It’s been a good long while since I’ve had a good, proper block. Sure, I’ve blocked things, but most of those blocks have been pretty gentle, more about settling stitches and shape than bringing out the openwork of lace. My last big lace project was my pure silk shawl, which received a slightly gentle block to avoid damaging the wet silk.
When I really block, I block hard. There’s no mercy for the wool as it’s stretched to its limit. I know I’ve been blocking properly when the blocking mats curl as it dries and the wool shrinks back.
Today I finally have something to really block, my Shoulder Shawl from Victorian Lace Today. The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres BFL lace in Gem, so it should be sturdy enough for a nice big stretch. Now the fun starts!
1) Finish the shawl and weave in the ends, but don’t snip them yet!
2) Take before photos, because everybody loves before photos. Don’t forget the before measurements, because everything is more fun with numbers.
3) Get a basin and grab whatever is nearest in the shower. Sometimes I use shower gel, sometimes I use conditioner, I have no method to this step, except what I have to hand, and what smells nice. Today I’m going coconutty with conditioner.
4) Soak the shawl in water (I usually use cold) and soap/shampoo/conditioner until the whole thing is sopping wet. This may take some time.
5) Check ravelry, do laundry, tidy up, knit, or otherwise occupy yourself while the water does its magic.
6) No, really, there’s a fair amount of waiting involved here.
7) Once the shawl is fully soaked through, empty out the water and give it a couple of rinses. Then roll it up in a towel and squeeze out the excess water.
8) Pin out. The great thing about triangles is being able to use blocking wires rather than pinning out every point individually.
9) More waiting.
This is the part I’m worst at. I usually wait until my more patient husband gives the all clear before I unpin it because I’m very good at convincing myself that it’s dry when it’s not quite there yet.
So sometime tomorrow evening I should be ready to unpin. I’ll add a quick update with the finished photos then.