We have an FO, and right on schedule. I finished the knitting on Saturday night, and decided to wash and block it before bed.
Now, I read a lot of knitting blogs, and every once in a while I'll find an entry by a knitter who loves blocking lace. They make it sound like a fun little party, this lace-blocking process. I've never had a good time blocking before, but hey, I'd never knit lace before either. I was ready to believe it.
I got out my blocking wires, which I purchased thinking maybe they were the cake & ice cream of lace-blocking parties (not required, but is it really a party without them?). Also because they were rumored to create perfectly straight edges, and there is nothing I like more than a perfectly straight line. I got out my super-lame blocking mat and assembled. I poured myself a Bailey's and coffee, figured that liquored up and wide awake was the best way to approach the project.
I washed the stole, let the extra water drain, laid it out, and started threading the wires through the edges. That was a lot like a party, if by "party" you mean "the most tedious thing I have ever experienced". Granted, it was first time doing this, so I was really bad at it in the beginning, and had to re-do it several times. And granted, I had laid the blocking mat out on the floor, so I was kneeling on the ground the whole time. And of course, I was terrified to damage the thing, so I refused to lift it more than three inches off the mat. And then there's my eyesight, which is not good, and forced me to lean over until my eyeballs nearly merged with the thing. OK, all of that is really my fault, and not the fault of the knitters who lie about how fun blocking is.
So a couple of hours later, I finished threading the wires through. I had another drink and started pinning it out. This part was not so bad. A pin here, a pin there, measure, pin, have a drink, measure, pin again. This I can do. Especially the part where you line up the wires so they are exactly perpendicular to each other. Oh yes, the anal-retentive geometry part; this I am good at. This, of course, was all very narrow-focus, inch at a time type work. When I finally finished, I looked up, and oh my. What had been, just hours before, this crumpled mess, now looked like this:
So yes, I can see where that would be worthy of a party. I've already given you the money shot, so I might as well zoom in for the edging:
The hearts in the edging slay me; I didn't know they were there until after I bought the pattern. It's for a wedding, so it's appropriate, but gawd, how cheesy.
Most of the other blocking shots didn't turn out as well, what with the brightly colored letters and numbers. After it was dry, I couldn't help but lay it out on a dark background and snap away.
Yep, more hearts. They're upside down, but they're there. Here's the center motif:
So I will admit, I can now see where the blocking excitement comes from. I too was very excited to be finished blocking. The result was well worth the effort. And there WAS liquor. Maybe next time I'll hang a disco ball or something.
Pattern: Scheherazade, by Melanie Gibbons (that's a Ravelry link; sorry if you can't get to it!). Again, this is my first lace project, so I have no comparison, but I can tell you this: this was one of the easiest patterns to follow I have ever used. There was nothing confusing or ambiguous or frustrating. The charts are large and clear and easy to read. It seemed almost easy to knit (almost). It's also a great first lace pattern, because the wrong-side rows are straight purl stitch, so you get a little break from the tough stuff. I loved knitting it.
Yarn and Needles: Alpaca with a Twist "Fino", 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk. I used 2 100-gram skeins, and I have plenty left over for a scarf. Lovely stuff; it's almost weightless, but pretty warm. I knit it on size 2 metal circulars; pretty small needles for lace, but the tighter background made the YO's pop really well.
Mods: Oh no, not this one. This may, in fact, be the first time I have ever knit a pattern without changing a single thing. Huh. I might mark that in my calendar.
If I Could Do It Over: I would not change a thing. Except I'd put the blocking mat on a table.