Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Blocking of Icarus

And it only took me 3.25 years! The pattern for this shawl appeared in the Summer 2006 Interweave Knits. Apparently in the midst of senior year finals, studying for my RN boards and interviewing for jobs I decided a complicated lace pattern was just the ticket for relaxation ;->

Now, I love to knit lace. Scarves and shawls especially. Why? Can't answer that. To top it all off I rarely have occasion to wear shawls, and yet I have four. This shawl was knit from some lace weight yarn (70% lambswool/30% angora; 1125 yards/5 ozs) gifted to me by a friend.

Pre-blocking photo:

The first step in blocking is to soak the item thoroughly. I added a touch of soap to ensure the shawl was clean:

soaking the shawl in the kitchen sink

Dr. Bronners - it truly is an all-purpose soap!

After soaking and rinsing the shawl I rolled it in a towel

and stood on it for awhile to get most
of the water out. From there it was upstairs to the spare room and the blocking mat and wires.

This is a triangular shaped shawl with many points along the lower edges. I started by threading the wires along the top edge, utilizing the holes in the edging:

This would give me a firm edge to work from. Next I pinned out the corners:

homemade t-square to ensure straight edges and a symmetrical shape

From there I placed pins all along the top edge and then started pinning out the sides

notice how the pattern is already starting to open up?

A close-up of the lace pattern pre-blocking:

Each point needs to be pinned out which eventually will create a lovely scalloped border and opens up the "feathers".
lots of pins were utilized, along with the t-square

one edge finished
I alternated sides while pinning - working on segments to even out tension on the shawl. Once I was finished it was time to step back, look at the overall piece and adjust as needed before leaving it to dry.
post-blocking look at the pattern and the whole shawl

Finished dimensions are approximately 66" by 36".

It is amazing what long-neglected projects get taken care of when the weather is less than lovely (current conditions: snow and 36 degrees = wet and sloppy, with a layer of ice underlaying it all).


Chris said...

It's gorgeous!!!

Is it snowing there now? That's doing a great job of hiding and polishing the fresh ice here. Blech.

SteveQ said...

I come from a lace knitting ancestry and THAT is some fine, fine work!

wildknits said...

Chris and Steve: Thank you!! I am pretty pleased with this. Even brought it to work to show it off. Unfortunately the fabric seems to be a magnet for every piece of white fiber within a mile!

Now to find something to wear with it (and to wear it too) ;->

Wayne said...

you can wear it now, with it all stretched out and pinned like that?? :)

wildknits said...


It would be tough - and a bit dangerous...

In general I take the pins out and, due to the magic of blocking, it stays stretched out!! That is until it gets wet again. And then I need to repeat the whole cycle.

Guess I need to find someone to take a picture of it being worn.