In an earlier post I shared my favored method for blocking lace — put it on the wires dry, then give it a soak and stretch it out to all it’s glory. I have found this approach to be very fast, very effective and very fun! Here’s how it went for my Campanula Variation:
First, thread blocking wires through the edges of the scarf. Sometimes I thread through the bumps on the edges of the garter stitch border, but this time I chose to catch the purl bumps of the edge stitch of the border. Truth be told, this is actually the bar between the 1st and 2nd stitches, because half a stitch is tied up in the very edge.
I thread wires on one side of the scarf and then go back and do the other side. This process goes pretty quickly — the dry yarn is far more slippery than yarn that has been soaked. The wires slide right through the stitches and with a bit of practice you can slide through 5-6 stitches at a time. When you’ve got the wires all in, be sure you’ve slid them in far enough to allow for a healthy extension beyond the knitted article.
Once you’ve got your wires in, your piece needs to be readied for soaking. Simply fold one side over the other being careful to keep the stitches on the wires. Make sure a few inches of wire extends from the fold. Gather this end of all the wires in one hand and push the scarf into a wad at that end of the wires.
Now it’s time for a Soak. Submerge the bunched up scarf into a nice deep sink of lukewarm water and your favorite fiber wash. (You don’t have to add the fiber wash, but I feel it does a good job of helping any remnants of dye to release and it encourages the most softness out of your yarn.) Make sure the piece is below water level. Be careful not to accidentally push it off the ends of the wires. You need to fill the sink near capacity to make it as easy as possible.
After about 10-15 minutes, carefully lift your sodden item from its bath. To remove a good bit of the moisture, gently stretch it out along the wires and then place it on a thick towel so that the item is still folded and the wires are parallel. You can roll up the towel in alignment with the wires and then press out the excess water. (Some stand on their knitting — I find you can just press down on it on the sink top.)
Here’s where the miraculous part comes in…unroll the towel, transport the item to your blocking board, open the fold to extend the item and stretch it out and pin it. Again, be careful to mind where the ends of your wires are — you want to keep the item threaded on them. I pinned this scarf out in 110 seconds from the time I unrolled the towel. That’s less than 2 minutes!! Awesome! This method sure saves you sore knees and sore backs! (Note the full picture looks a bit distorted because I took it with the panorama setting on my camera — kind of hard to stay steady when you are so pleased with the outcome of your work!)
The end product (the next day) is one very lovely, beautifully blocked scarf. I do have to weave in one end, but that’ll only take a jiffy — just like the blocking! I’ve used this method for triangular shawls as well, with the same easy-peasy process and fabu results. Give it a try!
P.S. We’re really, really close to 3,000! Surely this post or the next!