13 April, 2020
Vintage Mandala Throw Part 3, Blocking
Okay, I got it done a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t sure if I wanted to show you the finished product. I like it, but my blocking wasn’t the best. I have never actually gone all out and blocked a completed project. They just never seemed to do any good anyway, so why do it?
I made an infinity scarf last year, and it curled up into a tube when completed. I tried blocking it like I was supposed to, and it just rolled right back up. As a result, I’ve never worn it. I made a second one with a larger hook, thinking it might be my crazy way of crocheting that makes for too much tension. But that didn’t work either.
I spent so much time on this project and wanted it to be perfect.
Proving to myself and everyone else that I was capable of making a piece that was categorized as “Experienced” was important. I’ve been crocheting for a few years and needed to know I was up to the task. But falling down at the end because of not being able to block it properly really felt like failure.
Blocking Techniques Explored
Stretching to correct size
In the directions for the throw, it calls for steaming the blanket to block it.
Pin throw to finished size. Steam with iron to block
Not knowing just what this was, I naturally thought of using my iron on the steam setting and steam ironing it out. But something in my little head said not to do this and went to the good ole internet. The articles I found said not to touch the iron to the yarn. That got me to thinking that an actual steamer would probably work better. A lot of things went through my head, but none that had anything to do with getting my afghan flat and looking perfect.
The other plan was to wash it in cold water on a delicate cycle. I then blocked it out with pins on a throw rug on the floor to dry. This looked like it would work; if I sprayed it with starch! NOT!
Seriously, starch was the only solution I could think of to keep this thing from curling up like a ruffle around the edges. That kind of kills the whole idea of curling up in a lovely soft, comfy blanky, am I right?
I still might go back to the steam method that the directions called for. To do this, I would need to pin it to size on the floor and then run the steam iron over it and let it dry, probably over-night.
Blocking is fundamental when it comes to afghans and throws that are made from squares such as the old standby, the granny square afghan. All the squares MUST be the same size before you connect them, or you are going to have a mess if you think about it. I came across some blocking stations and boards and looked like they would be a must on another project that I’m currently working on.
Having a wonderful dad that still works in his woodshop since retiring can be very advantageous. All I had to do was give him the dimensions I wanted, and he went out and made me a blocking board with eight dowels so I can block ’til the cows come home. Yes, I’m spoiled that way. It’s taking a while to dry, so I would recommend setting a fan on it so that the air is flowing through to hasten drying time.
The Big Reveal
Well, here it is! Yes, the border looks ruffly, but I guess I will just live with it. It’s growing on me. I do like how the center turned out. It has a “Vintage” look to it, and for not being the softest yarn, it’s surprisingly soft to the touch.
I thought when I got the pattern; I would want to make more of them in different colors. Right now, I believe that I will file this pattern away for another day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed making it, and for all the times I frogged, it worked up rather quickly.
One thing that you need to make sure you do with the project is count. Keep count of every single row and section. If you end up missing a section or accidentally skipping over a loop, it could goof things up quickly. As a result, you won’t have the uniform pattern you are looking for, or you will be frogging (rippit, rippit) back to fix it.
Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, please leave me a note in the comments.
Thanks and stay safe,
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