Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Absolutely no one else will be impressed, but I've FINALLY completed my shawl.

This is a horrible picture, but I don't have a better option short of putting it down, and I don't want to put it down yet. It's off the needles. I made this. The only part of this I did not make is the actual wool fiber. I spun the yarn. I spun the yards and yards and yards of yarn this is made of. And then knitted it. And then made up the outer border when I decided the pattern was too small. And it's off the needles. It is no longer attached to the tiny pieces of plastic and bamboo (wooden circular needles FTW) that have sustained it through the last year or so. Off the needles. I need to mention this again. This moment is kind of how I imagine it would feel to have somebody tell you that they absolutely want to publish your book, because the damn thing is done. Well, done-ish. All the little sticky yarn bits are woven in and clipped off, and all that is left is blocking.

Ah. Blocking.

Have I mentioned lately that my house/trailer, while new and wonderful and not in the middle of a horribly big city, is really, really small?

Okay, lemme back up a bit. You know how when you wash a sweater, you need to lay it out on a towel so that when it dries, it still looks like a sweater? This is called "blocking". You set the shape and sometimes, size of a knitted piece of fabric by washing it carefully (DO. NOT. SCRUB. KNITTED. FIBER.) (EVER) (you get felt. Especially if it's a natural hair fiber like wool.) and then laying it out to dry. With a sweater the laying-out-to-dry part is not particularly difficult because the sweater washed is roughly the size you want the sweater to be dry.

Knitted lace has an added problem: it doesn't look like lace. Or rather, it looks like lace that has spent six months crumpled on the bottom of your closet. So when you block lace, you also have to stretch it. Also, you can make a large piece of lace even larger. You have to soak it in water, spread it out on a piece of absorbant pinable fabric that will stay in place, pin the knitting into place, and leave it alone to dry for several hours.

I have never blocked a piece of lace. My first shawl developed a hole in it before I had the room and bravery to risk getting it wet. This will be my first try. And according to research, my options for a large shawl are bed, floor, and floor with carpeting.

I have a small bed. And a cat who really likes the floor. Any attempts at blocking will take the room the blocking happens in out of comission until blocking is over. And I have NO IDEA Where this will happen.

But it will happen tomorrow! And I will report on it here! Because I have nowhere better to go.

(Yes. I totally finished it fifteen minutes ago. And I am tired. And my fingers hUUUUUUUUUrt. And I should be in bed. And I don't care.)

(also-also finished first draft of second novel, but that isn't all that important. nobody is ever going to read that.)


  1. "You know how when you wash a sweater, you need to lay it out on a towel so that when it dries, it still looks like a sweater?"


    "also-also finished first draft of second novel"


  2. Usually knitting will curl or do other weird things when it comes right off the needles, and the only way to fix it is to get it wet and hold it down until it dries. If you get it wet again, it will go back to the curled up weirdness until you dry it.

    That's why when you get a really nice sweater, you lay it out on a towel and a flat surface until it's dried.

    And I can't really acknowlegdge writing as an accomplishment until it actually, you know, accomplishes something. Having books that no one really wants to read means i have a lot of time on my hands. Kinda like knitting.