So today in my time lapse blog-world I am ready to block my front and back pieces of the swancho. The two pieces are essentially the same, with a little bit of neckline shaping on the front that is missing on the back. I guess the shape of each piece is a trapezoid, I think. I should check with my 5 year old. He good with shapes. I know it is not a dodecahedron, like Team Umizoomi needs to find at the top of the mountain before Dump Truck gets there, but it might be one of the shapes they run into on the way.
Anyway, I am ready to block my pieces, which simply means I need to gently stretch them onto a pinnable surface, pin them into place, and either wet them or steam them to set the final shape. This opens up any lace designs, smooths any bumpy spots, and generally evens out every stitch in the fabric, while making sure it is all the right size. Almost all patterns will include a schematic with dimensions of each piece that you will use for blocking. Simply pin the straight edges straight and the curved edges curved to the right length everywhere and you are done. If there is no schematic, you can calculate the length of each edge from the number of stitches or rows in that section using the gauge of the pattern, how many stitches and rows needed to make 4 inches. You can always sketch your own little picture with your calculated dimensions; save it in case you ever make the pattern again.
I love blocking. Any time I can, I use my steam iron. I love pinning the piece gently into shape and then steaming, each stitch settling into its own perfect place within the fabric. Go ahead, fall in love with your yarn all over again. Good yarn will love you back. Like dating, sometimes you meet a yarn that seems wonderful. It is gorgeous, it seems just right. But as you work with it, maybe it’s not so great, maybe even difficult. It might split, it might pill, it might not be too forgiving if you make a mistake and have to pull back. Is it worth it? A few times I have said yes, but you know what? In the long run, the thing that comes out of the difficult yarn is no better than it should be. It is still difficult and rarely becomes one of my favorite things. Good yarn on the other hand is completely different. It is beautiful and true as yarn. It is beautiful and true as fabric. It is beautiful and true as a created thing, and you will likely love it forever.