The Cat Is Out of the Tub
August 8, 2005
You know me: not a big blocker. I don’t like to fuss. I just wet the thing, plaster it to a flat surface, eyeball it for rough symmetry, and aim Rowenta in the general direction for a couple of blasts. That usually makes me feel that I Have Blocked And It Is Good.
But we’ve spoken of Exchange Anxiety, and how it makes us mad to prove that we are good enough, we are smart enough, and doggone it, people like us! In the case of Kiri, Exchange Anxiety has driven me to Pin Blocking. (Aw, I’m just kidding. Any fool can see that a laceweight mohair shawl needs a couple of hundred pins to straighten up and fly right. I’d have done it anyway, exchange or no exchange.)
And because I did it, I documented doing it. I don’t have anything to add to the Art and Science of Blocking here. I just needed to validate my Personal Blocking Experience. So here goes. Watch and learn. Critique if you must. I can take it.
Kiri in a state of glamorous deshabille. Frothy, zaftig, but not ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille. Note the undulations. We will not be having any undulations in our shawl. Ve vill block! Mit ze pins!
I was worried about the cast-off edge. Polly said cast off loosely. So I did. But it seemed too loose.
Kiri floats! I have to say, the moment just before the plunge was thrilling. (Product endorsement: Eucalan Lavender. Just the thing for bathing baby goat hair.)
This is what Polly was talking about when she warned that a soaked Kiri was like hauling a cat out of the tub. The preferred technique is to gather the whole wet mess into two hands, and lift it out without stretching it. Then squish. Squish a lot. No rubbing! Give it your most respectful squish!
Then you spread a sheet over your bed, get out your measuring tape and pin the thing into the mattress. Hope it’s dry by bedtime!
When blocked, the fern leaves get very geometric. So soothing. So lovely. The transparency and slight irregularity of those stacked yarnovers is thrilling. Like real leaves.
On the clothesline, looking into the neighbors’ wooded lot. Mighty fine! Kiri measures just shy of 80 inches across the top. With 15 leaves on each side of the center, she took a few yards more than 3 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in the shade called ‘Trance’, which on Earth, and in English, is called ‘light teal’, or ‘pale blue-green’, or something similarly informative.
In Other Earthshattering News
Last week. in Unrelated Incidents, I taught 3 kids to knit. The youngest was The Artist Formerly Known as Baby Rose, who is still weeks away from her fourth birthday. She learned to finger knit. She was motivated by a strong desire for chic, drip-dry beach adornment.
Rose made an ankle bracelet that Paloma Picasso would covet. She totally GETS IT. Forms her slip-knots like a pro.
I leave you with a gratuitous shot of Bathing Beauties 2005:
It took 4 women 48 hours of unrelenting vigilance and menial labor to bring you this image of happy, sun-toasted, grit-blasted, popsicle-dripping children. And by god, it was worth it.