The Estonian Garden Scarf is finally done. I cruised across the knitting finish line yesterday, then got out the camera and the blocking gadgets and went to work. I love blocking lace. The pre-blocking product looks so unimpressive, then voila, you have a work of art. I’ve been carrying this thing around for weeks working on it, and everybody that looks at it mumbles nice things, but I could tell that they were really thinking, “that looks like a pile of crap”. Well, here’s the reward.
You might note some little ends sticking out if you look closely. Because the lace gets stretched quite a bit during the blocking process, when I wove in the ends, I left about an inch and a half when I trimmed them. After it was blocked and dry, I trimmed them close. I have no desire to see things unravel before my eyes.
I believe in the full-immersion theory of lace blocking. Sort of like full-immersion baptism, it turns it into a completely new thing.
I let it soak in a combo of wool wash and cool water for fifteen or twenty minutes, which gets it thorougly soaked and removes the road dust. I use Kookaburra wool wash, which you can get any number of places. I buy mine here. It also smells very nice (if you like tea tree oil; if not, use something else). After the wash, I rolled the scarf up in a bath towel and pressed out the excess water.
Then out come the blocking wires. I bought a blocking kit years ago, but it didn’t have very many pieces with it. Instead of paying a fortune for another kit, I went to the local welding supply place this week and bought more wires. The guy at Airgas was a hoot. He told me all about his wife’s knitting, and I’m pretty sure I am the only knitter who has bought welding rods from him for blocking purposes.
These are sold as “Cut Length Rods”, and are stainless steel, the 1/16th inch size, which was the narrowest diameter that they carried. There are about 24 pieces in a tube, and the tube itself provides handy storage. The ends are not rounded, so you have to be a bit careful with them, but I might get John to file them off for me at some point. These were much cheaper than a professional blocking kit. One other bit of advice; if you buy these, take a damp cloth and wipe them down before you use them. And make sure you get stainless steel, for obvious reasons.
I used two on each long side of the scarf, and carefully threaded them through the edges. This is a bit fidgety, but not nearly as fidgety as using nine million pins to get an even edge. I used a couple of shorter pieces from my old kit for the ends. If you buy the welding rods to use, you could probably cut some of the longer ones in half for this.
Then you stretch it out and pin it down:
One of the nice things about laceweight yarn is that it dries fast. Here’s what I had this morning:
A closeup of the nupps:
And the obligatory lake shot.
This will get packaged up and sent off to my sister for her birthday next week.
Pattern: Estonian Garden Wrap, pattern by Evelyn C. Clark.
Yarn: Zephyr wool-silk laceweight, color Basil. The pattern called for 2 oz, I ended up using about 1 1/2 oz.
Needles: Holz & Stein ebony circular, size 3.25mm.
Started: February 2006
Finished: May 19, 2006
For: my sister, for her birthday. (Shhhhh, it’s a surprise.)
What I learned: I learned more about making lace, which I’m beginning to think is my favorite kind of knitting. I learned how to do a provisional cast on, and then to unzip it to get “live” stitches. Most importantly, I learned about the behavior of nupps. I even learned to like them a little bit. They are quite pretty once they are done; it’s the doing that’s the trouble.
Verdict: I love this one enough to do another. The pattern has two versions, the narrower scarf, as shown here, and a wider stole. I can see making this again in the larger version. The pattern is clearly written, and without errors that I could find. The lace directions are written out as well as charted, and the charts are very easy to follow. I give it 5 stars.
Next up: New lace project in the making. I joined the Amazing Lace knitalong, and have finally picked a project after changing my mind fifteen times. The first challenge is to introduce your “team”, so that will be my next post. You’ll just have to stand the suspense until then.