Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The dangers of Wear-Blocking

You've all heard of steam blocking and wet blocking, right? Basically lay out your finished knitted pieces and either steam them or wet them down and pin them to size to dry. Well, there's another kind of blocking entirely. It's called Wear Blocking. In this case, let's just assume that you were supposed to knit a scarf for your mother-in-law. Let's also assume you created this FABULOUS garter old shale lace scarf out of some socks that rock yarn.

Well, the scarf is fresh off the needles and the ends woven in. Before you put it into the tub of lukewarm water to soak, then roll into the towel and stomp to get the water out and lay it out, pinning to shape to dry, you stop and think. Wow. This scarf perfectly matches the shirt and jacket you're wearing that day. And hypothetically you may have a little event to attend that afternoon. The scarf would be the perfect little wowza to set off the outfit. Well, you decide to Wear Block the scarf a bit before Wet Blocking. It makes perfect sense. It'll give you an idea of how the scarf will look and how severly to block out the width. It's for the good of the scarf, after all.

After a few compliments you decide that said scarf actually sets off your eyes into this brilliant blue. Mother-in-law has green eyes (I think?) so of course this is not the perfect scarf for her. Also, it's early spring. Your MIL wouldn't be needing a scarf until fall or winter and it would be unkind to give her a scarf now and force her to store it until then. Your daughter decides she really likes said scarf and being a tween that you're trying to get bitten by the bug of knitting and wool yarn, it would be the good motherly thing to do to give it to her. The fact that this daughter only wears scarves and winter attire when it's 10 below zero and wears shorts throughout most of the winter season, leaving this scarf available for someone else to borrow doesn't factor into this decision at all.

This is of course entirely hypothetical. I will warn you, Wear Blocking will give you lots of good info on how it drapes, behaves and how severe to block knitted items. It will also make it really REALLY hard to give them away. Or maybe it's just me.

Pattern: Old Shale Scarf with modifications of leaving out one repeat, using 1 sz larger needles and working in garter stitch lace
I love this pattern! I still have my 2nd red one on the needles. Will probably make the same thing for my MIL the 2nd time around. Pattern by Tiennie Knits, which means it's well written, fun and turns out beautiful. I've always had such good results on her patterns. It must be since she knits 4-8 of everything. :)
Yarn: Socks that Rock mediumweight, colorway Bella Coola

Also, finished up my crocheted afghan. Remember the craze going on about a year ago with all the knitters doing ripple afghans? I'm apparently just getting up to speed. I'm thinking I may start working my way through the tubs (yes, BIG tubs and many of them) full of acrylic yarn and get each of the kids their own afghans. Of course, that would be after I make another scarf for my mother-in-law.

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