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Blocking Lace

November 10, 2006

Blocking Lace is supposed to be a magical process right? You give your knitting it’s first bath, lay it out to dry watching as the pattern you put hours of work into opens up. I blocked lace for the first time with my finished Icarus, and it was magical. Just like a first time should be.

It was much larger than I had expected, or thought I wanted. It turns out though that the large Icarus fits beautifully around my neck and shoulders giving plenty of room to stay put. I hate having to fiddle with a scarf, or shawl all the time to get it to stay on the way I want it. I have endless possibilities of ways to wear my beautiful shawl and have already received many complements.

So why do I sound like I’m unsatisfied? It’s because my lace is un-blocking. After it’s first wear I started noticing the feathery edges bunching up to their old ways. I have worn Icarus almost all week wanting to stay warm and show it off. I had been dreaming of wearing it the whole time I knit it up, imagining the what outfits I would match it with. The yarn I chose looks stylish, yet elegant and it goes with just about everything. The small peaks that I carefully pinned out are almost gone, and the feathers are more distinguished than when they were fresh off the needles, but not blocked my any means.

Do you have to reblock items often when you wear them all the time? Does this mean I should only wear my lace for special occasions and leave it carefully stored to preserve its blocking otherwise? Is there some secret to blocking that I don’t realize? It looked so beautiful all laid out on the futon (It barely fit, and I wish I had a picture, but I’m still lacking a camera). I’m not being careful enough when I wear it? I’m just not sure if this is common, or if I did something wrong.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2006 5:06 am

    That seems really unusual to me. Is it perhaps, really humid right now where you are? That’s the only thing I can think of that would make it want to go back to it’s old ways. Was it totally dry when you unpinned it? That might do it too although it seems less likely. Hopefully someone will come along with a better idea than me!

  2. Jodie permalink
    November 11, 2006 1:14 pm

    It could be the humidity. We’ve been getting a lot of rain here from the Pineapple Express. The rain has been much heavier than usual.

  3. November 11, 2006 2:25 pm

    I’ve made two large, lace shawls, one of Zepher (wool/silk) and the other of Tencel. I’ve also made three lace scarves of handspun llama and a ‘smoke ring’ of merino. None of them have shown any signs of becoming unblocked. When the shawls were first finished I was overly careful with them, folding them just so. Now I shove them into a storage bag between uses and they are just fine. I don’t understand at all why your shawl is unblocking. Does it have acrylic in in?

  4. Jodie permalink
    November 12, 2006 5:26 pm

    It’s 100% baby alpaca! It certainly isn’t all the way unblocked, just not nearly as stretched out as it once was. I really wish that I had a working digital camera so I could show the difference. It was completely dry when I unpinned it. Maybe I just need to try again….

  5. November 16, 2006 11:58 am

    Joeide, I’m set to finish my first lace project, and now you have me wondering! I’ve read all I could on the web about blocking, But am reluctant to give it a go for fear I will mess it up!

  6. Jodie permalink
    November 17, 2006 8:18 am

    You have to finish and you have to block it! No matter what, it will help the pattern open up. I’ll be checking you blog to see the finished result. :)

  7. November 17, 2006 11:20 am

    Hmmm, I was really hoping someone had the answer to this. Both of my branching out scarves have kind of gone back to their old ways, too. I wear them to death, though.
    Someone suggested I reblock them. I might give that at try. I’m also wondering if I really soaked the wool well enough/long enough and if it let it thoroughly dry. Even though it felt dry to the touch, maybe it was still internally damp. I dunno.
    But I’m getting ready to start my first shawl, and I really interested in knowing if there is something about the blocking process I am missing.

  8. Jodie permalink
    November 21, 2006 10:11 am

    Bonnie – Check out the post Answer to Lace. I think it mainly is about the type of fiber used, not the blocking process.

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