Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blocking Boundary Waters Shawl (Size Matters)















I did say that I was going to post on using the lovely Shawl Frame that my brother, Herman, so kindly made for me. He's really a great brother. He knows I'm a bit dyslexic so he marked all the parts to the frame so I would know which parts went on top, which on the bottom and what parts were assembled for the left and right sides of the frame. Still, as I put it together, I realized that I'm not as tall as the frame is once it is standing up on it's feet. This is where you learn that size really does matter! Hence, I had to lean the frame against some furniture so I could reach the top pins to put my shawl up. I used crochet cotton and pulled it through the top points of the shawl edging. I did two sides on one bit of string, the other two on another bit of string because I was concerned that I would not have enough cotton to arrange the shawl on the frame as the frame looked so much larger than I thought the shawl would block out to. When I do this again I think I will use a separate string for each side. It would make adjusting it easier I think. A word to the wise. Beware of knots. They will cut through your edging point if you are not careful. I was not careful enough and had to do a repair while the shawl was on the frame. You live, you learn. A man on horseback won't see it and I think the frame works pretty darned well. Things to be aware of if you have someone make one of these for you.


  • You are better off having it lean against a wall or furniture so you can hang your shawl unless you are taller than I am (5'6" and shrinking).



  • Watch out for knots if you have to add more string or it may cut your edging.



  • Set aside a good amount of time to do this because you have to fiddle with the string to get the shawl points even. (A ruler is handy to have for this)



  • Have a spray bottle of water handy if the shawl starts to dry before you get done.



Are there enough advantages to make it worth your while to have one of these? I think if you are really really particular about your blocking,(Who, me?) it might be something you want. If you are running out of floor space, again like me, because the shawls just keep getting bigger and bigger, then a frame is a good idea. If you like to hit the thing with steam to set it then this is a big advantage if all you have is a hand-held steamer like me. If the cartilage in your knees is giving out and blocking a shawl while crawling around on the floor is killing you, this might be a nice tool to have. Once the shawl is on there, it does dry fast. An added bonus, it just looks neat. Down side. The blood may drain out of your arms as you reach up to fiddle with all the shawl points. Things tend to dry out if you take too long so you have to spray. You still have to build the frame (unless you have someone around who will do it for you) and have space to store it, and I don't think it takes less time to get the shawl blocked this way. In fact, it may have taken longer because of all my fiddling.


Picture #1 is the one my brother took of the frame once he had built it. The second picture just shows that the frame is leaning against my TV cabinet for support so I can begin hanging my shawl on it. I just stood inside the frame and hung the top row first. The next picture is the shawl being washed. The ball of cotton you see there is actually the spare cotton after I threaded the shawl points in preparation to blocking. I used rubber bands to keep the balls tight and to keep the balls from tangling. The next shot is the shawl on the frame but still leaning on the furniture and the one after that is the frame standing and the shawl drying. After that it's just shots of the shawl after I cut it away from the frame once it dried.

Re-Cap. Dyed the yarn on Superbowl Sunday Feb 4th 2007 using White Crystal Palace Lace Weight Yarn I had stashed and acid dyes. I laid the damp skein on Saran Wrap and used squeeze bottles of dye, wrapped it up and steamed it in a crock-pot. Knit using US 6 needles the edging was mind numbing to knit. Still, it's pretty and looks really good on that frame:-) Happy Knitting to you all!


32 comments:

Jason said...

Wow! That is HUGE! Another beautiful shawl, Jane. I can see the blue better in these pictures. It's quite lovely!

By the way, I couldn't believe it when I saw the sock-knitting picture of your other post. Then I found out that it wasn't yours. LOL

LittleBerry said...

WOW... thats lovely and the photos show the blues up better I hadn't realised it wasn't a solid colour... It's certainly a decent sized shawl to wear and looks good draped too....

Is it for you or a gift?

Esther said...

Thank you for all the pictures and information!
The shawl is so beautiful and seeing the frame set up is amazing!

fleegle said...

Jane, if you and I keep this up, we'll be able to cover entire countries with lace shawls. It's extremely delicate and lovely, but it doesn't look like a fascinating knit.

What a nice brother to make something like that for you! I think I will stick with the crawling-around-the-floor approach for now, though. I love my blocking wires.

Laritza said...

Great pictures. I agree with fleegle I think I will stick to crawling on the floor and blocking wires. I am just 5' and I can not imagine blocking a large shawl on a frame. I had not thought of the height factor!
The shawl is very pretty and you did a great job.

Soo said...

What a beautiful shawl. It drapes beautifully and the colour is fantastic.

I like the blocking frame - but as my brothers are about as likely to take any sort of interest in my knitting as David Tennant (sigh) is I'll have to stick to blocking wires.

BadCatDesigns said...

That will certainly wrap you up! Another lovely FO. Thanks for posting about your frame. I use wires, pins and my persian carpet, but I have always wanted a frame, for those items I want to block perfectly. Your pointers were good. Now all I need is a brother like yours!

Anonymous said...

Truly a piece of gorgeous work! I seriously think you should write a book on blocking - I'm sure alot can be said. I have a feeling a few knitters may want to share your kind brother :) Perhaps he can "guest" write here to tell us more about the frame? Terry

June said...

That is such an awesome frame!

The shawl looks wonderful, too. Great job.

missalicefaye said...

Brilliant! Thank you for the blocking frame report. I'm going to have to give one of those a try someday.... And the shawl is beautiful, of course--lovely work!

Opal said...

I think I'd feel a little like David against Goliath next to that frame. I'm only 5'1"!! Still, I can see how useful it is to have one of those babies around. I think I'm going to be running into space problems if I ever decide to block a shawl of that size.

I love how it worked out for you though. It's gorgeous! Oh! And I managed to get a copy of that pattern for my birthday! How cool is that?

Logan said...

Lovely colors, beautifully knitted, and superbly blocked!

I'm a fan of the super-block myself, but still do the crawling-around-on-the-floor thin. Although, I block on 1/2" thick foam pads, so it's pretty easy on the knees (I just lay out more pads than I'll need). Hmm, I wonder if the square frame would work well for non-square shapes?

Ryn said...

*squeal* So PRETTY! I want I want I want! The yarn is gorgeous, and a very wise choice for a watery shawl. It is beautiful. If I didn't have two shawls and a stole on the needles, I'd knit this in a heartbeat.

Very interesting to see a shawl frame actually being used in real life. I've read about them, and have toyed with making one, but haven't really had the motivation. Yours looks so awesome that I may just have to try it!

Kerry said...

What a beautiful shawl, so well done. You do some of the most beautiful lace I've seen.

Jane said...

Dear Jason,

Yes, socks and I don't see eye to eye. That's my sisters favorite Winter knitting activity. For some reason, the shawls from "Two Old Bags" have really been pretty large but that could be said of Sharon Millers patterns depending on what you use to knit them :-) They are pretty shawls but are actually simple to knit if you really look at them.I think your Spider Queen will be more of a challenge :-)

Jane said...

Dear littleberry,

Thanks. It did come out nicely though it's not as showy as some others I've knit. Any shawl I make could end up being "gifted" to someone else but I have no plan. For now, it gets wrapped up with the other two shawls I have kept.

Jane said...

Dear Ester,

It was interesting using the shawl frame. I think it needs a bit of practice on my part but it really does save space in my small home. I'm really lucky that my brother was willing and able to make one for me. I've seen one's made of PVC pipe. They just wind the cord over the top, no nails. I don't know how well that would work but it might be an option for some without all the intense building that this frame has. Thanks for checking in!

Jane said...

Dear fleegle,

I've given so many of the shawls away that I don't think I have enough to conribute towards that blanket. I will have to keep on knitting to catch up with you! You are right, knitting this shawl is not going to blow anyones mind but I choose it because it was, for me, simple to knit and on larger needles. I needed a little break and I had held onto this pattern for a long time. Now I can move on!

Jane said...

Dear Lartiza,

As long as you lean it against something and stand inside the frame to put the top and part of the sides on, it can work. Still, there is a reason why those shawl frames in the old pictures are on the ground, not up on legs I guess one could turn the thing upside down and put the shawl on that way though. I will still pin the smaller shawls on the floor as long as I have space, but for the really big ones, this works just fine!

Jane said...

Dear Soo,

Thank you. I think the varigated yarn looks pretty good in this shawl and since it is square and large, it was ideal to try the frame out. Still, I would never have used it to block Lyra and other shawls that are small, so maybe it has limited use for even me!

Jane said...

Dear badcatdesigns,

I've managed with pins and wires for years and will continue to use them. It's just nice to have the option once in awhile to use the frame. I'm just lucky to have a great brother!

Jane said...

Dear Terry,

If you go to the side of the blog and scroll down to the Tags, you will see one that says shawl frame. If you click it, it will take you to my brothers comments on building the frame from the Knit Picks instructions :-) As for blocking, I think there are instructions on how to do it at the Knit Picks site as well :-)

Jane said...

Dear June,
Thank you! Other than the "endless edging" it was a relaxing shawl to knit.

Jane said...

Dear missalicefaye,

I really wanted to try a shawl frame too after seeing so many in pictures. Still, your shawls look terrific and you don't have a frame. In the end, it's just another tool :-) Glad you liked the shawl. Not a challenge to knit it but not everything has to kick butt to look good!

Jane said...

Dear Opal,

That's terrific that you got a copy! I have to say that the final straw for me was the Mountain Pines Shawl. It was so huge I had to move my sofa to find space to block it. I finally asked my brother to make me a frame after that. Hope you have fun knitting one or both of the shawls in that booklet!

Jane said...

Dear logan,

Thanks! I have enough space to block on the floor if the shawl is not too big but it's handy to use this frame for the larger ones. In the Knit Picks instructions it shows a triangle shawl being blocked just using a corner of the frame but I don't think I would bother with a shawl that small.

Jane said...

Dear ryn,

I enjoyed using yarn I dyed myself but I was afraid it would be too busy. The pattern still shows through pretty well and I like how it came out even though I really don't wear shawls. I had always wondered about using a shawl frame myself and now my curiosity is satisfied. Good Luck if you decide to make your own!

Jane said...

Dear Kerry,

Thank you! I appreciate your kind comment. I love looking at everyone else's lace work as well so I understand how you feel :-)

Lisa said...

Huge and absolutely stunning! Great job!

Carol said...

Love love love! I HAVE to get startedon my Morning Glories Stole. I know it's not the same league as the Boundary shawl, but I really like it too. You are inspiring.

Jane said...

Dear Lisa,

I don't know why, but all the shawls from Two Old Bags end up huge. I'm using the size needles they ask for so maybe I'm knitting loose? Glad yu like how it came out. Not as visually interesting as the Nieblings, but they what is? Nice relaxing knit except for the "endless edging"

Jane said...

Dear Carol,

I'm happy you like how it came out. I think it's pretty as well. I love all the knitting that I see on other blogs and find myself inspired as well. I look forward to seeing your Morning Glory stole!