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How To Be Happy

Or, How to Block Any Lace Shawl.

Or, Block Me, Amadeus, Part II

Or, Majoring in Lace, Part 234312321.

The usual disclaimers apply - strong opinions lie ahead, these are opinions only, based on my experiences, your mileage may differ, and so on and so forth.

Onward. Blocking, or dressing, is absolutely necessary for any piece of knitted lace - even sculptural lace patterns in close-knit cotton or linen need gentle blocking to persuade them to take shape, and shawls, scarves and stoles usually need aggressive tugging and stretching to encourage the patterns to bloom. The complex relationships between increases and decreases in lace fabrics - sometimes far apart from each other, sometimes right next to each other - create innumerable stresses on the fabric: some portions are bias fabrics, some pockets puff out from many adjacent increases; some areas want to pucker in from many adjacent decreases. The resulting piece, fresh off the needles, is ripply, bubbly, nipply...fugly.

Blocking, of course, smoothes out the pliable, forgiving fabric into a perfectly flat, airy, and open fabric with beautiful drape - and, to some extent, "sets" the stitches in their stretched position. How to go about evenly, efficiently and accurately blocking an enormous, awkward piece of fabric, though? Here's how I do it:

Soak the finished wrap (ends darned, but not clipped) in lukewarm water with a dribble of wool wash. (I use rinse-free stuff, but good baby shampoos work just as well, though you need to add a rinse cycle. I've been using this Soak stuff lately - I bought it on a whim, and have been pleased with the way it smells and the way it leaves the fabrics feeling. It's pricey, though - I'll probably go back to Johnson's Baby when this bottle runs out). Fill a sink basin with warmish water, add just a little soap (if the water feels slippery, it's too much), and poke the knitting under the surface. If the knitting is dirty, it's alright to squeeze some suds through the fabric - but don't agitate or rub or otherwise manhandle the wet piece, unless you're looking to felt or break something.

Drain the knitting and rinse (if necessary). Pull the plug in the sink basin, and let the soapy water run out. Press the wadded knitting gently against the side of the sink to express some water. If a rinse is needed, refill the basin with water of the same temperature (don't let the running water hit the knitting), gently swish, drain, and repeat until the water runs clear.

Express nearly all the water by rolling the knitting in a towel. Now, an important point: knitting is tough, but it's not invincible. Whenever the damp fabric is moved - from sink to towel, and from towel to blocking surface - it needs to be supported. Protein fibers are weaker when wet than when dry, and there is an off chance that a dangling bit could pull out of shape or a fiber could break under its own waterlogged weight. Transport wet knitting in a colander, or two hands, or in some other way that leaves no hanging or spilt-over parts.

To get the knitting almost dry, roll it in a thirsty, thick bath towel, and stand on it (salad spinners work well, too).

Prep an appropriate blocking surface. For something as large and unwieldy as most shawls and stoles are, a blocking board just isn't big enough. Fresh sheets on a double bed will work, though, or a just-vacuumed carpet (usually, I cover a blocking surface with an oilcloth before blocking, to hurry drying and discourage water from seeping into a porous surface. With barely-damp lace, though, it's not a concern). Make sure you have room to maneuver around the perimeter of the knitting.

And make sure you have pins - lots of pins. I use small quilter's T-pins: they are cheap, rustproof, and easy to handle. Some shawls will need literally hundreds of pins during blocking - forget schmancy pins that cost $2.99 a 12-pack, and get cheapies that cost $2.99 a 100-pack.

(Did I mention that this post was going to have a lot of photos?)

Pin out the main corners of your piece. For a triangle, this means the top corners and the bottom point; for a circle, the four compass points; and for a square or rectangle, the four corners. Note that this is where you determine the finished size of your shawl - pin one corner first, then gently pull the opposite point until it feels just slightly stretched (but not taut). Pin the other corner or corners in the same way, checking with a big T square to make sure your angles are straight. At this point, you can tell whether you have pinned too tight, or too loose, and it is easy to make adjustments.

How aggressively you block is largely a matter of preference. With good wool, I block very tightly - often, the knitting rises very slightly off the blocking surface as it shrinks and dries, pulling taut like a drumhead. You should consider several things when deciding how far you can push it: 1) the integrity and structure of the yarn. I feel less comfortable blocking singles very tightly than plied yarns; cobweb yarns than laceweight yarns; shoddy yarns than good, solid yarns. 2) Fiber content. Some fibers, like alpaca, are particularly weak when wet. 3) The knitting gauge. Very loose gauges can really be opened up. Closer gauges won't tolerate heavy stretching. 4) The stitch. Allover lace patterns with patterning on every row look best when opened up as much as possible. Small lace motifs in a mostly stockinette or garter ground probably won't need heavy blocking.

In all cases, the point is to open up the crumply lace fabric, not to significantly stretch the stitches or fibers themselves. I've never snapped a thread during blocking, but it does happen; it's ridiculous to tread as if on eggshells, but don't go in there screaming banzai, either.

Bisect each section between pins. Hold a straightedge against the two flanking pins for accuracy.

And again.



And again.

Keep going until it looks right. If your edges are to be pinned out into points, you will probably be done fairly soon. If you have straight edges, keep pinning again and again at section midpoints until there is no scalloping or pulling.

Let it dry undisturbed. Unless you live in a particularly cold or humid climate, the piece should be dry within a few hours. Unpin and clip any hanging ends.

Of note:

  • This process will, of course, need to be repeated every time the shawl is washed. The wrap might also need re-blocking after a period of time in humid air. It really doesn't take that long; it took me about 15 minutes to block the shawl above, from soak to final pinning.

  • Blocking wires or string can be used to simplify things a little; they are particularly useful along straight edges, and where adjustments need to be made that would otherwise mean moving dozens of pins. With blocking wires, thread the wire along the straight edges, and use just a few pins to hold it in place. If using string, run a very long (longer than the perimeter of the stretched wrap) length of crochet cotton along all edges of the dry shawl, leaving a long loop at each corner. Pin out the loops and arrange the knitting along the taut string, pinning as you go.

  • Starching is an option for extremely delicate shawls (like, gossamer weight yarn in very open stitches patterned every row): barely damp knitting should be soaked in a very weak solution of cornstarch and water. I think, though, that starch should be saved for doilys and antimacassars.

  • In Shetland and parts of Russia, shawls are blocked on great wooden frames: a length of cotton is threaded on a tapestry needle, and the shawl is tethered to the frame with a loose whipstitch through every point. I want to try this someday - whenever I have enough space to justify 6" squares lying around the house!

  • Store shawls on an open shelf, folded between two sheets of acid-free tissue paper to minimize creases. Never store a dirty shawl - that's asking for moths.

Now, the shawl itself - that right there is the sum total of my Christmas knitting, Evelyn Clark's Swallowtail Shawl from the Fall '06 IK, in my own handspun. It's going to my grandmother, who taught me to knit when I was very small. This has been an odd year for me, bad in some personal ways, but good and better than good in some professional, knitting-related ways. It seems appropriate and respectful and satisfying to give her something that shows my gratefulness - and that I am still learning so many things.

Comments

Eunny, that's a gorgeous use for your handspun. As always, the tutorial is thorough and articulate. Thanks!

Beautiful! I love your handspun, and I love the pattern.

I am blocking the same shawl tomorrow and was wondering how to go about it, my other blocking adventures, while adequate, were also sub-par.. in other words, great timing!

Thanks for the tutorial; it is very clear. I plan to block a lace scarf I am finishing before the holidays, so your timing is impeccable.

Beautiful shawl and such a great use of your own handspun. Your grandmother will be very proud.

Just this weekend I helped my mom block two of her lace scarves. She ranted and pested and said she'd never knit lace again because blocking was terrible... She asked if it was really necessary. I'll be reading this out to her now. Thanks! And isn't that the first time you show your whole face unhidden on the blog? Looking at the picture I feel like you are baring it all in a way...

It's beautiful and I think it's very fitting that it is going to the person who taught you how to knit. Your grandmother will love it. All the better that you used your own handspun!

Stunning! From the written text, to your finished shawl to your handspun. Just stunning! Thanks so much for sharing.

Thanks--a beautifully detailed explanantion, as usual, and I also am about to block my Shetland Triangle!
And I have my Anemoi pattern right in front of me and am just determining whether icy blue might be a more appropriate CC than red!

And as it should be! Your Grandma certainly planted a seed in you - and it is blooming all over the place! She will love the shawl - not just because it is beautiful - but because it is from you. Thanks for the tutorial. You are so generous with your knowledge. When is your book coming out?

i love your tutorials. they are always so clear and consicse. :) btw...i saw your interview in knitscape. NIIIIICE :)

Beautiful. I knit my halmuhnee a lace shawl, Birch, last Christmas and she loved it. Dignified, those korean grandmothers, no? i think lace shawls suit them particularly well as they sit, flanked by their family and looking serene. I hope next year is better for you in all respects.

As someone who learned how to knit from the Internet and from books, I thank you for providing such detailed explanations for how you work. This is wonderful writing, and beautiful knitting!

Good timing! I will definitely refer to this again when it comes time to block the Icarus shawl. If I ever finish it! thanks Eunny!

Beautiful! I've just started the second Lily of the Valley pattern with some silk yarn that is that color. Until you said it was your own handspun, I had been wondering if you were using Woven Gems. (HANDSPUN?! That is your HANDSPUN?! Incredible.) I'm sure your grandmother will be amazingly pleased.

Blocking wires can really help speed up the process. Blocking a big shawl can really take a lot of time. I've spent easily 45 minutes or more pinning out my bigger shawls. But it's worth it.

That yarn is gorgeous. It's perfect for that pattern. I'm only jealous it's a handspun so I can't get any myself.

Beautiful shawl! I finished the very same one about a month ago... though not in my own handspun! Thanks for the tutorial - you're amazing :)

I have admired your work for a long time, and I finally have to say something. Very beautiful! Thanks for the helpful tutorials:)

Ang

Your handspun is beautiful. I'm sure she will love it - the shawl is gorgeous.

Blocking lace is one of my favorite things to do, it was fun looking at all of your pictures. :)

Wow- Amazing lace shawl! I love the pattern! Did you create the pattern, or is it from a book/magazine? Thanks for the blocking tips!

ok....
I am in awe of what that fiber became. I am very, very honored to be a small part of that piece of work. And that grandma will wear it.

The handspun lace is gorgeous-the light pink/peach colors seem to knit up in just the right places. It's so neat that she taught you to knit and will now wear this beautiful work of art around her shoulders.

Your shawl is just beautiful! I had wanted to make that one and I want to do it even more now. I am in the process of finishing my first lace project and can't wait to do more. Thanks for the timely blocking lesson.

The shawl is gorgeous - all the more so because it's your own amazing handspun! Your grandma will love it.

The shawl and the handspun are gorgeous. The tutorial is excellent, as always, but I'm wondering . . . how do you get that big, thirsty towel into a salad spinner? (grin)

thanks for the info - soon, soon, soon Icarus will be ready for the blocking treatment, and I am armed! thank you!

The swallotail is gorgeous - your grandma will be ecstatic. Thank you for answering a question that I haven't seem answered anywhere else - do I need to re-block my lace after washing? I am new to lace knitting and have knitted the Forest Canopt Shawl for my mum for Xmas (my first lace piece) and was unsure about washing it. Logically I thought it would have to be re-blocked as getting it wet would undo the "setting" but on all the blocking tutorials I've read no-one has actually stated this. Maybe its soooo obvious that it isn't worth mentioning. Anyho thanks again. You are an inspiration!

Hello,
I love your photo with SOAK! It's our product, and I'm glad it's working for you! The bottle is pricey, but actually, if you use as directed, a capful per sink, you get about 80 washes per bottle making each wash about $0.20 (20 cents) per wash, which isn’t that much at all! Enjoy! Look for our new fragrances as well. Your blocking insructions are flawless by the way.
Cheers! -Jacqueline.

Beautiful shawl...and it looks so great on you, but it will make a perfect gift. Thanks for such a great tutorial on blocking!

What a precious gift for your grandmother; it is certain to mean a lot. And thank you for the crystal clear, down-to-earth tutorial. You are a most generous knitter and teacher.

Simply gorgeous shawl (and stunning handspun!), and what a lovely tribute to your grandmother.

Whoa! The first real photo of Eunny.. and you're gorgeous! Oh, and so's your yarn. ;) Lovely job on the shawl though. I'm sure your grandmother will love it. Did you dye it yourself or did the fibre come that way already? Or have you already stated so and I've just missed reading that part? ^^; I've convinced a fellow knitter friend of mind to take a spinning class with me and her only goals for learning to make yarn is of course to create lace weight goodies for shawls. Go figure the lace knitters, can't understand why they can't be happy with just knitting socks like me! ;D

Everything about this post is perfect and beautiful. I love the shawl, particularly in that wonderful handspun. The tutorial is fabulous... so complete and detailed. And you are lovely, too. Oh, and I love the beginnings of that fair isle hat in the last post.

Beautiful. Thank you for another wonderful tutorial. I'm sure, becasue it's your own, that you can find flaws in your yarn but I think it's perfect.

WOW. Really beautiful work, both on the yarn and the shawl. Your grandmother should be very proud!

Gorgeous tutorial and pictures.

For a step-by-step example of blocking with string see http://strikketante.blogspot.com/2006/08/kunsten-at-spnde-et-sjal-op.html

- the text is in Danish, but the pictures should speak for themselves. My best tool is hubby's old wooden T-square ....

Thanks for this, and your shawl is just beautiful. (Your grandmother must be very pleased with you.)

What a lovely and appropriate gift! It looks beautiful on you too, I love the last picture, you look great and the shawl suits you so well.

so beautiful. you are very lucky to have such a wonderful grandmother. and thank you for the gift of helping me figure out how to block my swallowtail. i now only need to finish it. ;)

And in your own handspun. The thought, the yarn, the knitting--all lovely.

Interesting title to the post...It's those simple finishing touches that bring out the beauty of the work and really do make one happy.

Thank you for posting this. I've never really blocked anything before, and I'm going to finish the Wedding Ring Shawl I have on the needles (someday...). That thing will really, really need blocking.

Gorgeous shawl with your handspun! Excellent tutorial as always, Eunny!! Your grandmother is going to cherish this labor of love.

I loved your tutorial. I've only blocked one thing in my life and that was the same shawl as you sed in the tutorial, although I used Wenslydale 4 ply for my shawl.

I have tried not to nitpick but can't help but say you live in a very small place if you haven't got room for 6 inch frames. The 6" should be 6'. It's probably very churlish of me to make this comment.

Great blocking instructions and illustrations. I thought you might be interested in how I speed the drying of my blocked knitting. I use a cage dryer (used in dog grooming) to direct a large volume of slightly warmed air in the general direction of the knitting. Things are dry in no time and I really like the hand of the final product. There is just a touch more halo than on those projects which I leave to air dry.

Thank you for such a wonderful, informative tutorial. I blocked my first lace project last week, but still need some practise and am sure you're advice will help. Love the Swallowtail and I hope next year is a kinder one for you.

Thanks, Eunny! Your timing could not be better, as I am about to finish a shawl for my sister-in-law for the holidays and was already getting anxious about blocking it. (This is my first lace shawl.) No need to forewarn us about the number of your opinions or strong views here; I find your guidance on all matters knitting to be invaluable.
All the best in the New Year!

Thanks for the tutorial. I never thought to use a T-Square (duh). Your grandmother will be thrilled with the beauty of your gift, and the breadth of skill it demonstrates. It's quite lovely.

Thanks for this great post, Eunny.

I was really glad to see that you noted that blocking lace doesn't take very long. I have read so many posts by knitters who have spent an hour or more blocking lace. It has never taken me that long and I have thought I must be crazy!

Wonderful. And very informative as usual.

Thank you, thank you - your time taken to write this is well appreciated! Really! When is a book by you coming? Really! :) And I just so happen can use this right now w. my Swallowtail. Beautiful shawl by the way.

I have not commented before, but I must now! Thank you for this tutorial and all of your wonderful, inspiring knitting! The Swallowtail looks so elegant and beautiful on you!

Your generosity with your considerable talent is a great gift to your readers. Thanks and all good wishes for 2007!

Thank you for sharing and for all of the pictures. Blocking was something I wasn't completely clear on, now I feel like I could do it. The shawl is lovely and I am even more impressed that you did such fine lace with handspun.

Eunny - that's a very useful tutorial and a very nice shawl indeed.. Your grandmother will be proud..Hopefully 2007 will be better on the personal side - but do not fear - knitting wise you have been a very good girl !!!

Great post with a ton of useful information - thank you!

Grandma will be so pleased. How wonderful that you used handspun with it, too.

Have a great holiday!

Grandma will be so pleased. How wonderful that you used handspun with it, too.

Have a great holiday!

Oh Eunny. It never ends with you, does it? (The awesomeness, that is!) Thank you for all you've contributed to the knitting community in the last year, and best wishes to you in 2007!

What lovely handspun. I have this very shawl laying around patiently waiting for blocking. The only thing I am lacking is a handful of T-pins! But I'll check the local quilting shop and put it on the list of things to do this weekend.

What lovely handspun. I have this very shawl laying around patiently waiting for blocking. The only thing I am lacking is a handful of T-pins! But I'll check the local quilting shop and put it on the list of things to do this weekend.

What lovely handspun. I have this very shawl laying around patiently waiting for blocking. The only thing I am lacking is a handful of T-pins! But I'll check the local quilting shop and put it on the list of things to do this weekend.

Your shawl is so pretty....and how special and fortunate to be able to give this precious gem to the wonderful person that taught you the skill. She'll be so proud.

Thank you. And that shawl is absolutely stunning.

Three cheers to Grandma for teaching you to knit. She will absolutely love the shawl you made for her.

Thanks for the thorough tutorial. I've learned a great deal from you.

I love the idea of your making this beautiful shawl for your grandmother as a thank you for all she's taught you. How fortunate you are to have her with you still.

How I wish I could do the same for my grandmother, who originally taught me to knit too.

Ahhhh, Eunny! Beautiful! Such a perfect tutorial!

And the shawl is pretty spectacular too.

I just finished my Print o' the Wave shawl and had the best time blocking it. Thank you so much for this beautiful pattern!

http://www.masondixonknitting.com/archives/2006_12.html#001733

thank you for the blocking tutorial, especially the part about pinning at the midpoint. what a simple idea!

i think the shawl is an excellent gift to give your grandmother.

Thank you! Now if only I had read this yesterday, before I started blocking my first shawl. I did manage to do it right, however you can tell it was my first one. And I couldn't find my T-square ruler, so I eyeballed the angles. I'm making a mental note to find the thing before I have all the water rolled out of the shawl next time.

Your shawl is beautiful! I'm in awe of the handspun, very nice!

I thought that was a swallowtail! Looks fab!

it's gorgeous. i just finished one for my boyfriend's mother... it's perhaps my favorite shawll pattern right now. thank you for sharing the blocking tips (a salad spinner... really!??) you are an inspiration. thank you over and over again!

A lovely gift of gratitude to your grandmother. The handspun yarn is wonderful. She is so fortunate to have such a talented and beautiful granddaughter! Thank you for this and the other lace tutorials.

Wonderful tutorial, and gorgeous shawl. I hope your grandmother loves it.

Thank you for the wonderful blocking tutorial. The photos were sized perfectly to show detail but still loaded quickly and easily.
Your shawl is lovely and a perfect tribute/gift to for your Grandmother.

Gorgeous shawl! And thanks so much for the great tutorial on blocking!

Beautiful! I know your grandmother will love it.

So this is the "blocking" I hear so much of...

The pinning method of pinning by biscecting each section works for easing fabrics when sewing too. In fashion school (FIT) it was called "pinning the FIT way". No joke.

Thanks for the great tutorial.

I am so appreciative of your site. It's beautiful! And I have learned more about lace knitting and working with colors in the last 2 hours than from any book out there that I have read. You have inspired me, and given my fetish for fingerless gloves, I am going to make your Endpaper Mitts. Thanks so much and happy knitting!

Unbelieveable. Thank you for the post! I learned a lot and got to see a beautiful FO!!!!

Beautiful, Eunny. I just love the colors!

Your swallowtail shawl is beautiful. I'm making one for my grandmother, too - I can only hope it looks as good as yours.

You are a true gem among knitters and teachers.

Is there any chance that your book will be available by the time the Sea Socks Cruise sails? I hope so.

Looking forward to meeting you....

Thanks for the tutorial! Beautiful work as always!

Looks great, thanks for the info! Can't wait for those books of yours to come out...

Hot Damn, that yarn looks great! Really nice work here, bravo... and as always, thanks for sharing.

Thank you for the fantastic tutorial. I am an avid reader and just picked up the new Interweave Knits. I was pleased to see you sweater featured there as well. I aspire to knit one of your lovely sweaters.

That tutorial is awesome. I can't wait until my first stole is finished.

I just love Evelyn Clark's lace patterns and your handspun looks like it was made for this. Your grandmother will be delighted. Merry Christmas Eunny!

I remember, as a child, my Mom and Grandma blocking out the lace tablecloth every time it was washed. They had a huge frame which my Grandpa had to erect for them on the porch. I wonder now what kind of pins/nails they had all around the edge that didn't rust.

What a gorgeous shawl, your grandmother will love this thoughtful gift!
Great tutorial...Thank you!
(((hugs)))

Eunny - the blocking tutorial is great, the shawl is just *beautiful* - and so are you! It was a surprise, but a pleasant one, to see you revealed.

I wish now that I hadn't been so strong in the face of merino/tencel temptation on Sunday. I picked it up and put it back.

It is lovely, the spinning, the knitting and the finished item.

What a wonderful resource! Thanks, Eunny!

Many thanks for the clear tutorial. It comes when I have been waiting to get up the courage to tackle blocking my first lace project. Your site has been an inspiration to me in many other ways. Blessings to you.

I have not ventured into the world of lace shawls yet - when I do, this will be the perfect resource. Many thanks, Eunny ;)

It is beautiful - and all the more impressive that it is with your handspun! Lovely work, and great photos of you!

What a gorgeous shawl. Your Grandmother will be so honoured to have received such a gift.

Beautiful, and as everyone else is saying, perfect timing. My first shawl should be done in time for the holidays (*knock wood*), and I've been a little anxious about the blocking. Thank you for making me realize it's not such a big deal, and for giving some extremely useful tips!

thank you!

Thank you so much! The shawl is beautiful.

Eunny, the shawl is stunning, even more so because it is knit from your handspun :) your grandmother will be proud and pleased. I certainly would be!

Hi,
This is the first time i've been to your blog and can I say that you are so talented! Your how to uninvent a cable is incredible. I want to make a pattern out of the celtic symbol from the TV show "Charmed" and i've been pouring over my books trying to figure it out. Your technique will certainly help. I wish I had your talent. Thanks for the inspiration!

Take care,
Jenny

What a great tutorial, the most thorough I've seen about blocking. I haven't blocked anything yet, and have a couple of items that need to be, so I feel a bit more confident to go ahead and do it now. Thanks so much.

Gorgeous

How lucky your grandmother is. That is a very special gift. Thank you for the tutorial, I have wanted to knit a lace shawl but was very timid because of the blocking.

You have a great blog and I really enjoy reading it daily.

MarlyKnits
www.knitthing.blogspot.com

Eunny, I can't thank you enough for that tutorial! I've always had my battles with blocking lace, but now after reading through your instructions I definitely know why!
Next time I'm about to block, I'll follow your tips religiously, and I'm quite sure it's going to work out perfectly then!
Thank you for sharing!

Dear Eunny,

what a wonderful tutorial, and like for so many others commenting before me, it came at exactly the right time. I am making two swallowtails, however in thicker yarn, and have blocked the first as per your instructions - it turned out beautifully. The second one will be finished tonight (the knitting part) and I'll block it tomorrow!

Thank you so much for making it so much easier for me!!!!

I wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and hope that 2007 may bring you many happy hours with family and friends a of course with your knitting, spinning and designing!

Simply gorgeous! And the shawl ain't half-bad, either.

I have a tutorial request! I know that you do a lot of your graphics in Illustrator. Do you also do your lace and colorwork charts with Illustrator as well? If so, would you give us a quick run down on how you do it?

What is a antimacassar?

The shawl is beautiful. Congrats!

Totally in AWE!

And timidly prepared for my blocking bonanza going on over the next couple of days!

thank you for this tutorial -- i haven't seen anything so comprehensive, all in one place.

and what a wonderful example of holiday knitting. i'm sure you're grandmother will treasure it.

oh my goodness gracious Eunny! The handspun, while gorgeous in the skein, is making me all wobbly in the knees and fan myself knit up. It's beautiful. I will most certainly be tracking down the seller of said fiber and purchasing some, despite the fact I'm now fully set up for dyeing my own yarns and just got in 15 pounds of superwash merino and one pound of BFL.

Gorgeous. Inspiring. Envy-instilling! Love love love!

Thank you for spinning, knitting, dyeing and inspiring. My blocking is done on builder insulation "boards" with pins. It can be stood against the wall if hinged with glued on bias tape along "seams". There's a version of ssk in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting that's fast and easy -- insert right needle into back of first st on left needle, then k tog with 2nd st on left needle. Twists (tightens) lst st, then lays it over 2nd st without psso.

Your shawl is amazing! When you give a lace shawl to a non-knitter (they still exist you know) how do you tell them to care for it? Do you teach them how to block?

I have visited your site periodically and I am always amazed when I visit. You have to be, in my humble opinion, the best young designer and knitter I have seen.

Wonderful content that is always helpful and exciting.

Congratulations on the marvelous shawl.

Thank you for posting on blocking lace. It's always nice to see what everyone else is doing. Your shawl is amazing. Terrific gift for a family member. Merry Xmas!

Thank you for the encouraging and informative tutorial - I think I can block my knitting now. (And without the pricey pins.)
The shawl is beautiful. Please, thank your Grandmother also for us. I am so glad she taught you to knit. All of us in blogland have immensely benefitted.

Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just discovered this website and think the knitting is amazing. Also, as luck would have it I just finished a lace scarf for my grandmother for her 80th birthday. It is my first lace an I did not know it was so necessary to block the lace. Well, I blocked it and now it is 10 times better looking than before. Thanks so much for the instructions. They are invaluable!

It's glorious! Thanks so much for the tips - I'm working on that shawl right now and it's so nice to see it "live"

Great timing on this post! I just made some crazy lace for my mom for Christmas, and was debating whether to starch it or not. I think you've convinced me I'll be okay with a sturdy blocking.

I've used a frame before. I usually set them up outside, just like the shetland knitters did. It takes quite a bit of string or cord to run through all the points on the lace. Just keep adding a bit more and continue to stretch. It's a lot easier (to me anyway) to use a frame than to try and put in all those pins. The biggest problem is that it doesn't seem to lend itself to odd shapes like Faroese shawls.

It is very pretty and flattering on you. As always, I'm inspired by your knitting!

What a helpful post! Funnily enough, I was just reblocking the same shawl post washing (cat sat on it. Long story) and it was very helpful indeed.

I am so happy to find your site. I was linked over from purlbee.com, which I found in the Comments section of yarnharlot.ca. I never wanted to try lace, but thanks to your wonderful tutorial, I plan to do so now. Thanks also to you, and your parents, for everything, including your excellent English. What a pleasure!
Best wishes in the new year. All things change constantly; but, as you know, happiness is always there, so long as you dont demand it appear in only one form.

Your web page has been a wonderful find for this lost knitter. I am just beginning my first steeks and your tutorial answered a question I could not find anywhere else. Thank you so much, and thank you for your inspiring work!

I'm convinced I can knit lace curtains, big windows, not just little door ones. What effect does starching have on the fabric? Does a curtain really have to be a lowstretch fiber? Or could airy mohair work if handled properly? Haven't artists been using large swaths of light airy knit fabric?

Such a beautiful finished project. Tutorial is so clear and gives me confidence to block my shawl. But plan to wait until this hot spell of weather is over. Thank You for sharing!

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