As soon as I sent the blog yesterday, pledging to complete two nearly-finished Evelyn Clark patterns, I went into a busy beaver routine. It didn’t take long to finish the “Wildflower Lace Scarf.” I’d run out of yarn only inches from the end and the edging is “do-as-you-go,” rather than applied at the end. So, it wasn’t long before I had that baby finished and blocking. When it was dry enough (although I usually like to leave things blocked out at least overnight), I unpinned it, shook it out and took this photo of it on top of a dark blue t-shirt I had planned to wear during the “Today Show” filming week but didn’t (who knows why?).
Because I was on a self-imposed deadline, I was rabidly (you saw it correctly; I meant “rabidly” not “rapidly”) finishing the applied lace edging to the “Manzanita Lace Shawl” as the first scarf was drying on the blocking boards. By the time I unpinned “Wildflower,” “Manzanita” had soaked in no-rinse wool wash and was ready to pin down and block out:
My blocking system is simple and cheap. I purchased four pieces of foam insulation several years ago at Home Depot (maybe something like $3 each now?) and use three of them to block a large triangle shawl such as “Manzanita.” I use blocking wires, t-pins and a measuring tape—the latter really gets a work-out because I want to be sure that I’m not blocking it into a strange, asymmetrical shape. Since the electronic cottage, aka our condo, isn’t the largest place in the world, we shipped my beloved round oak table with 5 leaves and many chairs (that I had grown up with) to my daughter in Pittsburgh a few years ago. In its place we purchased an inexpensive 36″ x 36″ cherry (veneer) table that has 15″ extensions on each end, making a wonderful 66″ long x 36″ wide blocking surface, I mean dining table. It extends often to be a blocking table and infrequently when we host holiday or other meals with more guests than the two of us plus two dogs. We purchased it at one of those wonderful places—Scan Design, or Dania or Scandia–and it works fine in its multi-purpose role.
First thing this morning, after helping my husband shepherd our elderly dogs outside before feeding them–always a good idea, I quickly removed the t-pins and blocking wires, held up the blocked shawl and breathed a sigh of satisfaction. I love the shawl, although I’ll probably do with it what I do with 95% of what I knit—give it away to a special person. This afternoon I met friends at a bagel place that generously allows knitters to use a very large, unoccupied space behind a door you have to get very detailed directions to find. The first time I went there, I missed it altogether. Linda, a knitting buddy, modeled “Manzanita” for all of you to see on a real person:I don’t get a kick-back from Evelyn Clark on this pattern (although maybe I should…), but tell my knitting students/ buddies that it’s a great place to begin knitting lace. Once you get into the swing of the pattern, it becomes clear how most of the pattern rows are either knit or purl rows and occasionally (maybe every 11 rows?) there’s a yarn over, K2tog row–easy to remember with minimal notes.
Yes, this was a very splendid (and cleansing) thing. And now I move onto another of few remaining UFOs: some basic leg warmers requested by my niece Darla in Illinois. I leave tomorrow for a weekend knitting retreat with my local guild–the Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild. The legwarmers will be perfect to work on while we visit! I’m not promising I’ll have a picture of them posted by Saturday night because I don’t know whether I’ll have a good internet connection or not.
I’ll face the remaining UFOs when I return. After all, one of them has been aging for a little more than 10 years and another for something like 8 years–what’s the rush? Maybe as I’m hiking this weekend inspiration will come to me about how to deal with those two very old UFOs! I’ll show them to you when I get back. It’ll be such a relief to finally come clean about them.