Knit Blockers and Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

I finished the knitting on Usonian but before I get to the report on my new blocking tools let me show you what I cast on next. Dowland is a half-pi (semi-circle) lace shawl. I like this style shawl as they look so elegant and seem so fast to knit. This one is especially pretty I think. I am using my Classic Merino Bamboo again in the Atlantic color. I started it a few days ago and am already on the 5th chart.

Okay so on to the blocking of Usonian; I apologize that the pictures aren’t spectacular. The weather is just gray, gray, and more gray, not to mention rainy so much of the time that outdoor pictures just aren’t happening at the moment. At least it’s not snow, that’s that. ;-)

Fresh off the needles shot.

I attempted to block this on Tuesday, but very quickly realized that what one of my commenters said was correct, I hadn’t ordered enough of the mats or the Knit Blockers. Sigh. So I ordered more and they arrived Thursday evening. So on Friday morning I put the shawl back in water to soak and then spin out in the washer before trying again.

Even with two sets of Knit Blockers I ran a tiny bit short but managed to shift a few around and get the job done. I used 16 of the Blocking Mats of the 18 I have now. That seemed adequate but I could see a larger shawl possibly needing a few more than the 18. I may be ordering more of both in the future. I did really like using them and found them a bit easier and less fiddly than wires and pins. It may depend on the project though. We’ll see how the half – pi shape works. From previous experience with that shape you can only use the wires across the top straight edge and have to use pins only for the round side. It seems like it may be require similar application with these Knit Blockers. Threading the wires through the edges is always my least favorite aspect of blocking and using these as a substitute for that part was a positive experience. It certainly made the job quicker and less tedious.

I love how this shawl came out and can’t wait to show it off in the booth this year. It’s about 2 months until my first scheduled festival rolls around. This year my calendar begins March 15th with the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I have been a part of this show since it’s earliest years and I am very excited about the this year’s show. It is the 15th year and lots of special things are planned to celebrate. It is also returning to it’s roots a bit by moving to a hotel hosted location that is adjacent to but not in the downtown area. Class registration in a huge variety of fiber arts of all kinds are live on the website. I hope to see some of you there!

It’s almost time

I predict it won’t be too much longer before Usonian will be complete and I am actually looking forward to blocking for a change. Why you ask? I have been meaning to try out some new to me blocking tools. Maybe you have heard of them? They are called Knit Blockers. My friend Dee O’Keefe uses these and seems to like them a lot so I decided to order a set and give them a try. I ordered mine from Amazon along with a set of blocking mats. I have been using my bed to block on and that can be a bit limiting when it’s only empty for about a fourth of the day since my husband works second shift. ;-) Now I should have some flexibility and not have to wait until afternoon to block out a shawl. Blocking wires work fine and I will probably still find them useful, but I am looking forward to seeing if these work better for most things.

I have progressed on the shawl to chart 18 out of 20. Chart 18 is 40 rows in all and I am on row 14 so it’s one of the larger sections but it’s pretty fast and uncomplicated so I still hope to be ready to block it out within the next week or two.

Since it’s the start of the year there are lots of end of the year bookkeeping tasks breathing down my neck which cuts into knitting time I am afraid. Add to that, school time with my 8 year old and housekeeping, but I am a woman capable of powering through a to-do list. ;-) Never fear!