Blocking a crescent shawl

The first time I had to block a crescent shawl I was unsure on how to do it and it didn’t turn out good.  I was baffled, because honestly, I’ve never had problems blocking anything before.
You see, triangles and squares/rectangles are easy since you have straight lines to guide you.  Circles are a little more complex, but still very logical, since all you have to do is pin opposite sides until you get a circular shape.

I think my biggest struggle was with the top edge, because I was never quite sure how to shape it for blocking.  Then, one day it hit me: I don’t have to pin the top edge!  Once I get the shape right (ish) the tension of the fabric does the job of shaping the top for me.

So without further ado, here’s how I block a crescent.  Mind you, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, but hopefully it will give you a good idea of how to do it.

Tru Wuv 1
sloppy shaping

I started by soaking the shawl in warm water with a bit of soap in it.  The longer you let it soak, the better.  This one was left over night.
After rinsing and squeezing the excess water out, I placed it on the mat and roughly shaped it as I wanted.

A few notes on taking the excess water out of your knitting: you can squeeze the fabric between your hands, then roll the knitting in a towel and step over it.  Or you can put it through the spin cycle of your washing machine.
If you choose the latter, make sure you have a spray bottle handy – sometimes the work dries out before you have the time to block it fully.
It’s also a good idea to double-check your washing machine setting, so that it doesn’t accidentally felts your work.

I like to start pinning from the bottom center and then the tips:

bottom center
Bottom center pinned


Tip pinned

I kept on placing pins in between the leaves because I wanted those to be the longer points.  When I had a shape I liked I stood up and checked for symmetry and/or anything that looked odd:

not there yet
not there yet

After I’d pinned down all the points I wanted I fixed the ones that were crooked/wonky looking so they would lay flat.
At this point the spray bottle came handy, since the shawl was starting to dry and I hadn’t achieved the right shape yet.  The pins on tips that weren’t right were pulled out, the tip re-shaped and pinned again.


Here’s the final result, after I was happy with how the shawl looked. I aimed for straight lines on both the leaves’ “spine” and the filler (branch?) between leaves. I think I got most fairly straight, right?

K approved
K approved

Here’s another photo san-cat. The cat, BTW is optional IF your cat doesn’t like to inspect your job. K demands to check everything we do because she know we’re only humans and will make mistakes.

All done
All done


As you can see there’s no need to pin the top edge, in fact when I place pins on the top edge I can’t get a nice shape on crescent shawl, YMMV.  I do – sometimes – place a pin or two on the top edge before starting to pin the points so I can better visualize how far on the mat the shawl will stretch.

Let your shawl sit on the blocking mat for as long as you can get away with – over night is good, unless you block on your bed.
The time that a knit item will keep its blocking depends on, among other things, the fiber content of the yarn you used and how you store it after it’s been blocked. If your shawl lost its blocking or you didn’t like how it turned out on the blocking board, all you have to do is soak the shawl and block again.

Tru Wuv is released!

Tru Wuv
Tru Wuv

Last year Mary announced in the group that she got engaged.  I offered to design her wedding shawl and immediately started to nag her about details : length, shape, elements etc..
Mary was very laid-back about the whole thing, and since I thought the wedding would happen in December this year, I let it go for a while.

Back in June she contacted me again to ask if the offer still stood.  Then she told me she was getting married at the end of August.
I hadn’t forgotten about the shawl, but in my head I had almost 5 months to deal with it, and now I was informed I had come up with an idea, knit it, write it and send it to her in time for it to be knit.  To say I freaked out is an understatement ;P.

I was so desperate that the first shawl I cheated and showed  her something I was working on already – not something made with the thought and care she deserves.  I wasn’t (and still am not) completely satisfied with that one and it shows.
Mary, being who she is, was kind enough to not refuse it all together, but that shawl wasn’t The One.

Back to the drawing board I went – very afraid there wouldn’t be enough time, and designed, charted and knit another one.  That one she liked, and so did I.  I wasn’t done yet, though.  I created another one because…I’m not sure.  I really like the second one, but I think the third one was desperately trying to get out of my head, so I did it.

Tru Wuv
Tru Wuv

The third one?  It’s Tru Wuv – in more senses than one.  I think I started it out of sheer stubbornness (and because Mary refused to be a bridezilla to the end) and because I was curious to see if it would work (most of my patterns start their life for this reason).
I knit it as fast as I could and until I had it all pinned out on the blocking board, I didn’t think it would look good.
Was I wrong.  The second I stepped back, after placing the last pin, I took a not-so-good photo of it and wrote Mary, claiming I had The One.

When we started talking about a shawl design, Mary told me she wanted to twirl around like a princess.  If you knit Tru Wuv, I hope you do it too.

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with the designing and publishing process as I have with this shawl.  I have no words to describe how wonderful and hard-working my test knitters are.  Their work is flawless in every way and they made it so easy for me to have this finally released.
Those women are talented, determined and so patient with my many flaws.  I’ll be forever grateful for everything they taught me and the hard work they put into this.

If you click on the link for the pattern you’ll be able to see Mary’s photos (and the love she and her husband share).  It was my way to show love to a friend and it was love that kept my testers going.  As you see, the name is very apt.

Knitting and purling my way

When the test knit for Tru Wuv started, I mentioned that I knit “different”.  One of the test knitters became curious, so I made another video showing how I knit and purl:

I’ve also made a few more showing how I do some common decreases, but I’m still working on editing those.  Hopefully I’ll be able to upload them this week and share them with you.

Fiber arts with a twist


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