Thursday, March 18, 2010

First Hand Spun Yarn Knitted Shawl thing

Dear Mom,
After blocking the living daylights out of the Boneyard Shawl, I can show you the results.

I think I love it! And I am pretty excited that that is my hand spun yarn. Remember that scene in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when he flies because Clarise told him she thought he was cute and he shouted in his stuffed nose voice, "I'm cute, I'm cute, she thinks I'm cute!" ? ( or I'b cyoood, I'b cyood, she thinks I'b cyood!") Well, that is how I felt when I released the shawl from the blocking wires. I wanted to dance through the house with the shawl around my shoulders saying "It's good, it's good, it's really good!" I didn't though. Patsy would have thought it a great game and grabbed the shawl off my shoulders to play tug.

Blocking something like this can dramatically change the way it looks. I should have taken a 'before blocking' photo, because I believe the shawl was about half this size when it came off the needles. After thoroughly wetting it, I stretched the shawl out and pinned it to the floor in the guest room.

This is not difficult. It just takes a bit of time. The hardest part of this process was keeping Patsy off of it while I was trying to pin it down.

For thirty years I have used these pins to block my knitting.
They were given to me by one of the ladies I worked with at The Carmel Apple when I was in High School. I learned a lot about a lot of different kinds of needlework on my Saturdays working there. I also learned how NOT to treat sales people.

There are blocking wires out there made specifically for blocking knitting projects. They significantly reduce the amount of pins needed, especially if it is lace knitting. I could never convince myself to buy them because they are a little pricey and I would rather spend my yarn money on yarn. A few summers ago I was participating in a Mystery Lace Shawl knit-a-long and read about an alternative to the costly blocking wires.
The answer? Stainless Steel Tig wires from the welding supply. Well! I knew right where the welding supply place was and drove straight there. Yes, I was a fish out of water, but I didn't care. I knew I was gonna give those welding guys something to laugh about when I left, but as long as I left with the goods, I was fine with that. After giving a brief explanation to the guy, he showed me what I was asking for and it that was what I really wanted. YEP. They would work. I took a bit of sand paper to the tips just to rid them of any tiny barbs and for a fraction of the cost, I have blocking wires.
They make it easier to pull and stretch large pieces of knitting, and to hold edges straight while it dries. I still use the pins to hold the wires in place, but the process and results are faster when I use the wires too.

As much as I love this shawl, I hope it will be many months before I wear it. I want to think that the weather will stay warm and that the murmurs I am hearing about snow on Monday are wrong.
I am also thinking that this won't be my last hand spun shawl.