Wednesday, 15 September 2010
The last week I have spent blocking, or researching blocking, or getting together blocking materials. Never having blocked any of the knitted garments I've attempted over the years probably explains the lack of similarity between my finished products and the pictures on the pattern covers! But these lacy nothings were so important, it had to be done right. My first attempt could so nearly have been a disaster; I forgot PR's table centre was shaped, and so pinned it round on the lacemaking pillow. Thankfully it was easy to tweak gently into shape at the end, although perhaps not so well as if I'd gone for the Big Solution earlier. Thankfully DT's doily was supposed to be round, and just fit the pillow.
Then came the square one. I picked brains, looked at countless sites that recommended sticking pins into mattresses or carpets (neither of which would go down a treat with Great Chief White Hair), but finally came up with two sites that had wonderful recommendations. One gave Lego-clear instructions for creating a frame, which could be taken apart with wing-nuts for storage, and which will definitely be a possibility if I *ever* get round to attempting that gorgeous peacock shawl I spent years tracking down the pattern for. But one I mentioned to OH and he immediately gave the thumbs up as both practical and suitable for our domestic arrangements - blocks of loft insulation. This can be taped together for added width, or added to if necessary for huge projects. At £5 per block, it can also be fairly reasonably replaced when no longer able to support the tension needed. To prevent any unwanted water absorption, I lined both pillow and foam with old cotton tea towels. I'll keep an eye out for a lightweight alternative that will be big enough to avoid a join.
The pics above are of the equipment cobbled together for these early attempts. The lacemaking pillow was picked up as part of a tatting set from my local charity shop bought for almost £none, at a time a few years back when I was hunting for new challenges. Needless to say I've never even tried tatting, and intend to put the bobbins on Ebay; but the pillow more than paid for itself this week.
The pins, well I've been a bit naughty with those. I *think* the small box of glass headed pins are stainless steel, as they were bought from a craft shop; but the larger box are almost certainly not; the wheel came in a cheap sewing kit so almost certainly are not; and as for the notice board pins... the only thing I got right for sure were the almost-hat-pins. This is something I intend to rectify for next time - rust would NOT look good on knitted lace. The largest pins are sitting in a soap-dish affair I was most disappointed with - it's magnetised so the pins don't fall off, but although it looks deep (and it is) all that base is full of magnet, with only a tiny shallow indent for the pins themselves. Of course you only discover this when you take it out the blister pack...
Soluble starch was hard to find, that is, until after I'd found it online! Only then did I discover that Lakeland sell it; but I now have enough for the foreseeable future. It's too old-fashioned for supermarket shelves, and decent haberdasheries have gone to that eternal shelf-lined cupboard in the sky. But find some I did, and found it very easy to get on with. All three table centres have been soaked in a starch solution to give the crochet points a bit of solidarity, and again as a first attempt I'm pleased with the outcome.
So now I just have to find a more suitable home for the insulation blocks and the pillow. This I sincerely hope is just the start of my lace adventures - I love it. Fingers crossed that my new den (aka the box room) is ready by Christmas :o) DS will be handing out the goodies on a trip to the old school next week, apart from VH's which will be hand-delivered to her door. Of course there are others that I wished I'd created something for, one in particular I think of as a friend rather than school staff; but then hey, who needs an excuse to create something else that looks kind of beautiful?