Tag Archives: blocking

11 Shawls in 2011: A review

Looking back on the fact that I knit 11 shawls in little under 9 months I wanted  to look back on the things I accomplished/learned with each shawl. And what better time to do that then in the start of a new year.   As I sometimes  finished more than one shawl in one month, or would cast on a shawl then finish three others before going back to it,  I’ll just list shawls by  number. Shawls will link to their information on Ravelry.

Shawl 1: Batik 

This was the first shawl I started once i had learned about the challenge and I started with a bang.  My first bottom up shawl,  lace, and cables.

– Lifelines mean Never having to frog (seriously the second I put in some life lines, I did not need to frog ever again) – I see Murphy laughing at me  – Though I will still believe in life lines in chart switches.

– That little hole in knit picks needles is perfect for stringing your life line through and forgetting about it on a purl row (that said you should not actually forget about it, and find out it fell out 60 stitches ago).
– Discovering Kitman Figueora – who will make many more appearances  on this list.
– Just put in markers if you are casting on, there is no reason to count 200+ stitches 15 times. I will use the excuse that before this I hadn’t cast on more than 120 stitches or something….


Shawl 2: Deirdre


– This is how to use a shawl in winter.
– When colors are more important that pattern (K.I.S.S.)
– This may become a regular scarf alternative
– Oh worsted how I missed you already

Shawl 3:  Damson

  Two shawls in the same colorway? This is why Target (I had to hunt this down, I suppose that what happens when you live in a healthy neighborhood bubble) stocks Kool Aid. And even after soaking it in wash a few times the shawl will still have a lovely sweet smell that you don’t associate with Kool Aid.

– Dying is a fun way to get new yarn.
– You didn’t really think you would have enough yarn to do the edging when you used part of the skein to finish Batik did you? Really? Thought so. 
– You will make other people sniff your shawl The knitters will understand, the boyfriend’s of knitters will understand, the rest of the world, not so much.

Shawl 4: Peacock 

– Molly will always help with blocking. Accept it and move on. The fur adds a little special touch.
– Yes you will notice that mistake that has the right side off by one stitch. No you can’t frog, Molly is already helping you block. Accept it.
– You can accept that mistake only you will ever notice.
– Kitman Figueora is just a designer you will keep coming back to huh?


Shawl 5:  Mystery Medallion Shawl

  – Leaving yarn wound extremely tightly for 4 years is not a good idea. No Seriously, why did you do that.
–  A mystery can be a lot of fun
– You won’t need that second skein of yarn, but doing the Mystery shawl in a yarn you have a excess of takes out one stressor

Shawl 6:  Summer Shawlette 

– When you have followed the pattern perfectly then all of a sudden nothing works? Check the KAL before frogging 3 weeks of Clues
– No Seriously – someone else is likely having the same problem right now – don’t blame the bus
– Also you can read charts – do it!

Shawl 7: Rosa 

– Remember that thing you just said about reading charts? Um…
– You need more than a chart and two lines of text to get a shawl (To the Internet! It’s Ravelry my dear knitter.)
– You’ll make it work but it would have been a lot easier with more instructions
– Perhaps the next time you are knitting 2 shawls for a wedding in a few weeks, one shouldn’t be in lace so fine, it might as well be cobweb.
– You will not have anywhere large enough to block all this lace. Accept it.
– You will still have a nice shawl that is appreciated
– You just don’t like working in anything much lighter than fingering. Accept it and stop buying lace.
Shawl 8:  Gothic Moss Shawl 

– Hello Again Kitman it’s been a few shawls, I see you have come out with a couple new  patterns
– Really you don’t think 10 days to knit a shawl for a wedding while working full time is maybe pushing it? You like a challenge? Remember that when the men with white coats come.
– Oh and you have to learn how to graft? There’s no way that will go wrong.  (it didn’t, this time)
– Okay perhaps that part of you mind that’s all “Psh 10 Whole days? easy” is not as deranged as the other part that kept whispering ‘that mystery medallion shawl, matches the grey on your shoes.; you don’t have to do this’  would like you to believe.

Shawl 9: Damask

– After that wedding deadline you are invincible (you totally didn’t have to get up early to block the shawl before work to finish. You had plenty of time)
– Seriously just buy all of Kitman’s Patterns. There are no doubts at this point.
– Trust the pattern, sometimes you just can’t tell what is going on, at first
– So nupps are a thing


Shawl 10:  Trousseau

– Buy more blocking mats. Some people like having a couch they can sit on
–  Pies make for an interesting knit
– I don’t see you buying more mats.

Shawl 11: Blue Mystery 

– So nice you knit it twice
– See how much easier and faster that was when you don’t frog an entire shawl at the 80% mark?


So that was 11 Shawls in 2011. What did I learn from this overall?

– Sometimes I will run out of yarn
– Sometimes I will have an excess of yarn
– Some designers are my gold
– Bottom up shawls work better for me
– Life lines
– Cast on Stitch markers
– Not every mistake is your own
– I prefer written instructions to charts
– Sometimes insane determination pays off
–  Accept it (whatever “it” is this time)
– Molly is quite lucky she is cute and doesn’t actually kneed  blocking shawls


Blocking and Blocking

So I finally got a chance to block out my Batik shawl and I’m really happy with the way it came out and looking forward to doing another of Kitman Figueroa’s designs . Possibly Damask but we’ll see.

First time using blocking wires and i think I got a much better pin down though I think I will need to order another set of blocking mats as I plan to make some shawls that will be much bigger than the Batik.

What this picture doesn’t show, because she’s too quick, is Molly adding her own touch to the blocking process. I actually found her rolling around on the slightly damp shawl one afternoon.

Here she is napping on the box that holds my blocking mats. The little trouble maker.

I also finished my second hat for myself. The Snapdragon Tam which I wanted to finish by 2/26 which was done with a week and some to spare.

I did have the fun realization that I had no plates wide enough for the blocking and decided to wing it with my largest plate. It worked for the most part. As before the had was pretty beanie shaped.

Quite a difference.

I have a couple projects going away on the needles.  Damson, which is a fun simple knit, now if only I could juggle my kindle, and knit  standing on the subway.  Though I can do it on the bus!

And I’m having a bit of indecisiveness trying to decide what to make with My Madeline Tosh in CityLights, which I hadn’t realized was the special VKL colorway for Knitty City. Even more reason to do it justice and I’m not sure I could get more.  I should have grabbed it in DK too! Oh so tempting.

I have about 420 yards and had settled on a scarf. But I have frogged the first two, and will frog the couple inches I have on a waffle  stitch scarf once I get to it. Perhaps a worsted shawl is the way to go instead of scarf. Decisions.

Still doing pretty well with the yarn diet.  Haven’t bought any yarn since the Batik purchase and I really did need that to finish the project.  And I’m using the remainder on Damson.

Days Without a yarn purchase: 14

Still here

Its been a while since I’ve posted but plenty of knitterly things have been happening. I’ve finished the blue jeans shawl, which was a straight forward easy knit and gives me hope for one day designing my own triangular shawl.

Blue Jeans Shawl

Pre-blocked it wasn’t much to look at but it sure put my blocking mats to the test.

Just starting out with the blocking here and wondering if I will have enough matting to get it done. Its not the first time I’ve thought of ordering a second set of mats, or hunting them down from a child’s toy store.

There it is when it was finally laid out and ready to dry. I’ve worn it a few times in the cubicle and loaned it out which led to a friend requesting one in black. Or at least a similar one. I’ve started on the Spring Thaw shawl for her in some Black Debbie Bliss Bamboo Wool  Blend.

The Dalek is coming along and is actually nearly done. I just have to do the base and attach the arms. Granted it has been in this nearly done state for a couple weeks now.

Its full of stuffing and simply lacks a base and arms to go exterminating the population.

Lastly a picture a friend took at one of the many summer bbqs so far.

How I spent my 4th of July

So first off Happy 4th to all my Americans, its still the 4th in the other time zones.

So I headed to the park, for a pinic, and I brought knitting.

TreeSee I do sometimes venture into nature. I grabbed a bag of sock weight yarn in, blue, navy, white, and black. So naturally I thought Tardis, not to mention the shirt I was in.

Tardis TeeSo mostly using my shirt as a guide I created :

Tardis Ornament Much to the amusement of the other knitters and Who fans around me. So it is about 4 inches long and I backed it in black felt.  It is the first of my Christmas Ornament experiment. The final goal being a set of geeky ornaments for aspect of my geek; TV, Books, Movies, Comics, etc…



So the office Shawl is Done, now all I have to do is block it. Right now I’m having an adventure finding something large enough to pin it down with I have a little less than 1/5 of it  still unpinned.

PinnedThat right there is the bottom. It’s pretty much huge. I can’t wait to block and have this as drape for when I’m freezing! at work.



So I’ve begun knitting the Extermaknit pattern by Penwiper.  After twisting stitches, thinking the stitches were twisted and all other kinds of madness I switched to DPNs instead of a 40″ circular. Ah DPNs how I heart you. all is well now.

Supreme Dalek

Doesn’t seem willing to have a good picture of this. I’ll try harder once its done.

Supreme 2

Knit on size 0 DPNs and in Karabella Aurora 4 (black) and  Wildfoote sock yarn, (red) through the nightmares and the constant frogging I have been inspired for another project. if it works it will be a mix of knitting and my other crafty endeavors. But I have lots more to figure out, and supplies to hunt down first. My deadline for something less vague is the next special. Thanksgiving? Waters of Mars.  Possibly version 1 of the whole thing.
So the experiment in blocking seemed to work.

Lace ScarfI repeat the experinment in blocking seemed to work, but by the next day.

LaceIt looked like this again. I’ve worn it. Its super long, and i like it so shrug. I will have to try this blocking thing again. possibly more water. Or not sock yarn. Or both.