I Fail Blocking

Girl wearing a green shawl
The green. Oh how I love the green.

Happy Friday, people! In a rare moment of planetary alignment, this Friday actually comes with a FO!

Behold my Leafy Green shawl. This represents the last of the stash yarn I acquired in Seattle three years ago, and the first time ever I have knitted through all the stash from a particular location. The pattern is Annis: I had seen it in Knitty when it came out (four years ago!) and, it being knitted in green, decided I had to have it.

I believe we’ve discussed my thing for green before. See e.g. Greenies, Spring Romper, and Lace Leaf Pullover.

Somewhere along the line, the desire to have this shawl parted ways with the vim to actually get it out of my queue, so here we are four years later. I will not beat about the bush: I really didn’t like making it. I love wearing it, and it has already proven useful in my works-well-with-green wardrobe, but the knitting. Meh.

The shawl begins with a long, long, long strip of lace, which is then capped with nupps, followed by a short-row body. I was truly distressed when I found myself thinking that all that lace baaaaack and fooooooorth really stunk, because for me, a shawl is the ultimate process knit. But there I was, really unhappy with all that lace. Then the nupps. I was working with a blunt-tipped needle, and the nupps were punishment for all the bad things I have ever done, and will ever do (and yes, I did attempt to avoid this fate but purchased the wrong size of replacement needle. Thank you, fate). The short rows were ok, but as the name implies, they were short.

This is the fail part.
This is the fail part.

And then the blocking. I’ve blocked before, and have blocked shawls before. I followed the directions, pinning the edges into place and then moving inward, but it was beastly. The fabric is very loose, and shifts as you work, and with the crescent shape, there is no good point of reference to keep things in place. Long story short, I had to block it twice to get it right-ish. There were a few places the stockinette got pulled and the stitches are still all wonky (see above), but after the second time, I said to heck with it. The real killer, though, is that the points, the delicious lacy points, are not all that pointy. I tried so hard, squishing things around and trying to make those points sharp, but success eluded me. It was the last turn of the knife, looking forward to knitting this shawl for so long, only to dislike the process, and then, finally, at the last moment for redemption, have blocking turn out to be such a mess.

But it is a finished object, and this is Friday, so I’m going to try to be content with that.

P.S. Thanks to Querido for his photos. He made a point particularly to get that nice detail shot, and did a lovely job of it.

7 responses to “I Fail Blocking”

  1. BLOCKING UGH. I am a swatcher and a do-the-mather and all of that for preparation, but BLOCKING. I don’t even mind seaming! I just DO NOT have the patience for blocking – so little patience for it that I am all-capping a bunch of this comment. 🙂 I made an oversized Guernsey (not by a massive amount) the other day, and I had to block it out on the floor and I thought I was going to just stop and go stab myself to death. I started out fine on the first long side, but by the time that was done, my patience was gone and I did the remaining bits pretty half-heartedly. Still looks awesome, but, well – I’m lucky it’s just a giant rectangle. 🙂

    • I think you’ve hit on it: I’m ok with blocking if it means soaking a sweater and then smooshing it into a sweater shape, or threading a few blocking wires through the sides of a triangular shawls. But pinning down every half-inch is too much.
      And your Guernsey is lovely!

  2. Blocking is not my favorite thing to do but at least it’s not like weaving in ends! YUCK!!! I have a couple of curiosity questions: What fiber is that green yarn? It sort of looks like cotton…in which case it’s understandable why it was a bear to block. Number 2: Do you use blocking wires? They have saved me from committing suicide when trying to block a crescent shaped lace shawl. Just wondering…………………

    • Thanks Ruthie! The yarn is a silk/alpaca blend–maybe too much drape and not enough hold?
      I did not use blocking wires, only pins and my trusty yardstick. Do you have special flexible blocking wires to accomodate the curves?

      • Yes, there is a brand of wires that I absolutely L.O.V.E. for blocking lace. In fact, I will use nothing else. (Note: I am NOT a paid spokesperson for these wires or this company. I just love the product to pieces!) The wires are from Inspinknity, LLC. Here is a link to their Etsy shop:


        Check them out; they may have something you would be interested in trying.

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