Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Very First Lace Blocking Ever!

It's hard to believe that in all my 20 plus years of crocheting and 6 years of knitting, I have never once blocked any of my projects. Yes, I know, it's a bit of a secret shame really, but up until now I've never really needed to.

I made a sample of yarn for my sister's wedding shawl and I needed to know how it would knit up. So I took it and just knit a very simple lace pattern scarf. Of course, then I had to figure out how to open it all up. A little research and a little cash later resulted in a package arriving from Knitpicks yesterday. It contained foam interconnecting blocking boards, lace blocking pins in a nifty little case and corrosive resistant lace blocking wires. It's an investment I have been pondering for quite some time now, so it wasn't exactly an impulse buy, but it was close.

It took about half an hour to soak the scarf in lukewarm water to make the fibers slide past each other when blocked. Then the "real work" started. It took another 15 minutes to slip the blocking wires in all the outside stitches of the scarf. Here's where it got really cool though. I laid out as many foam board pieces as I needed and put them together just like big puzzle bits. It took 2 minutes to completely pin and stretch and re-pin the wires to the board. Voila! Done! Perfectly stretched lace. How awesome is that!?

I do have to note that not until I was finished did I realize that the textured side of the blocking boards is supposed to be in contact with the yarn. I really don't think it was meant to keep them from sliding around on the table. I also realize that one end of the scarf is much skinnier than the other end, and I think it has a lot to do with binding off too tightly. Well, there's always next time, right? Chalk it all up to experience.

I wish I would have taken pictures of all the steps from start to finish, but as you can see, it's pretty easy work. These items will more than pay for themselves in saved time and effort. My sanity will be a rest too, which is priceless.


Frenzy23 said...

I find I rarely have to block projects as well.
The lace looks great!

gwengoods said...

Wow, beautiful lace! I don't block, sometimes I think I should.

Lenox Knits said...

Gorgeous lace. I've considered that investment myself. I have some quilt pins that I use for blocking and lay it out on a few towels in my living room, but that looks much more even. My technique results in wonky ends sometimes.