Monday, February 20, 2006

Olympic Victory

No, I'm not talking about the women's hockey gold medal - although, yes, I must admit that that is impressive and exciting.

But not as exciting as my Knitting Olympics victory. :)

I have successfully knit a lacy, kind of complicated (for me) pattern, during which I had to pay a great deal of attention, which meant that it couldn't be done while watching any (good) TV. And, for the first time ever, I have blocked a project. I won't even say 'successfully', however. It's not quite what I was originally going for, but I'm still really happy with the result. It's amazing to see the difference the blocking made. It really relaxed the fibres, and stretched it out, so that what felt kind of lumpy and almost stiff before, now feels like a fabric, with a lovely drape to it.

And now, for posterity, here I do present the Blocking Process.

First, here is the scarf before I blocked it. On the right, you can see the length of the scarf, helpfully held up by Mr. Peanut. On the left, you can see a closeup of the knit. You can't see much of the lacey pattern here. It kind of just looks like a messy lump.


So, step one of the whole blocking process is to soak in lukewarm, very slightly soapy water. And, because I was camera happy, here is what that looks like.



After the soaking, I rinsed and then squished (gently) in a clean towel. Then next came the fun part. The pinning.

Here, Sebastian helps me out by overseeing the process. Only coincidentally taking advantage of the pile of bedding temporarily (and messily) shoved aside. And I also answered for myself the question of what to do when the 'pinning surface' isn't long enough (because I like scarves that are long, long, long). Yes, that's a pillow there propped up.

So the whole idea of blocking is that you're putting the piece of knitting into the shape that you want it to be. Aside from the awkward grammar involved in that last sentence, it really does work. So, as you can see, I made a little error here.








See those little scalloped edges? Yeah, didn't want those. (cat added for interest for anyone who is not fascinated at this point (which I honestly can't understand because this is some kind of wonderful, fairy-magic happening here))

I covered the scarf with that handy pink sheet to keep it safe from little hairy bodies, and left overnight.

In the light of a new morning (and it really was light this morning, even before I left for work, which was very exciting) I uncovered and removed all the pins and discovered the magic fairies had visited, and taken away my lumpy scarf, leaving behind a lovely, drape-y scarf that was signifcantly longer in its place.

See?

You can see that it's grown quite a bit, and, happily, those scalloped edges aren't too bad after all.

And here is that same close up view of the stitches - you can see the pattern here, and what a difference a day (of blocking) makes.

I wore the scarf today, and it was glorious. It's just long enough that, when wrapped around my neck, it still hangs to the bottom of my coat. I love the way the colours drift from one into the next, and the thin yet warm light loveliness of it. I'm sure I'll get over it, but until then I'm just going to glory in the beauty that I created. The blanket was nice, but it wasn't for me. I think I like knitting for me.

And best of all? I have achieved my Olympic goal! Look out, next knitting Olympics! I may move beyond the rectangle!

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Pretty!

Educational!

Kitty!

Great entry. I learned a lot. :) And I also want to get some peanuts in the Mr. Peanut bottle.

Erin said...

Wow. So very, very pretty. You need to hold a class in knitting for those of us who have never tried but have always wanted to. ;)

Your kitty is like a long-haired version of mine. Oh, and what mine would look like if he had a tail.