Aggressive Blocking

I pretty much HATE blocking.  Of course I always do it and love the effect on my knitted work.  It’s such an amazing transformation from fuzzled curly mess to something you would actually want to wear.

The Beast!
The Beast!  “Strokes are required, Human!”

I’ve been blocking today and seeing as it was fairly early in the morning I didn’t stick on a YouTube play list but just bibbled about with the patio doors open – Treacle had to be hissed at three times before she stopped writhing about on the mats trying for belly skrunkles.

blocking station go! BALLS I forgot to sew in my ends...
futon-come-blocking station go! BALLS I forgot to sew in my ends…

Listening to The Sisters of Mercy has become traditional – something to do with the summer of the perpetual World’s End playlist – so I get the urge to listen to blaring 80s dark wave every time I reach for the blocking wires.  The music is important for keeping the spirits up and something where I feel like bopping about sustains momentum whilst scrambling back and forth Gollum-like replacing pins as they pop out.

blocking sisters of mercy
the roar of a big machine – it’s good for us hobby crafters to consider industrialised clothing production while hard at ‘work’


So yes.  I hate blocking.  And without the drum machine to channel the rage I feel quite proud of myself for not throwing the whole set up out the window.  I did, however, see fit to distract myself with what could have been step by step pics but turned into me messing about with a bowl of water, a sodden shawl and my crappy snappy Nikon…


blocking sploosh
blocking splash
This yarn is a one of a kind skein from Dye For Wool called ‘A Dark Storm is Coming Near’ – probably accidentally dyed darker than the standard dark storm dye lot – so that lovely blue colour is some of the residual dye leaking out
I don’t bother with a fancy blocking liquid and usually just show it to a bottle of delicate wool wash liquid – the tiniest of tiny drops – this may or may not be like throwing salt over your shoulder but (in the interests of transparency) I do it… every time.


It’s a bit nerve wracking dumping your intricate lacy shawl in a bowl of water before stabbing it with metal sticks and pins and wrenching it out to twice it’s original size.  But after pinning it back down for the tenth time and re-threading the wires because they keep catching on everything the aggression part of ‘aggressive blocking’ really kicks in and caution goes out the window (rather than the blocking mat).

Just a tiny soggy mess...
Just a tiny soggy mess…
amazing it all stays together really…just a bunch of loops.
doing the towel sausage stomp...
doing the towel sausage stomp…


With this pattern the blocking wires can run along through the edge points in a straight line – which I hadn’t figured out last time I made this shawl.  It’s a lot easier (or at least more even!) to dispense with a single pin for each point. The shawl can then be pulled out with even pressure – and shape! – across the whole fabric.

I kept pulling out the pins holding the wires in place and progressively (aggressively) stretching it out further and further, inch by inch...
I kept pulling out the pins holding the wires in place and progressively (aggressively) stretching it out further and further, inch by inch…
Much easier than my first attempt – so many pins! Doh!

And it worked!  It’s HUGE!

blocking pussy willow full size


And here’s a picture to be going on with…

Pussy Willow dye for yarn


He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

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