Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Scallops for All, and All for Scallops

Several folks have asked me how I get the edge of Norwegian Woods to have such nicely rounded scallops, and since I just finished my knitalong scarf, I thought I would post some photos of the blocking process.

Let's see... am I ready to start? Finished scarf, check. Pins, check. Wires, check. Helpful gremlin, check. I think I am ready!

Another pic of the crumpled Norwegian Woods, for comparison and because I love crumpled up lace.

I don't show the next step, but you can picture me dunking the scarf in a warm tub of water with a little Eucalan added, then lifting out the shawl (complete with seaweedy aroma... don't you love sea silk?) and rolling it in a towel to semi-dry.

The first step is to anchor the top of the shawl, which is very conveniently done with blocking wires. These particular wires are actually TIG welding rods, and you can see the little flat place near the tip that "real" blocking wires won't have. However, since I got a pound of these for less than $10, I have decided that I do not mind the little flat place near the tip.

To use, simply thread the wire in and out of the eyelets that line the top border. You can do the same with fishing line or weed whacker line if that's your preference.

If you need to use two wires for the width of the piece, just overlap by putting both wires under the same thread, then continue.

Now stretch the top widthwise over the wires (or line), and at this point, do measure to see if they are even on both sides of the center seam. Blocking truly is nicer when symmetrical! I put pins along the top wires to hold them steady for the next step.

Now, stretch the piece lengthwise. A good rule of thumb for triangle shawls (or scarves) is length is approximately one-half of total width. But this is not a hard and fast rule... you can monkey with this if needed.

You can see the bottom point held with one lonely little pin.

Now go around and stretch out all the little points that shall become scallops. You are trying for evenness, not perfection at this stage. Try to get the points in a straight line, and do measure to see if you are stretching the sides out evenly. Allow some time for this step. It always takes more time than you think!

Close up of the pointy bits that will be scallops.

Now... make scallops!!! Using the center pin as a place holder, spread the sides of each point into rounded loveliness and use one pin on each side of the scallop to hold it there. I like to pin the sides downward and at a slight angle, as you see here. Again, strive for organic roundness, not pinpoint perfection. Unless of course that makes you happy...

Here you can see the rounded, pinned out scallops all the way around.

... And an aerial view of the same. Now wait until it is dry.

Tomorrow... the finished Norwegian Woods scarf!


Uli said...

It's fabulous Sivia. I'm trying to challenge myself to have mine done by the Victoria Fibre Fest weekend - I think I might be reaching for the stars along with everything else.

Joanne said...

This is why I'm such a fan... such great attention to detail results in a work of art.

Kristen said...

Query: Why did you choose to pin the scallop points with individual pins, rather than threading additional blocking wires through the points, and gently curving those wires? This is an honest question, not a critique! The shawl is stunning, and I hope to make one of my own.

jenknits said...

That's a beautiful shawl! You follow almost the same process I do for blocking a shawl. You left out the part about redoing the sides over and over until they are symmetrical. Or maybe I am the only one with that problem!

earthchick said...