I have been AWOL for a few months, I know. Sorry if you were waiting breathlessly for my riveting posts. My SIL asked some questions about blocking and I just finished knitting the Echo Flower Shawl by Jenny Johnsen with Knit Picks Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn in Eucalyptus and took pictures of the whole blocking process. So, here is how I block a finished lace project.
First, here is a picture of the shawl just off the needles.
Notice how small and crinkly it looks. This is why we block it. So the first step is to get it wet. I do this by soaking the item in cool to lukewarm water and a little wool wash.
I let it soak for an hour or so. When I am ready to block, I take it out of the water and gently squeeze out some of the water. Then I get a clean towel and lay it on the floor and place the shawl on one end of the towel, thus.
Then I roll it all up.
Once rolled, I step on it. This squeezes out most of the water which the towel soaks up.
Then it's time to pin it out. These are my tools of choice. I have some blocking mats, although you don't have to have them. You can just pin it to the bed. I also have some blocking wires which help keep the shape more uniform and help you get straight lines, but all of that is possible with just pins. The pins are kind of a must.
Here is the damp shawl before pinning.
If you have blocking wires, you sort of weave them through the stitches where you want them. I put them along the top of the shawl so that it would be nice and straight.
Once it is threaded, you pin it down along the top then start on the points. Normally I would use wires for this part, too, but I did it with pins for the demonstration. I started with the center points at the bottom, pulling them out nice and tight. Then I did the points between the center point and the top of the shawl.
Then I pinned out all the rest of the points. Here's a closer look.
At this point you can fiddle with it until it is the shape that you want it to be.
Now, you wait for it to dry. I turned on my ceiling fan and it was dry when I checked it about an hour later. Depending on how thick your yarn and how thick your knitting, it can take longer or shorter. This is a lace weight, so it didn't take very long at all.
Once it is dry you start removing pins. This picture shows how the points stay after removing pins.
And here it is with all pins and wires removed.
And now you are done!
There are other methods of blocking, but this way has never failed me. It is a bit different if you are blocking pieces of a sweater. I don't usually need pins for that, I just soak it and lay it out.
I love how my shawl turned out. The flower pattern got repetitive and boring, but it is so worth it for the end result. It is a gorgeous pattern.
Good luck with your projects. Hope they block out well.