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Friday, October 5, 2007

bumpy & lumpy: no air!

Because I’m such a dedicated follower of fashion, I thought it would be fun to record a little extreme makeover of the Blocking Sort.

What you see above is the sea of raw knitting that is the lace piece I’ve been working on (Miss Dashwood). The yarn is Wensleydale Longwool and in its primary stitched state is both puffy, hairy and more than a little wild looking.

But I’m a believer! Seeing the wonderful blocking pictures of lace knitters online has made me a forever finisher.

My 1st tool of choice in the finishing list is my steam iron. Paired with its padded board, things snap-to rather quickly.

Here’s a view from the wrong side of the piece; on the left is the bumpy rumpy unironed side. On the right, is a slightly steamed side that’s starting to come into flatness.

I use the iron just floating above the fabric; never touch. Never scrub. Just steam as close as possible to the surface.

Up on the mannequin, the new improved, well behaved fabric.

But of course, this can be accomplished via soaking or spraying with water, then pinning out but in many cases, a nice little session with the iron meets its match and saves lots and lots of time because the piece does not have to dry out. And here is where lace garments differ from shawls: they need finishing to open up the stitch lovliness but not the *pulled* state most shawls need to achieve their final dimensions.

This is well on its way to becoming my Christmas Party Wear. I have to start looking for a top to wear with it…

14 responses to “Friday, October 5, 2007”

  1. Michelle says:

    It’s literally magic, isn’t it? I love the color you’ve chosen, too.

  2. Wannietta says:

    I love blocking too – makes an ugly duckling into a swan!

  3. Marlena says:

    I am totally mesmerized by that fabric. What a difference!

  4. Karen B. says:

    This is so very lovely, b. Marie! You will be the belle of the ball this holiday season.

  5. Meg says:

    looks so lovely. that color is great!

  6. Laurie says:

    Does the iron provide something in the steaming that one of those clothing steamers could not? For a garment, I would love to be able to block on a form rather than the flat surface of the ironing board but I don’t know if the steamer can do the trick like my good ‘ole iron does.

  7. Wanda says:

    Thanks for posting this. I just finished Juliet and I will try steam blocking it rather than a dunk/soak and pinning out. Would you say steam blocking is suitable for Ariann too?

    The red Ms. Dashwood will be perfect for the holiday circuit!

  8. lisa says:

    Miss Dashwood is going to be gorgeous. I so love the color and the steaming made all the difference in the world. How do you block Ce Ce? I am almost to that point and not sure whether to steam block or spray and let it dry, flat… just not sure which road to take.

  9. Marg says:

    Lovely — simply lovely!

  10. beth says:

    Since my Miss Dashwood looks only vaguely like this, maybe I should omit blocking so as not to draw attention to the lack of pattern. Or maybe mine could be something like “Drunk Miss Dashwood” (like the “drunken argyle”) or “Stoned Miss Dashwood.” Or “Miss Dashwud.”

    ’nuff about mine! Yours is beautiful!

  11. Laura(keet) says:

    Turned out perfectly. I’m hoping a blocking session is coming soon to break in my new full-size IKEA ironing board! (It makes ironing fun?) But now I’m dying to cast on for Miss Dashwood! Be still my heart. Oh, and love that color – made me look up the yarn and found the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop. Not only is the name cute, but this just killed me: from their front page, “If our sweaters had faces they would be smiling.”

  12. Patty says:

    Just beautiful Bonne Marie. It’s coming up quick but kind of exciting…bring on the holidays!

  13. Becky says:

    Gorgeous! So crisp and professional. This will make everyone want to pull out the steam iron!

  14. Sonya says:

    Breathtaking! I love the before and after – I will refer those nonbelievers to your pages. I love me a good, hard blocking. Uh, that does come out sounding dirty, doesn’t it? Or maybe just kinky. And the whole point of blocking is to R E L A X the stitches – no kinks involved.

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