For the look of Relax in a worsted weight yarn, take a look at Worsted Boxy.

With the Right Tools You Can Do Anything

astablocked.jpg
Dear Kay,
You know how I am about the blocking. I love the blocking. I may start taking in the blocking as piecework.
I was at Sheila’s Yarn Shack the other day to pick up an item she had ordered for me way back before her shoppe even opened. I’m telling you, it was like Christmas.
Like a mason working without a trowel (OK like Michelangelo without his scaffold) I have been blocking stuff on my giant cardboard box covered in gingham. I felt so environmentally responsible. The only problem was, after endless pleasant days of pinning stuff down, my box began to return to nature, to sag in a biodegrading way that meant nothing I pinned to my box would stay flat.
Ah, whatever. This new fancy blocking board has everything except an Internet connection. As my sainted mother used to say, with the right tools you can do anything. (Most of the unnecessary yet awesomely cool things in my life are the result of this aphorism. Thanks, Mom!)
So I’m pleased that my inaugural project is something that so desperately needs a good long turn under the pins: the prodigal Asta, that wandering project that I lost for a month or so. I’m going to leave this pinned for a few days for some extreme blocking. I’m concerned that it is somehow small, even though the measurements look right. Or maybe I’m concerned that I am somehow big.
Is it just me, or does summer seem somehow long gone? David started third grade almost two weeks ago. Back in the bus driver’s seat, back in the routine of the Really Friendly Phone Call. “Hi! This is David’sMomAnn! Would you mind coming to help move the third grade building about ten feet to the left? Great! It’s going to be fun!”
Love,
Ann
PS Here’s another favorite way to justify just about anything, from Rowanette Jill: “I never regret my luxuries, only my economies.”

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. I think I got that saying from my grandmother – or it may have been someone like Oscar Wilde? And it is right – now you have got your super-duper blocking board, your work will look better, sewing up will be easier (think of all the time saved!) and life will improve……

  2. I have written down Jill’s saying – maybe it should be needlepointed in a luxurious yarn. So many times I’ve purchased something because it was the cheapest, only to be disappointed. I think I’ll stop doing that. Thanks!

  3. Blocking boards are the best, aren’t they? Even anti-blockers (like me) can appreciate a blocking board.
    Now, my husband probably has less kind things to say about the blocking board, which has taken up permanent residence over one of the bathtubs. Whatever. What he doesn’t realize is that the tub with a blocking board lid makes an hiding place for Christmas and birthday presents!

  4. As soon as I saw the picture I thought – “who makes that blocking board?” and “how do I get one”? The answer to both of those questions would be most appreciated as I am still working with towels and cardboard over here!

  5. Of course, you could’ve killed two birds with one stone and used the gluten-free bread as a blocking board…
    But I sure think your mom was right. I’m just trying to figure out what a 40GB iPod is a “tool” for, so I can justify buying one.

  6. Hey Brother-in-Law: I know! I know! Call on me! An ipod is a tool for… education! Literature. Reading the classics. Improving your mind. Stuff like that. I know, because two weeks this ago this Sunday I WON a 20GB ipod at my company picnic. ITS SO COOL it makes it clear how uncool and dated my entertainment systems have been. And ever since I have been using it to listen to audio books while happily knitting away. Or driving. (So far, not both at the same time.) So see, its a WAY COOL fiber arts tool, even if you can’t use it for blocking. Hmmm… think the team at Apple would invent a steamer for us?

  7. That picture is perfection!
    I can’t wait to your see your sweater-goodness after the seaming par-tay! I really like the colour combination that you ended going with.
    My husband recently brought home a new blocking board for me… a bigger and better [sturdier] cardboard box. What a good guy, going downstairs scrounging the production floors for me and my habit, and I didn’t even have to ask!
    I’m with Julia, where did you get the goods? I’m drooling over here, my what was once thought to be bigger and better [sturdier] blocking cardboard box is looking a little pitiful to me now.

  8. Asta’s looking lovely.
    I’d dearly love a blocking board – currently I tend to do the “blast of steam from the iron whilst item is draped over ironing board” method of blocking, which doesn’t really count as blocking really, does it?
    One day I will have a blocking board & dutifully block all items that I knit. (I do have hand on heart in an oath-swearing pose as I type this)
    Jo
    xxx

  9. Julia and Jo–I got my Space Board (Handler Textile Company) at Threaded Bliss Yarns in Nashville. Sheila would surely order one for you. Here’s another online source, clearly a gal who loves the blocking as much as I do: Angelika’s. She seems excited about her choice of quilting pins. OK and now I want some quilting pins too. At $78 this definitely goes in the category of “Luxuries,” but I’m feeling no regrets . . .
    Evelyn–Excellent multipurpose use of blocking board! I need to think of how else to amortize the cost of this thing. Very small teepee for boys to play in. Tabletop when put on a crate.
    Susan–You’re good, woman. Way to justify.
    And Tiffany–my giant cardboard box served me faithfully for two years. Think how you’re helping the environment!
    Jo–I think my blocking habit comes from this huge relief at finishing the pieces of something. Blocking gives me the chance to admire the cleverness of whatever it is I finished–not my cleverness but the cleverness of the pattern. It is weirdly satisfying to see all those decreases line up in a polite row, or to see a curve show up sort of where I hoped it would. I wish we knew who thought up all the stitches and methods we all take for granted, so I could thank them. “Dear Ms. Ellen McDougal, Thank you so much for inventing the slip-slip-knit. It’s so totally AWEsome.”

  10. Asta is gorgeous. I can’t wait to see it all sewn up. That design was on my list to make this summer but I never got a round to it. (my jr. high history teacher had these little round things that looked like coins that said “tuit” on them and if someone said they didn’t get around to doing an assignment, he’d give them one, LOL) I love the design and I love the way you did the bottom part in a different color. It’s going to be smashing. And love that blocking board. I need one too….I think I’ll put it on my Christmas list.

  11. OOH ! Blocking board ! You are so techno ! So nifty !
    I spent today blocking too ….. but on the floor, with a towel and my ancient old measuring tape …. I just don’t have the right technology :0(

  12. I would DEFINITELY send my pieces to you for blocking… have been knitting for four years and have never really successfully blocked anything yet. I sew up and then send them to the dry cleaners, where they get sorta-blocked. Seem to have a Block about it… (har)
    Why are you moving the third grade building??

  13. I’ve had a SpaceBoard for almost 2 years now and I love mine, too. Lately I’ve been thinking it might be time to get a second one, since I haven’t been able to get a whole sweater pinned down at once, and shawls and scarves still have to get pinned to a wall or a bed.
    Asta looks lovely all stretched out like that. She looks like she will be just perfect for fall.

  14. As ever, your mad and bad finishing skills rock the house. I bow to your blocking talents!

  15. Trope–I’m not saying that David’s school is fond of make-work projects, but there seems to be a ferocious need among some parents to Do Stuff At School. If moving the third grade building ten feet to the left will keep the parents busy, well then by golly we’re moving the third grade building ten feet to the left.

  16. Theresa: Stop. The. Insanity. TWO blocking boards?
    Ann: Bring along the SpaceBoard this weekend and we can block Olive! Yes Olive!
    Or would it be Bad Form to make you block a sweater I supposedly am knitting for you?
    Pray about that.
    It’s great to be back! I’ve been gone so long my own blog did not ‘remember personal info’ on me!!
    Love, Kay

  17. KAAAAAAAY! Welcome BAAAAAAAACK! Things were headed in a decidedly colorless direction without you. Psycho squares. We need psycho squares.
    Leave poor Theresa alone–finally I find somebody who’s in with me about the blocking, and you’re disCOURaging her? Go for it, Theresa! I want another blocking board, too.
    So thrilled at the prospect of Olive. [tearful sniff]