Thursday, 15 March 2007

An experiment in lace blocking

I've been working on this lace scarf which is a Samurai Knitter Pattern for some time, sort of between other projects. It's really very nice but what's begun to really piss me off about it is that the wool is not so great. It's ruined the Brittany needles I was using. It has stained them so nastily that I'm really, really annoyed with it. Obviously it's not been dyed so well. But that's another story.

So I switched, rather daringly, to an Addi turbo circular about half way through. Yes, I know that will change the gauge of it but I was prepared to risk that in order to get the damn thing finished. I'm not annoyed with the pattern itself. I really quite enjoy it. But my Brittanys were stained and worn and I was hating it.

Because it's a birthday gift for a friend at the end of the month, and because there appears to be miles of yarn left in the next ball, I figured there must be some way to figure out how long it would be after blocking, before I'd finished it.

If i'd been a good little knitter and swatched first, I'd have some idea. But I didn't, so I couldn't. Or so I thought.

I found an article on blocking part way through a project and thought, what the hell.

Before blocking, it looked like this. The usual pile of lumpy poo that lace is (I now know) prior to blocking.

So I soaked it in the basin, like this. Using a tub of moisturiser to hold it in place.

Next, I pinned it out on a towel like this.

A day later, I am happy to say that up close, it looks like this

It has gained around 20cm in length, a few in width and looks quite pretty, I think.

All I did was soak it from about 5cm down from the needles. My husband was watching me do this saying things like, 'are you sure that's wise?' and 'that looks like a potentially dangerous thing to do' and while his concern is touching, I'm thrilled to say that I now know it doesn't have to use up the rest of the miles of wool I have left in order to be long enough for my friend. I can probably knit another 30cm or so and be done with it.

Sometimes it pays to live a little dangerously, even if that living dangerously amounts to just blocking a lace project part way through the job.