I've been guilty of failure to block on previous projects, but when it comes to lace, or shawls, and in particular lace shawls, blocking is a must. It evens out those little stitches, allows the shawl to grow a little, and ensures nice, straight edges and perfect points.
- large trash bag, seams cut, to make one large rectangle
- stainless steel pins
- large bath towel
- Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo
- my queen-size bed
After weaving in the ends, I submerged my shawl in lukewarm water with about a teaspoon of baby shampoo. One could always use wool wash, like Eucalan or Soak, but when finances are tight and/or there's a little one in the house, why not use baby shampoo? It's mild, it's inexpensive, and if it can get dirt, spaghetti sauce, and goodness knows what else off of a toddler, then why shouldn't it do wonders for yarn?
After rinsing in another bath of lukewarm water, I put the shawl on a large bath towel, then folded the towel over my knitting and walked all over it. This removed a ton of water, and less water in the yarn means shorter drying time.
I would prefer not to block on my bed, (in fact, I usually block on top of my washing machine), but large projects need large spaces to block. The trash bag prevents my bed from getting damp, but I almost always use a trash bag wherever I'm blocking. Unlike towels, the trash bag won't absorb the water from my knitting, and the knitting tends to dry faster this way.
Finally, pins were placed at all points on the border and I used a yardstick to make sure I had a straight edge across the top. I turned the ceiling fan on high, and three hours later I had a dry, blocked shawl.