There’s something magical about blocking lace knitting. You take something that’s crumpled and eggboxy and turn it into the airiest, crispest, most beautiful thing. Blocking lace appeals to the same part of me that likes a good Ugly Duckling story.
I took my Glasgow Rose Shawl on holiday with me to Prague (blog post on that to follow when I get the time to put my thoughts in order). I was desperate to finish it and have time to block it before going to Glasgow for a long weekend (blog post also intended), where I planned to wear it. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired design was perfect to take and wear in his home town.
I’d finished the main set of charts quite a while before I left for Prague, but I had the option to keep doing repeats of the main section and edging until I (nearly) ran out of yarn to make it larger. So the clock was ticking. I finally cast it off with 15g of yarn remaining, with each repeat of the edging charts taking … about 15g of yarn. Which is close enough for comfort! I really didn’t want to risk another repeat. All in all, I managed five extra repeats of that edging chart, giving me a much bigger shawl than it might otherwise have been.
As always, the blocking process did not disappoint. My shawl grew by about a third once it was wet and pinned out, and the proportions changed completely. What was quite a shallow triangle pre-blocking became much more even. I could probably have even squeezed a bit more size out of it if I’d stretched it further, but I didn’t want to risk snapping the single ply yarn (single ply can be pretty fragile) and, let’s face it, I’d run out of space on my blocking mats on the spare bed.
For those of you wondering, the yarn is Madeleine Tosh Prairie in a colourway called Coquette. I bought it at Unwind in Brighton last year. It’s a very intensely dyed single ply yarn, with subtle variegation in the colour.
The pattern (designed by Lucy Hague) is relatively straightforward. It’s worked from the point up, with the edging knitted as one goes. The most complicated part is the rose motif at the point, which includes some quite complex 3-into-7 stitches. It needed a lot of concentration,. But by the time I’d got to the top, the bold and graphic design meant it had transitioned into pub knitting.
I’m really pleased with how it turned out.