Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blocking Cherry Blossom Shawl

Blocking the shawl was quite a pleasant task. It didn't take much more than an hour. After soaking it, I laid it out on a queen-size bed and began by placing pins in each of the 128 points of the edging. I pinned down a few points on one side, then a few points immediately opposite those. A little rearranging got the shawl into a rough circle measuring 44" in diameter.

Placing more pins around, I worked to make the shawl as circular as possible. This task was hampered by the construction of the shawl. The lack of increases in the outer band of the body places a lot of stress in the last few repeats. Until I got the shawl stretched out as much as possible, there was a good bit of slack in the center. The center has frequent increases, allowing it to lay very flat. In fact, before blocking, the center was obviously larger than the outer edge, giving the shawl a bowl shape. In spite of this, I was able to get the shawl to flatten out, since the lace pattern in the outer body has a lot of horizontal stretch. I would still prefer an increase row somewhere about the 8th repeat of the twelve repeats of Chart C. A little more fabric there would make the shawl easier to block.

Once everything was flattened out, I was able to position the exact center of the shawl 22" from one pin and pin the center down. Now all I had to do was to work around, placing pins in all the points exactly 22" from that center pin. As I did this, I came to one point that "slipped". Oops! "What the heck was that?", I wondered. Rather than try to figure out what was wrong, I pinned down a couple of loose stitches and worked my way on around. I didn't have time to worry about it. I needed the wool to be wet so it would stretch as much as possible. The shawl was drying, in spite of my placing a damp cloth over the areas I hadn't pinned yet.

After it was thoroughly dry, I left it pinned as long as I could. Finally, worry about those loose stitches drove me to unpin the messed-up point. Imediately, a stitch began to run down the border, around the shawl. I pinned it down. I mean, I stabbed that running stitch as quick as I could. It was fairly simple then to pick it back up with a crochet hook.

There was a matching loose loop above the stitch. As near as I can figure, I dropped a stitch in the border about 20 repeats from the end. I was tired of knitting the border, and was rushing a bit. I never noticed the dropped stitch because the border changes stitch counts every right side row. I just assumed I was on the wrong row (since I had given up on clicking a row counter every 9 or 10 stitches, I had no way of verifying the row number). I knit the same two rows twice, producing an increase to balance that dropped stitch. The yarn was sticky enough to hang up the dropped stitch in the other stitches. I didn't see it. It didn't run until the blocking put tension on it.

Thank goodness I caught it and was able to bring it back up to the point. Then the only way I knew to fix it was to sew it in place. Since then, I used some of the left over yarn and my smallest crochet hook to chain around the point, successfully camouflauging the error. This dropped stitch and the ladders in the middle of the shawl from the dpns are the only two problems I had with the largest, laciest thing I've ever knit. The ladders stretched out horizontally, but they are still noticeable. (They are visible in the photos above--just click on them to see a larger version.) I've thought of sewing beads over that area, but I don't want to add too much extra weight.

I figure that if I use it as a tablecloth, I will put a vase in the center to cover the ladders. If I wear it, I will fold the shawl over to cover them. Maybe as I learn more about knitting, I'll figure out a way to fix them.
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Marjorie said...

I had to stare at that picture for a while to see the ladder. It is not as obvious as you think. I'd just be sure that it won't run any more and wear it with confidence.

Wool Winder said...

The ladders will never be noticed when worn. Enjoy!

beverlyanne said...

Ladders? What ladders? Really not noticeable. Thanks for the vintage pattern idea for the vintage yarn. I am thinking vest, and could probably find a vintage pattern, maybe an under-shirty one.

Patricia said...

Ah, the trials and tribulations of lace. I love the result, though. Your description of blocking in the round heartened and I will consider a round lace project now. It looks lovely on you in the post below. Great work!

Vickie said...

I love how you blocked the shawl on your bed. We have a sleep number bed so doing it there would really be ugly! I just think it's so pretty and I do love all the colors. If I didn't have to work...ugh!

Jenny Girl said...

I'm sorry but I have stared and stared but I could not figure out the ladders. This shawl is just...gorgeous. I can't believe it's finished and this large. My goodness. Great, great job!