Thursday, 16 February 2017

Blocking a Shawl or Stole

Connemara Stole blocked on a frame.



By the time I get to finishing a lace-knit garment I desperately want to see the item opened up and blocked. That is when I get a true sense of the work.

I work very quickly and do not organise a filming of the whole process. I simply get the garment out of the rinse bucket and onto the frame or table-top and get stretching.

I do, however, lie in bed in the days before the blocking and think through how I am going to go about the process.

This garment demanded a firm finishing, square edges and straight sides, therefore a frame was mandatory.

Lighter yarns will survive blocking with T-pins (office supplies shops stock these).

Weather plays a part too; My stole was blocked during a muggy rain shower. 

Being Aries, everything has to work smoothly and easily and though I adore the traditional process of hand-knits, I do zoom around using modern tech and quick-fits (or life-hacks) to get the job done. In this blocking preparation I thought a lot about zip-ties.

I knew I had a stash of about 3000 bought for various DIY jobs, so the remaining 2897 had sat in the shed innocently until called upon this week.


Zip-ties along the edge of the frame.
They threaded easily through the outer two stitches of the garter stitch edge and neatly pulled the points out of the ends of the stole.

It was an experienced decision that made me set the frame at a 60cm x 1.6m oblong. Don't ask me to explain that one...only that I knew from previous work that this garment had a one-third stretch (meaning it would stretch at least a third longer and wider).

The zip-ties held the stole beautifully and you can see in the colour changes of the plastic zip-ties that I went around the frame dividing the spaces between zip-ties into twos as I pulled the wool out to the edge of the frame. 

The zip-ties didn't slip on the wet wool and could be slid around until I was happy with the placement and then locked into place. This would have been a laborious task with pins or lacing.

The video below adds more and tells you can take those zip-ties out and re-use them.

Yes....

I like this idea, hope you do too.

Take care,

Fiona MacBride

Tin Shed Yarns.

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