I have to confess, there is a small piece of knitting that I would rather do without. I will spend months hand spinning yarn, choosing the perfect pattern and slaving over the insanely detailed instructions to produce an heirloom quality piece of work. I’ll go through great pains to learn new techniques and stitches and use every bit of focus I’ve got to make sure the finished product comes out well. Once the piece comes near completion, I cast off with great joy, knowing that I have “finished” something of significance that will likely be passed down for generations.
And then I’ll let the unblocked mess sit in my closet for months.
I hate to block my knitting. I’m not sure what it is exactly. Perhaps it’s a deep seated fear that once I block it, all of my excuses are gone. Blocked lace shows every flaw, from missed or poorly executed stitches to uneven gauge. Then there’s all those scallops.
I can’t tell you how much work goes in to making sure each and every scallop is exactly equidistant from the center point and each scallop next to it. I’ve bent many a pin in frustration as I tried to get a point to just the right place. It is completely and totally maddening.
Even before those scallops, though, there’s the painful process of finding the right size to make the piece. Of course, patterns flippantly give exact measurements, as if that is any help. I’ve measured out lace to the pattern dimensions to find that is still looks like a floppy dog. I’ve also tried stretching the lace to meet the “suggested” size and watched the yarn begin to look as stressed out as I am.
Of course, I put myself through this process on a fairly regular basis. I wish I could say I allowed myself to live in blissful ignorance while the knitting was going on, but I don’t. The entire time I’m watching my project emerge, I hold a small secret dread that I will eventually have to block the damn thing.
Ultimately, it’s guilt that gets me to block my projects. I know there’s a thing of beauty sitting in a wadded up ball in my closet just waiting to be let free. Perhaps I sympathize with it a bit; I was that wadded up ball in my adolescence too. Finally, the mood strikes and I find it in myself (and my schedule) to spend the time blocking out my lace.
I am rarely dissatisfied with the results. The moment when blocking is completed is one of the best in knitting. It is the consummation of months of effort when I can finally see exactly what I’ve created. I hate the work, but the results are so fantastic. I guess I’ll just keep knitting.