Blocking and Ta Da!

Regular readers of my blog may well remember my recent post about test knitting / crocheting (here) where I first showed you this shawl that I was making:

© Christina Loman, 2013

You may also remember that it was meant to be finished by 17th March but that I was unable to do this. Well this week I did finish it  🙂 Before the final ta da however it needed blocking.

So What is Blocking?

Blocking, like gauge swatching is sometimes seen as another bothersome extra to knitting or crochet – ‘It is finished so can’t I wear it?’. I, however am a fan of blocking. I love the stitch definition that it gives to my ‘works of art’ that I have worked so hard to achieve. This shawl shows this more than ever.

  1. This is what I started with:

This will block out and stretch out much more giving the pattern much more definition.

2. The next step is to wet it in some way – because I really wanted to stretch this to the max I soaked this in a bowl:

It looks like a gooey mess!

It looks like a gooey mess!

3.

The next step is to get rid of the excess water by rolling it in a towl.

The next step is to get rid of the excess water by rolling it in a towel.

4.  Now for the stretching. I normally pin the items out onto rubber ‘play’ mats but this apparently called for something a whole lot different:

The tools needed to block this shawl!

The tools needed to block this shawl!

(Thanks to the superb notsogranny who lent this to me!)

The wires are to feed into the edges of the shawl and the pins are to pin it into place. The ruler is so that you can measure a piece out to the specific measurements if so required.

Here it is with the rods in. I have to confess that I wasn't quite sure how to use the pins effectively (please don't laugh).

Here it is with the rods in. I have to confess that I wasn’t quite sure how to use the pins effectively (please don’t laugh).

5. Wait 24 hours for it to dry!

6. Un-pin it and wear with pride 🙂

See not that hard really. If you want more info have a look at the Vogue page here.  I figured they ought to know what they are talking about!!

I am hoping that you can tell the difference between this:

This will block out and stretch out much more giving the pattern much more definition.                 and thisleonard town shawl 003:

This shawl also shows another important thing to remember when we are buying yarn. Make sure the dye lot is the same for each skein. Can you see the stripe? I bought this yarn on-line, at the same time and assumed that they would check the dye lots. I didn’t. Never assume anything as these clearly are different! I just hope that it doesn’t show when I am wearing it too much!

Pattern Details

Yarn: EllaRae Lace merino (should have been three balls but, being a test knit I only got two instead of checking with Christina. Sorry but at least she was able to rectify this.) This yarn is lovely to work with.

Needles: US 4 or 3.5mm circular needles.

Special Notes: It uses a picot cast on and cast off that is new to me but which gave the edges a really pretty effect. It comes in  written and chart form and is a repeating pattern over 32 rows. I enjoyed knitting this as it was interesting without being over complicated.

Should you wish to purchase this pattern then you can here. Also pop over to the designers blog here to see what it should look like and what the actual designer has to say about it.

As always on a Sunday / Monday I am linking up with Handmade Monday. Do pop over and see what everyone else has been up to this week 🙂

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52 thoughts on “Blocking and Ta Da!

  1. CatkinJane

    The shawl looks lovely but I can see what you mean about the shading when it’s all stretched out – but that’s not how you wear it so I’m sure it won’t show:)

    Reply
  2. Bits and Bobs Crafts

    its gorgeous and you’ve explained blocking so clearly and well, Thank you. I think when its worn the shading will be hidden. One great tip I picked up about using different dyelots is to create a striped pattern with the odd ball so it looks like its part of the dyeing process

    Reply
  3. Natalie

    I’ve often read about blocking but not known what it is – now I know! I’m the sort of impatient person who wants to finish it and wear it but it makes a big difference if your pictures are anything to go by. Thanks for the tip x

    Reply
  4. Wendy

    It looks gorgeous, and hopefully the line won’t show. Bit cheeky of them not to check the dye lots, I think. I once worked in a wool shop and we would never have sold odd dye lots in one transaction.

    Reply
  5. Red Hen

    Well, thanks for that! I never knew what blocking meant. Am also going to run into trouble with my aran jumper. Think I won`t have enough wool in which case I`ll end up with a different shade of cream, probably on one sleeve, Was thinking I could wear it without one sleeve 😉 . Or maybe just dye the whole damn thing when it`s done. Petrol blue or something.

    Your shawl is fab. And so useful for cool evenings. Well wear!

    Reply
  6. Louise Oakes

    I’ve never blocked anything I’ve knitted, but I do press things (mostly) when I finished something and that appears to give the same result as your blocking.
    Your shawl is beautiful and I love the colour.

    Reply
  7. freespiritdesigns

    oh wow what a gorgeous end result! Its amazing what a difference the blocking makes… going that extra mile really pays off! x

    Reply
  8. adaliza

    That’s amazing. I’m sure the slight colour variation won’t notice. The pattern is awesome and I love the picot edge. I block onto the wrong side of a quilt, on a single bed – but then worry that I may have missed a pin when unblocking! Well done – it’s fantastic.

    Reply
  9. Gertie

    I must confess that I don’t always block my knitting as I find it such a pain… However your method is so much easier than the way I was doing it

    Your shade line is hardly noticeable so I wouldn’t worry about it xx

    Reply
  10. Michaela

    Amazing! I had no idea what blocking is, I assumed it meant filling in the gaps or something. Thanks for this, I love picking up new tips and techniques 🙂

    Reply
  11. CraftLee

    Ta Daa!!!(indeed!)
    Wow ! What a beautiful job you did ! You’ll be on the best dressed ladies list for St. Patricks Day next year! Great post about blocking … it makes such a difference – I remember the first thing I blocked – it was amazing !

    Have a lovely day !

    Siubhan x x x

    Reply
  12. Simmi

    Gorgeous! I had had heard of blocking before, but never knew what it related to with knitting – happy to have learned something today and I can indeed see the difference and it looks lovely! Enjoy wearing it 🙂 Simmi x

    Reply

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