Monday, December 25, 2017

Creative Blocking Solutions

     Hi Kiddies, Chatty Patty has been hanging around so I thought I'd take advantage of the fact and write about something that I've wanted to share for some time. 
    As knitters and crocheters when we finish a project a lot of us will toss them into a basket, box or just into a pile... my, "I'm going to block all those one of these days", piles. This year saw my health decline and I ended up with just such a pile. Poor Kanuck was done about February and sat on a trunk at the foot of the bed for everyone to sit on, the dogs to get their claws into, dirt and who knows, perhaps our nemesis the moth could have gotten to it. Atop that was the Sheepies stole and embroidered CAL that I worked on back in the fall, lastly a bronze Christmas Star which Pixie #1 finished. Mind, these are all excessively awkward in both size and shape. Much of the time blocking in the past involved, vacuuming the carpet, lay down towels and crawling over the floor. Where we'd block a large shawl with wires and T pins before the door sort, of hugging the bed, the largest floor space available. After putting fans on it, the lace ones can dry in 2 hours, much more for these heavy weight shawls. It would have taken too much out of me to do all three, not to mention the time it would entail, probably all day to get three dry, possibly longer.... and there's my nemesis (the moth) to consider, our heirlooms must be protected.
    As I pondered more and different spaces throughout the house I realized the answer wasn't there, we just don't have any floor space remaining. Yes I could have used a bed but we are talking sport weight shawls, lots of water. Yes I could have rolled them into towels and walked the water out and made a few loads of towel laundry. Instead I began to think outside the box and out of doors. 
     There are as many methods of blocking as there are people, well it seems like there are. I knew the approach I wanted to take was to use the shawls natural weight to care for the edges, that I didn't want to pin them out. There's a small picnic table on the back porch, the style that converts into a bench, just a wee thing.
 This year I made two drainage racks using hardware cloth, PVC and foam pipe insulation, they are much like sweater drying nets.
    After securing a few loose threads, I began to wash, hauling my large buckets of wet yarn through the house as they were finished. Miraculously the shawls were no worse for the wear and tear they'd been receiving. No nemesis had turned up for the big send off. 
    Here are the shawls, Kanuck is the blue green which is laid out over the table. Christmas Star is the brown/purple. They were both much larger then the table/mat so they are folded in half. 
For Kanuck, the edges were gently smoothed out until I had the natural border, allowing gravity to weight the edge. Star has sharper points and I pulled each out and allowed it to dry over the cloth, thought about pinning it out but it's really so large to begin with that there's no need.
    The only danger with a folded method is the center back fold must be perfect, otherwise it will end wonky. I'm not terribly fiddly, nor can I stand for long periods, so I slammed these out quickly but I did take time to make sure the back folded well. 
    At this point your seeing creases in the shawl right? They actually had none. Sure there's a bit of a seam down the back but that will wear.
     Finally we have the stole, this puppy is about 80+ inches long. I added a large crochet border while I was using up the yarn plus my gauge might have been a tad off.  For this one I used a shower chair and the edge of the largest Jacuzzi style tub. The shawls so long that it hangs down and almost reaches the bottom on the side you can't see as well as the floor in the front. Yup we make big shawls.

Since posting several people have wanted to see these shawls, Kanuck's pattern is here. 
The kits are hereWe have VERY limited yarn available and it's been discontinued by the manufacturer.

Christmas Star is still being produced, knit and dyed by so many, it too is a lovely shawl from this past year. The pattern is here. We got a lot of call for these shawls, Raven and Dickens for Christmas knitting this year.

     Lastly I just want to make sure ya’ll know how much we love and appreciate, each and every one of you. So much patience, fore bearing and loyalty shown on your part. Not to mention the emotional support, you’ve shown us through the years. I’m very grateful that you have stuck around through my diseases, illness, that horrific short term memory loss, the surgeries, all scary stuff but you allowed us to make amends where needed and keep coming back, it's humbling. I thank you, your all incredible in my book and we all highly esteem (read LOVE), all ya’ll. Thank you for being part of our story. Merry Christmas.

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