Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blocking Mainly

My whole life is measured by Sundays.  I live for Sundays, just surviving from one Sunday to the next, and then looking back on the last Sunday and saying, One More Week Down!  Two years ago, my light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel was the weekend.  "Just have to make it to the weekend, and then I'll be okay!"  Last year, I only had to make it to Thursday, and from there on out things were easier.  Now, I say, "I just have to make it to Spanish class, and then the end is in sight!"  Sad?  Perhaps.  But I'm managing all right. :)  

And of course, Sundays help.  Since I work on Saturdays, Sunday is my one REAL R&R day, my one day to do enjoyable things and hang around.  Church is always lovely, just a grand time to refresh the heart and check in with friends and have a stretch of God-time, which I don't often get all in a row during the week.  And then Sunday afternoons, the most unproductive few hours of my week, are so nice, involving books, writing, tea (LOTS of tea), etc. etc.  

Anyhow, I did get a few (awful grungy) pictures last night, when I had a block pinned out on the board.  I'm at the tail end of blocking these sets of four now, just pinned the last one out actually.  I've never blocked anything before, so this was new and I was a little wary.  But it's very muchly Worth It.  It changes it somehow, makes it less lumpy and more polished.  Ah well.  

My method does not include soap or detergent or starch or anything.  Just plain old water.  I use a generic spray bottle with the nozzle twisted to almost-closed, to get a (fairly) light, even spray.  
I don't have a board or anything fancy, just a collapsed cardboard shipping crate with a clean car-washing towel folded up on top of it.  My pins are long rust-resistant sewing pins, with big colorful heads that are prettyful. :)

The first set-of-four-squares Big Square that I blocked out was really wonky, but crochet is pretty forgiving, and it looks fine now.  I found that pinning the first corner down so the block sort of nests in the corner really helps with getting the edges straight (see above picture).  Then I use a long sewing ruler, and measure out my corners so that they're 16 inches apart and more or less in a square-like position.  Then I lay the ruler along two corner pins, gently tug 
and pull the edges out to the ruler, and pin them down.  Do that on all four sides, spray down with water, with extra spritz on the edges where the pins are, until it's fairly wet all over but not soaked.  Then I let it dry.  It usually takes only a few hours, because I have my board laying in front of a door and beneath a ceiling fan.  Lots of air circulation, which is good.  

Oh, oh, oh, and BEFORE all of this blocking business, I joined these 4 squares together using the join as you go method from Attic24, on the fifth round of the Warm Colors blocks.  It.  Is.  Marvelous.  SO much easier than after-the-fact assembly, yarn-conserving, speedy, etc.  I'm THRILLED with it.  I will NEVER stitch my Grannies together again!

There is another method of blocking, where you actually soak the item, lay down on a table or ironing board covered with an old towel, and iron it on a low setting, to set it.  I don't like how flat this makes the work (crochet is chunky and twisty for a reason, peoples!) but I did use it on this project:
Fiber Arts homework = a smallish sweater, made with a sock monkey in mind, but I don't actually OWN the sock monkey, so I had this toy horsey model it for me. :)  I blocked the main body part of the sweater before I stitched in the sleeves, and it worked well enough.  At least it cut down on the curly-edges problem.  But still, wouldn't use this for crochet.  And I'm always afraid the iron will melt the yarn.  

Because, yes, I'm cheap, and I buy whatever I can get for the cheapest, including acrylics and synthetics.  Sorry y'all.  Beggars can't be choosers, they say!!  :)  I make do.  It's the color that counts, in my eyes.  

Anyhow, long informative post.  Ending....NOW!  :)  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, while it lasts!  Although the Brits reading this are probably already at the end of theirs. :)

AMZi x x x x x


  1. Its difficult to contact you bc I believe your comments are turned off and I did not find an email. Just wanted to let you know I blogged about your alphabet pattern with credits/links to you. Thank you.

  2. I believe the issue might be the 'pages' option, unlike posts, which is moderated under the comments tab. All pages created needs to have the comments manually turned on. The crochet alphabet page does not have the comments turned on (still).
    Love your work!


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