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.
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:
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:
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?
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.
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.