Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting to the point


Pimpelliese, unblocked

When I won that blue ribbon for the shawl I submitted to the Michigan State Fair two years ago, I chatted up one of the judges about all of the entries. She told me she was surprised by all of the beautiful afghans, shawls, sweaters and other items that had been entered, but weren't blocked. All that stood between many of those items and a blue ribbon was a bath, and some pins, wires or string, she said.


How can knitting cause worry? When you aren't certain there will be enough of the only skein of this yarn to finish. I made it with a mere 5 yards to spare--not enough for another pattern repeat. The scale helped me finish this with a little fudging on the stitch count to get there.

Why would somebody knit an item, spend countless hours, hard earned dollars and who knows how much worry and not finish the thing?

Blobby, unblocked lace.

Take for instance, Pimpelliese, which is done. Oh it's pretty enough to wear right off the needles, but the lace isn't open. While the garter stitch portion looks nice, the lace is rather shabby looking. Unlike my Ruby shawl, this one doesn't take a slide rule to block. It just needs an all over bath and some gentle pinning. The reward for this little step is a more professional appearance to the finished product.


To see those yarn overs, one MUST block. Otherwise, why bother with fancy pants patterns?

For my Victorian shawl, I used nothing more high tech then pins and my mattress. The bed was the only flat surface big enough to spread out an article more than six feet in diameter and then some for the points.


My new favorite thing to knit with a hank of sock yarn.

While I wouldn't bother to block socks or other small projects, I would never skip this step on other items and especially lace and cables. Do you?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be honest, "blocking" went out of style years ago. With the quality of today's roving, blocking is no longer necessary.

Anonymous said...

Just a little FYI:

Wet blocking knitting is an appropriate method for blocking man-made fibers, novelty yarns (except for some very delicate novelties that may fall apart when wet—check the label for care instructions and don't wet anything that says it shouldn't be wet) and some wools and wool blends if done carefully (remember heat and agitation can cause wool to felt).

But, don't forget, steam blocking is always an option..

Denise said...

Very pretty shawl. I don't understand skipping the blocking. Maybe those enterers don't go online.

Rositta said...

I always block, especially as you do, shawls an fancy stitches. I just finished a 72 inch lacy scarf that's drying. I must post it soon...ciao

SkippyMom said...

I don't understand anon's comment about blocking going out of style when the judges evidently demand it - and I know you always use nice quality yarn Rudee.

This piece is lovely, so delicate and it really steps it up a notch with the blocking. The detail is fabulous. :)

SkippyMom said...

I don't understand anon's comment about blocking going out of style when the judges evidently expect it [marking down for not doing it] - and I know you always use nice quality yarn Rudee.

This piece is lovely, so delicate and it really steps it up a notch with the blocking. The detail is fabulous. :)

Finding Pam said...

Rudee, this shawl is just beautiful.

Stephanie V said...

Blocking is such a must with lace. I'm not sure Anon's info is quite correct...and it doesn't address the needs of all those yarn-overs.
Your shawl is just gorgeous. Block on!

sapphireblue said...

I am guilty of not blocking some small items if I like the look already. It's just because I'm being lazy.

Brenda said...

I have never blocked, but I am not sure I have ever made anything that needed it. I am working on a lace blanket now though that will have to be. Isn't anonymous your husband being silly...or one of your brothers? They used to leave such hilarious comments.

Rudee said...

You win the guessing prize Brenda. Thank you for finally outing anonymous!

Gail said...

This is stunningly beautiful, I love the colors...

Ruth said...

I just love the colours its beautifull.

Ruth said...

I can say the colours are even more beautifull in real life as this beautifull little shwal just arived in my letter box. I can't stop stroking it. What a delighful totally unexepected surprize. Thank you so much.

Rudee said...

Ruth, it was my pleasure. I'm so glad you like it!