Monday, December 15, 2008

When do you block?

Knitters often ask me when they should block. Usually they mean a sweater and should they block before or after they sew. That is not the only time the question should be asked. Above is a new lace scarf pattern I am designing--OR--a swatch of a lace piece that didn't work. I won't know which until it dries.

Is the yarn I chose suitable for this design? Or will it draw up into a lump or fail to hold the stitch definition and become a limp rag. Never know until I try. Even though I tend to design on the needles as I go, that doesn't mean I am willing to labor long on merely a possibility (pun). So----I block while it is still on the needles.

I love these Brittany needles because of the curved points. I also love them because you can immerse your knitting for a pre-blocking soak without taking it off the needles. No rust; no swollen wood; just good old plastic.

When do I block? Only when I must. For lace, you must in order to see its beauty. For a cotton pullover that will be washed and lain flat to dry, why bother? I will steam things to set the stitches before I wear them, but that means I will steam them each time I launder them to just perk them up. The stretching and pinning kind of blocking is reserved only for things I will again stretch and pin as I launder. That will never apply to a casual garment that will be worn and laundered often.

Maybe that evening wear Aran with the boa feathers in Nicky Epstein's new book . . . .But where would I ever wear it?

This is the beginning of a Jojoland pattern for a scarf or shawl. I love modular knitting and hexagons seemed like fun (They are.) The yarn is sinfully inexpensive and this blue is my color. Why am I stalled? How the heck do you block this? Even with blocking wires, it will take a million pins. I'm trying to decide if it is worth it.

Sometimes strange details determine if you start or finish a project.


beth02116 said...

hi jane!
i started this shawl (for mom) this summer i think. blocked the very first motif just to see it open. fell in love. but then doing each of the swirls is just so painstaking- i cant seem to memorize the pattern! i am a row and half in and everytime i pick it up i think- continue or not... not a good sign. the yarn is beautiful. i like your blues. i am doing the purple/green version.
if you continue it will motivate me!!!
happy holidays!

Lynda said...

Beautiful knitting! All of them...And I like the new patterns from Drop too.

I never realized what pretty hands you have because I was always busy looking at your eyes.