Blocking: Before and After

The Moss Fern Wrap before blocking.
Immersed in a nice bath.
The wrap during blocking.

A note from Kathleen: In knitting and crocheting, blocking is what separates the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the great from the mediocre. And the a-ha moment really comes alive when you see before and after photos.

I invited Sarah Read, project editor of Interweave Crochet, to tell you her blocking story. Welcome, Sarah!

Sarah’s Story

I think nearly everything is better if it has just a bit of crocheted lace embellishing it. I always have at least one lace project in progress. Of course, that means that my blocking boards and wires are almost constantly in use.

Blocking makes all lace more beautiful.

Freshly made lace is rumpled, springy, and stretchy. It’s lovely, but is not even near its full potential.

To achieve airy, drapey, elegant lace, we need to block it.

This is my pre-blocked Moss Fern Wrap, designed by Kimberly K. McAlindin (Interweave Crochet Fall 2009). It’s a great shawl for lace beginners: it works up quickly with a simple, easy-to-remember stitch repeat. My shawl was made with a wool/soy/cotton/chitin blend sock yarn (South West Trading Company’s Tofutsie; one ball).

Once it was finished, I soaked it for ten minutes in a bowl of warm water with a bit of wool wash in it.

Note that some fibers like wool wash and others don’t. Some like warm water, and others prefer cold. Check your ball band and have a nice chat with your yarn before this step.

After the shawl had a nice soak, I stretched it out on a foam mat and threaded blocking wires through each edge of the shawl, weaving the wire through the lace openings. (Blocking wires are long, thin rust-proof wires that you thread through the edges of your garment. They make it really easy to block large pieces like lace shawls, although I know Kathleen uses them all the time for sweaters and scarves, too. I ordered mine online.)

Then I gently stretched the wires away from each other, stretching and opening the stitches of my lace. When it was stretched out to the point where the lace looked nice and open, and the measurements of the shawl were to my liking, I pinned down the wires.

The Moss Fern Wrap after blocking: Fabulous!

I let the shawl dry over night, and then, voila! I had lovely, airy, open lace!

If you’ve caught the lace bug, subscribe to Interweave Crochet today! We always include at least one project for lace lover, and we love providing lots of great tips and techniques for all kinds of projects.

Isn’t blocking amazing?


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