I've been knitting for about six years now, and I think I've come a long way during that time. A few years ago, I blogged about my first venture into blocking a sweater, and now, it's no big deal to me. It's second nature to me to get out my blocking boards and pin out my projects into what I call "their perfect state."
Not everyone understands this process, and I'm not going to go into all the ways you can block your knitting in this post (you can read about how and why you might block your knitting at Techknitter's blog), but basically, you block your projects to even out stitches and to help set its shape. It's a finishing technique that makes your projects... well, perfect.
A few weeks ago, I finished one of my shawls, pinned it out on my blocking boards and had it out on the deck drying, my neighbour walked past, leaned over the fence and said, "Whatcha doing?"
I said, "I'm just drying this shawl that I knitted."
"You knitted a shawl..." he said slowly, as if he was processing something difficult to comprehend. It was as if I'd said, "I'm building a Martian spacecraft." Not quite believable... but he was seeing it first hand.
"Yep. And now I'm blocking it."
"You're blocking it..." he said again, processing the thought.
"Yeah," I said. "I'm just stretching it out so you can see the lacy patterns in it." I started to feel silly... like I was talking about the most un-cool thing in the world, like the yarn geek that I am.
He stood there silently looking at me. I looked at him. I looked down at my blocking boards, bent down, and rearranged one of the pins. He cleared his throat. I looked up at the clouds.
"Well," he said. "I guess it's a nice day for that."
"Yep," I said. Silence for a few seconds. Shuffling of feet...
"Ok, well have a nice day!" he said, trotting off to his garage, possibly at a slightly quicker trot than he normally would have.
He won't really ever understand, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that I make things I like and he respected that effort enough to at least TRY to understand it.
Anyway, I finished my Lazy Cole last night, and I just pulled it off the blocking boards. What a difference blocking makes:
It's a fascinating shape, and much more flattering that I imagined it would be. Since I made it with DK weight yarn and with larger needles, it's larger than the original pattern intended, but I love the size. It's perfect for my wide shoulders.
For those thinking of knitting it, make sure you watch cherylstirlng's YouTube video for the bind off. The pattern is not that easy to decipher at that point, and it will save you lots of hassle!
And yeah, don't forget to block it, even if your neighbours don't understand what you're doing. It's worth it!