Blocked! on blocking and unblocking the blocking block

I have a secret bag that has been getting fuller over the last year or so.  No not the stash!  It’s a bag full of finished lace shawls that have been languishing in need of being blocked.  There was even a project I never listed on Ravelry so I have no idea when it was started.

There are two aspects to this bag of shame.  Partly it is a problem of inspiration that has been creeping into my knitting life where losing faith in my ability to size things (and the ability to live in a body that remains a particular size for the length of a project) has made knitting garments dispiriting and even when I see a pattern I love it’s hard to get excited about the long crafting process when the dread of it ending in failure taints everything.  But I still want to knit!  I NEED to knit.  I keep buying shawl yarns in beautiful colours and have an enormous bundle on Ravelry of shawl patterns to pair with different fibres and weights.

And second is the most ridiculous obstacle.  I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE blocking.  It doesn’t even take that long.  But there became such an obstacle to it in my mind that I couldn’t just leap at it.  I’d have to work myself up to it.  But in the tiny flat we were living in in Dundee the decision to block would dominate the livingroom – the only decent sized room in the place – for the time it took for the project to dry.  And the scrambling discomfort of pulling things into shape over an awkward table or setting out a bed of tiny nails in the middle of the carpet led to a continuing lazy mantra of not today maybe next week when we haven’t got so much laundry to do or we haven’t got guests coming or I’m not feeling so bloody ill.

Poisoned by love: Merino Camel fingering from Dye For Wool.

So the bag of finished shawls kept being added to and as soon as one was off the needles and out of sight into the bag I’d find myself reaching for another skein of yarn to ball up thinking – I may as well do something productive.  And then who can resist casting on once you’ve spent an evening balling up something beautiful from Dye For Yarn or a skein of Madelinetosh in ‘Tart’ that you picked up because you just couldn’t resist the RED red on a day out in London.

Lovely TART! Madeline Prarie blocks out beautifully…

Fast forward to Edinburgh.  We moved here at the beginning of May.  I LOVE IT!  Edinburgh is a fantastic city and our new location brings views of Arthur’s Seat and the craigs and a castle park round the corner.  Lush!

Craigmillar Castle Park
Boo Knits shawls are BIG!

Our new house offers a lovely crafting space for me (okay so technically it’s the spare room).  But the spare mattress with my standard futon and towels set up is actually not so bad for a blocking station.  At least you can almost sit down mid scramble instead of ruining your back bending over the work as you re-pin the thing for the tenth time.

Stretching out the all lace Spellbound was a bit of a palaver.

But I didn’t get started straight away.  Turns out moving house is rather stressful.  And on top of the standard moving worries we had a house full of decorators when we arrived as the landlord claimed they’d got the moving date wrong and a toilet that just kept going from bad to worse.  But eventually, after our lovely lovely plumber got to the bottom of things (finding felt tip pens presumably flushed by the previous tenants’ children), the blockage was shifted. (I keep thinking that I’m going to jinx it so I’m touching wood, crossing my toes, thinking about black cats chewing rabbit feet etc.)

Now the bathroom sink drains again it can be used for blocking!

As for the blocking blockage, I met up with an Aberdeen knitting chum who moved to Edinburgh ages ago and we talked about knitting and inspiration and ate some simply astounding cake she had made and something shifted.  Not to mention the fantastic yoga mat bag project she showed me that has me thinking about getting into felting some of my tweed stash into bags.  I think that there is something freeing about crafting conversation.  It encourages and allows you to pick out tiny threads of ideas that spark your interest and seeing the possibilities out there in the flesh in the work other people are doing connects you to what really motivates and that is making something beautiful.

The Boy was on a Saturday morning shift when I wanted to unpin this one and throw it on so I had to go for some mirror selfies.  Boo Knits ‘Spellbound’ brings out my latent gothic tendencies…

This vampy Spellbound shawl beaded with size 8 black Matsuno glass beads – poppy seeds! – was a selfish knitting project for myself which I began after finishing a bridal white and clear glass Spellbound for my sister.  I just HAD to have a Spellbound of my own.  And it really is quite intoxicating to wear.  Although I managed to catch it in the zip of my bag while out shopping and nearly had a complete breakdown in John Lewis (it has been freed and eased back into an even fabric – although I think my equilibrium took slightly longer to be re-established and this completely ruined the floaty shawl vibe).

I still LOVE the Orchid Thief pattern by Isolda Teague.

This purple Orchid Thief was a gift (again planned and completed a long time ago) which can be revealed now it’s been sent off to its recipient.  But not before I had my own snuggle in it…

This one is so snuggly – loving the drape of this merino/camel mix seeing as it’s so fluffy.

And the longest wait has to have been for poor Sophie who I promised a jumper over two years ago.

Finally Sophie’s sleeves are blocked and I can carry on with this project! Nearly two years in the bag of shame…

This wait really was the most outrageous as there is barely any pinning needed and the sleeve panels take up less than a metre square!  But now the blocking block is abating and the sleeve panels are done I’ve been steaming away with the blue and green stripes…

Sophie’s Japan Sleeves are back in action. The short row shaping stripes are so satisfying to knit.

And of course I have another shawl on the needles.

‘Fading grey lichen’ merino silk light fingering by Dye For Yarn. How could I resist?

Two more to go in the blocking bag.  Hopefully more finished objects to come SOON!

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One thought on “Blocked! on blocking and unblocking the blocking block

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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