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!