Well, it’s finally done. 39 repeats and two mitred corners.
I finally cast off on the 27th January which is, serendipitously, exactly six months after I cast this project on. I actually made it through a record four repeats in the last day. A finish line is a marvelous motivator.
I didn’t take a measurement before blocking, but the shoes (UK size 6) give an idea of the scale.
Next step, washing and blocking. I’m already out of the closet as a big fan of blocking, but I’ve never blocked pure silk before. I did some reading online and on ravelry and there were a lot of mixed opinions on it. Some people said never soak, just pin and spray. Someone suggested ironing to bring out the shine. Stretch it like crazy, silk is strong. Don’t stretch it, silk is vulnerable when wet. It won’t grow because it’s not sproingy like wool. It will grow because the stitches will slip past each other easily.
For lack of a clear path, I decided to go carefully with what has worked for me in the past. I soaked it with some soap (read: shower gel) and gently squeezed out excess water with a towel. I used my alphabet blocks as usual, although because I was worried about staining I pinned a white duvet cover down first.
I had planned on using blocking wires, but I quickly decided they were just going to be too straight for this, so it was back to my old pinning ways. 39 boarder repeats, each repeat had three points, that’s a lot of pins! Plus a few at the corners to define the shape. I didn’t have to pin the centre, just having the edges pinned out opened it up enough.
I also didn’t pull the knitting as tight as I usually would with wool. Often when I block a shawl, as it dries, and therefore shrinks slightly, the blocking mats will be pulled up into a curve with the tension. I’m a harsh yarn mistress! None of that with the silk though, just pinned out enough to open up the design. Even still, it has opened up a fair bit. You can see how much of the shawl is actually the border. There’s a final row of large yarn overs, and then a row or two of garter and after that it was all border. All in all, it must be close to half of the finished size.
After an inhumane number of pins, this is the finished result. Six months, two countries, and almost uncountable numbers of knit stitches. All worth it.
Next time I’m going to go back through my WIPs and see how I’ve been doing. Which really means I have two weeks to finish sone UFOs before I publicly shame myself!