My summer knitting ritual consists of finishing up any sweaters that I may have still on the needles in favor of lace. It can be anything from a very large, traditional shawl to a cute, elongated shawlette – if it’s got lace, then it has a home on my needles during the warm, summer months. But, in order to fully appreciate all of the time and effort that went into the lace project, I definitely have to set aside a day of blocking for my projects.
If you are anything like me, you might even have more than one lace project set aside, just waiting to be blocked out into its full lace glory. It’s okay to admit it – blocking your project takes a bit of time and patience. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil (in my opinion, anyways!) since your finished lace project will come off of the needles looking akin to an ugly duckling. The lace yarn is so feathery light that it cannot hold its intended shape. And like the duckling, it is awkward and clumsy. But fear not! With a little dedication, blocking will transform your duckling into the beautiful swan it wants to be.
And to help you reveal the regal and delicate elegance of your lace project, we’ve got a wonderful video tutorial to help you block your lace into shape!
Along with the video and a few simple guidelines, you’ll be mastering Lace Blocking 101 in no time at all! Personally, my favorite way of blocking lace is the wet blocking method. I find that this method allows the lace to shift and stretch in a way to make the most of the lace design. To do this, your project must be damp (not dripping wet) before you begin blocking. Get your project wet and remove the excess water by gently rolling your knitting into a towel to squeeze out any extra moisture.
You will no doubt be surprised at how much your project will expand when it is stretched so be sure to have plenty of space. Find a flat, padded, and colorfast surface that’s big enough for the project (why hello there, blocking mats!). Gather up the lace into a heap and gently transfer it from the towel to the pinning surface. Loosely lay it out flat with the right side facing up.
And now the blocking begins! Although there are several different methods to blocking your lace, my go-to method is by using a combination of blocking wires and t-pins or blocking pins. I simply love the speed and ease of blocking wires, in addition to providing an even tension as you begin to pin out your edges. All you have to do is slip the wire through the edges of your lace project and place pins along the inside of the wires to hold them in place. If you have scalloped edges you will want to slip the wire through the outer edges of your scallops to emphasize them.
After you have finished pinning out your project, it is time for a break (to grab a cup of tea and admire your fine work!) as you let it set and dry for a few hours. You will be surprised how quickly the damp yarn dries when it is spread out. When it is completely dry, you can release the tension and wrap yourself up in the finished masterpiece!
Do you love blocking or tend to procrastinate (like me) when it comes to taking this final step? What are some of your favorite ways to block lace?