Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Knit Lace Is Weird, Blocking Is Magic

(Putting the PS at the beginning, for anyone who may not get through all the photos: the Bruins actually won last night! As I didn't dare expect them to. They had to go to overtime, and had to score twice there [the first time it was disallowed], but they did it! Color me tired, but impressed.)

If you haven't seen lace knitting before and after blocking (which is really just what we call washing and shaping a knit thing [sometimes strenuously]), you might think that the concept that it is really, really necessary for lace knitting in particular was an exaggeration. You might even think it's funny when you hear a knitter refer to unblocked lace as looking like uncooked ramen noodles.

Although, Exhibit A:
Yellow yarn makes the resemblance uncanny, doesn't it?

However, blocking is what makes this:
Turn into this:
And if that isn't both necessary and magic, I don't know what is.

In other words, I finally finished and blocked the lace shawl that I started in April (pattern: Puncia; yarn: Geisha from Blue Moon Fiber Arts).

It's been a while since my last update; what happened was that I was cruising along, wanting so much to be finished, and even when I got sick, I could still knit since it was just stockinette. But when that was done, and the two halves needed to be grafted together, I let the blurry thinking that was much of November for me decide that sure, I was up to grafting it! After all, I had an idea of wearing it on Thanksgiving, and time was ticking away.

So I did it, and I didn't do a good job of it. Too tight here, too loose there; at least I was smart enough to realize that fixing it would have to wait until I felt better. Which didn't happen until this weekend.

Tweak, tweak, tweak, repeat ad infinitum until it was good enough; then last night before stitch and bitch, I dropped into a dollar* store to get a basin, since I didn't have anything a good size for soaking it in. I pinned it out this morning (and didn't that take a while, even with blocking wires), and there it lies, drying.
*Not the kind of dollar store where everything is literally a dollar, but $1.80 won't break the bank, and I expect I'll use it again.

This was before the soak:
The squares are two feet by two feet, and that's on four of them, so you can see it's almost two feet wide (with the sides rolling in), and almost six feet long.

You may recall that I did a light block on the first half, to see how it was going to change the piece, so that's why the half on the red squares looks different from the half on the blue.

Even obvious in the middle:
Smoother and rougher. Blocking = magic.

So, it spent the night soaking in water and a little Eucalan (unscented, thank you).
And this morning I put it in a towel and pressed out most of the water, then got to work. Blocking wires are better than just pins for something this size, since they're easier to move around until it's just where you wantit, but it's still not a quick process. But so worth it!

For instance, here's what the sides did on their own:
Rollin', rollin', rollin' ... but with the wires, even before pinning them, it controlled that.
Oh, look, an edge!

So I wired-and-pinned one end:
Then one side, the other, the other end, tweak tweak tweak...It went slightly wider than the square, so I added another to the side so it wouldn't hang off the edge..
And in the overall view, you can see that it is, somehow, just slightly wider in the middle. I have no idea how that happened. It looks slightly pregnant.
But I'm not really worried about it showing once the shawl is off its pins and being worn. As knitters sometimes say, you won't be able to tell from the back of a galloping horse. And anyone who does point it out to me in person is asking for trouble, don't you think?

So while it wasn't finished in time for Thanksgiving, I can bring it to Florida to show my mother at Christmas. That will do.


Blogger Mary Ellen said...

It's beautiful! And it really did look like uncooked ramen noodles before blocking!

9:36 PM, December 13, 2016  
Blogger Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Wow! I would LOVE to be able to make something like that! But I don't want to have to learn how, and start small, and work up to this; I just want to DO it! I know, I know ... but I'm the same way about playing the piano. I don't want to learn, start with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and practice; I just want to sit down and play!

11:37 PM, December 14, 2016  
Blogger Alice said...


(and haha, it really does look like ramen... :-D)

10:30 AM, December 15, 2016  
Blogger Jennifer said...

So cool!!!!

2:40 PM, December 15, 2016  

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