Sunday, October 19, 2008

End of a Knit-a-Loo-o-ong

In the category of "things we never thought we'd see," I'm happy to report that Mystic Meadows is not only complete, but blocked. And it's absolutely lovely! (Lovely enough that I may be inspired to go back and finish some of my many lace WIPs) The Knit-A-Long aspect of this project was over long ago, as most everyone else has finished and moved onto other things, but in the spirit of "better late than never," here's a look at the finished product:
Pretty, I think. I thought it might be interesting to share a bit of the blocking process with you, since I was so pleased with my "adaptations." This was my first major lace blocking project, so I had no blocking wires. At $30 (and up), I was seriously contemplating whether I'd actually need to block enough lace in my life to make that worthwhile. Plus, I really didn't have a spot in the house where I could pin out something this large and just leave it there for a day or two.

Attacking my problems one at a time, I went to Lowe's looking for shop floor foam tiles. They looked at me as though I was speaking a foreign language, which I guess was their way of saying they didn't carry them. Same at Home Depot. Fortunately, I happened upon a set of foam alphabet tiles while I was in Michael's one afternoon. For $19.99, I got 28, 1-foot square foam blocks that I can assemble in whatever sizes I need. (and practice my letters at the same time!)

The wires were a little bit more challenging, but I eventually found the best-kept secret in the world! I found a local welding-supply shop (definitely a "boy store," but they were very nice to me). What you want to ask for is TIG wire. I got 3/32" diameter, which is pretty rigid, for straight edges, but you can get thinner diameters for your curved edges. The wires are 3 feet long, and the 10 wires in the bag below cost me $2.10!! (a heck of a nice savings from $30!). With another $2.50 of my savings, I bought a length of PVC pipe and a couple of end caps, and now I have a nice storage tube for my wires. Hubby thinks I should be assembling these kits and selling them on eBay!

Armed with my new tools, I got out on the patio and pinned out my wet shawl, letting the autumn breeze do the rest.

By the way, I really loved this pattern. It splits into three distinct sections, each supporting the theme of Mystic Meadows. The first portion is tall flowers/grasses. You can see the stalks and leaves quite clearly, ending in flowers at the top of each.

The second section is bouquets of flowers, and you can start to see the meadow of individual blossoms scattered through the background.

Finally, the last section has butterflies frolicking around on that background of scattered blossoms. (I know it's a little bit difficult to make out on the colorful background, but if you squint and use a little imagination, I think you'll see them)

My thanks once again to Margene, whose advice to finish the thing that was closest to completion was what helped me slog my way to the end on this. And, as she suggested, I've rewarded myself by starting on a baby item for my nephew-to-be. No pictures on that one right now, since I don't know if my sister ever reads the blog.

Oh yeah, one more thing..... GO SOX!!!!


Esoteric Knitter said...

Smart blocking ideas! :)

Margene said...

The shawl is amazing! It's beautifully knit and blocked! Enjoy wearing it and showing it off.

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