Friday, April 11, 2008

I'm a Block Head!

Seriously. I have been knitting for, what, 35 years and I never really blocked my projects! Well, that's not technically true. I have (sort of) steam blocked a few things in the past. It's all a part of my instant gratification attitude towards my knitting. You know, the one with the little voice that whispers in my ear "Why swatch? It'll be just fine without."

Well, that's all going to change from now on. Now that I have plenty of time to spend on making more complex projects with nice yarn, I'm willing to take a little more time on them. I've always said that when I knit, I'm more about the journey than the destination. Being on Ravelry, and featuring some of my projects on my blog for friends and family to see, however, has made me a little more conscious of how my projects end up. I'm still mostly about the journey, but I want the destination to be a nice place, you know?

So, on to my adventure with blocking. First, I read up on the process at a few different places. I got the best advice from Eunny Jang's blog (while you're there, check out her Print O' the Wave stole, which is currently on my needles). Then I read a couple of threads on Ravelry to figure out the best way to pin my project. A lot of people block on a guest bed or a carpeted floor. With the kids running about, I didn't think either of those options would work, so I ended up buy a cardboard presentation board from Joann Fabrics. It's the kind of thing a kid would use to show their project at a science fair, if you know what I mean. It was very inexpensive, it folds up, and it will be easy to stick pins into. Also, I can move it to a safe place when the kids are around.

I used a few binder clips to hold two plastic bags over the cardboard. For my current project, the Stag Bag, I didn't need a lot of surface area, so I used the cardboard folded up. The binder clips not only help the plastic stay in place, but they keep the board folded!

I used the enamel soaking/rinsing basin for my wool dyeing to soak the bag. Because I'm a dweeb, I documented it here:

Here are some shots of the bag pinned on the blocking board:

Isn't it pretty? My stranded color work looks so much better after blocking. There are still a few loose stitches in the graphic that make the stag picture look uneven, but I'm hoping to tighten them up a bit after the piece dries. I'm inordinately proud of this project, to the point that I made Jim come over and love on the bag for a bit. Yes, I actually forced him to compliment me on it for several minutes.

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