and stored in your yarn closet (we all have at least one of those, right?). Thank you ladies! I have been collecting lace patterns waiting for just the right one to try for the first time (those Sivia Harding patterns are nice and often use fingering weight yarn - a bit less intimidating), now I have the blocking instructions, too!
Thank you! My current infatuation with Birch has been punctuated by twinges of "Erm, I'm really gonna have to block this thing, huh?" so this was very helpful.
Yeah, the challenge for me and the bed is keeping the dogs off. But now I'm thinking I should have a "wall o' foam" for my knitting room. When I have one someday...
A girl can dream can't she?
I'll cc this to you via email. I would thread the blocking wires gently through the point of each scallop. You will need pins, but fewer than with waste yarn, to secure the scarf in place. If the scarf is stretched fully by the wires the scallops shouldn't be in danger of compressing together.
Well that explains it very well. Thanks.
You know, this post is the first time that you managed to capture my husband's attention. The picture following #7. He got all excited. From where he was sitting he thought it was a thong. He thought you were sharing a super-secret thong pattern. MEN. Good grief.
The string for the straight edge could have saved my sanity a while back. Thanks for sharing.
You always put a big smile on my face when I read your posts. Love the various socks story. Great tips on blocking too.
I love an aggressive blocker. There is nothing sweeter than plunking an adoring little lace shawl into a wet bath and teaching it the joy of a good stretch.
Do I really have to block a sweater? If it looks all right the way it is? And assuming it's yes, shall I put the buttons on before or after blocking?
Gorgeous!! I have yet to embark on a lace project and this gives me hope. Loving it.
You know, Judy knits balls of lace that look like planets. I have been asked by someone who shall remain nameless (but thinks spinning wheels are archaic) to knit a solar system. It is a sign of my inability to say no as well as my absolute awe of Judy's talents that I've thought this was a BRILLIANT idea...
What a great tutorial. I could 'a used it Monday when blocking my first ever lace project - but now I have the info for my next! You're the best and I hope you're having a lovely bike outing. Thanks for the pre-postings :)
Brilliant! Since it's finally starting to cool off here in New York, I'm knitting again and moving onto bigger projects, so the blocking technique is going to be essential.
Seriously though, how do you keep the cat off the bed? I've got two, I can only imagine the kitty glee when they find yarn on what they think is *their* bed.
a STRING! well, color me embarassed. My father uses string for EVERYTHING.... but I couldn't think of this alternative to blocking wires.... sigh...
So, could you also run a string through each of the points on a side to help encourage them to be even???
Helen, who will soon be faced with blocking a faroese shawl, and has no clue how to get that shape on a flat surface....
Thank you kindly for the tutorial, which will come in mighty handy as I begin to tackle the lace shawl i've been contemplating. I hope you and yours are enjoying your bike journey.
again, huge thanks for your generosity.
I have just finished the Leaf Lace Shawl from Fiber Trends in Cherry Tree Hill Merino fingering weight colour: Cabin Fever.. Steamblock it - God with Evian Brumisateur!!! ah! ah! - as i did not have a proper steam bottle.. Blocked everything on my 2" pink isolation board.. to find myself having to block it again as Merino is so stretchy it came back into initial "just finished knitting shape"! Well that will learn me: this shawl is getting a good soak an on to the blocking board again !
One further refinement which I got from Myrna Stahman's excellent (and very intimidating) book, Stahman's Shawls and Scarves. Put a gingham or plaid sheet on the bed so you can follow the straight lines. She uses a piece of 4'x8' insulating styrofoam with the sheet stretched over it. I tried this too, and it worked just beautifully--I lined the plaid lines up with the edge of the foam sheet and stapled it in all around. The only problem with this method, as I found out to my sorrow, is that you have to actually have a place to store a 4x8 sheet of styrofoam! For some reason my family wasn't keen on the idea of keeping it in the front hallway where it completely obscured the full-length mirror. My husband reluctantly allowed me to put it in his workshop to keep him from having to explain its presence to his parents, who were coming for a visit. However, I have a feeling that after a few weeks in the shop, it will no longer be quite so ideal for blocking a brand-new and very clean shawl on--so maybe I will try the bed method next time!
You're Brilliant! I've been a devoted reader/lurker for at least a year now and want to say thank you for your incredible blog. And, of course thank you so much for taking the time to give us all this tutorial.
Perfect timing! I'm at the last row of my Leaf Lace shawl and have never blocked anything before. Thanks!
Thank you thank you! This is one of the best descriptions of blocking I've seen in a long time! I love the tip about threading the yarn through the edge...
thank you for sharing,there is nothing nicer then blocking eh?
Seems like I'm a day late and a dollar short on a few things today. Just AFTER blocking Kiri this morning I log on to your site and good hints. The next one is worse - we returned from a European trip of a lifetime yesterday and I realized I missed meeting you here in North Vancouver while we were gone :-(
Thank you, merci, and xie xie for the tip about using string like a blocking wire. Brilliant, indeed!
I always want the big swish, too.
Top secret tip - use mason's line. It's polyester or something that doesn't absorb water. It's shiny and slippery. You can get it in different weights at your local hardware store or Walmart. I used loops for the points on flower basket. Worked great.
WOW. Thanks for that. Great description, pictures, everything. I have a question... Do you do that *every* time you wash a shawl??? I have yet to finish my first shawl, so I'm a little wary of what it might take to own one, LOL. OR, once blocked, does it sort of retain any "memory" of it's shape? thanks - again!
That's some serious blocking!
I just blocked a scarf 2 days ago, steam ironed it to death so it wouldn't curl up in pain!
I just finished my first shawl/scarf project and all I did is wash it, wring it, fold it on a plastic hanger so it drooped the right way. After it dried, I pressed it with a steam iron. It looks beautiful. Was that cheating?
Keeping the insulating styrofoam in the shop shouldn't be a problem. It'll be covered with the clean plaid sheet when you're going to use it, right? It just has to be dry and not greasy. Also, it could be neatly cut in half and duct-taped back together when needed, so it'll fit into smaller spaces. 2x8 might fit into a closet. 4x4 might fit behind a piece of furniture next to the wall (maybe one that could use some insulation...), or flat on the floor under a double bed.
You couldn't possibly know how timely this post was for me. I love ya, Harlot. Hope you are having a great bicycle ride!
I have knitted - and thus dressed - a few lace shawls. I am spoiled and do have dressing wires which are wonderful but I still use nylon thread through the points of a shawl when those points need to be aligned. I then loop the nylon thread through the dressing wires for a nice, even edge. I use rustproof pins to set the wires to the correct size.
A note for those dressing a farose shawl: I first dressed it with the nylon thread and wires as if it were a triangular shawl on a flat surface. Then I put it on my dressmaker's mannequin, after padding the shoulders with some hand towels to make then round. Then I pulled the shawl to an even length all around and pinned the points (to the mannequin's hips!). Since it had already been washed for the original dressing, I just sprayed the shoulder areas with water to 're-set' the shape there. Worked for me! Carol in Alabama.
Thanks for the tutorial! This will be coming in handy as I block my bohemouth shawl!