Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Like a Diamond in the Rough

Make that a zircon. A small one.

Here's a scan of the Orenberg Barbie shawl, awaiting blocking. The poor thing. It looks very bedraggled and depressed. It would not get a date for the prom. It would not be America's Next Top Model. It would not be featured in a series of Gap ads, although it does sing better than Kelly Clarkson. (Who doesn't?)

No, this piece of lace knitting would retreat to a lonely mountaintop and wallow in its pitiful sorrows.



So, time to block it. I've decided I definitely want to do this all the Orenberg way, and use the technique in Gossamer Webs that makes use of a nylon cord and a handful of pins in lieu of no cord and 10,000 pins.

Galina Khemeleva demonstrated this method in her class at Stitches Midwest, so I've seen it done in person (unlike any other sort of blocking). She made it look easy, but she is the Orenberg Lace Ambassador to the World.

But what the heck. As I once said to that one guy who asked me to perform that particular act with that unusual object, why let a total lack of experience get in the way?

I plan to photograph every step for posterity, for better or worse. The final photo may be of a pretty little piece of lace, or it may be of me tossing the thing into Lake Michigan. We shall see.

31 comments:

Jon said...

Why do you need to see blocking done in person?

Is your person going back to Stitches Midwest?

Franklin said...

For the same reason it's nice to have someone show you a knitting technique in person instead of learning it from illustrations in a book, silly. I'm pretty good at visualization, but a live demonstration is still a welcome thing.

Carol said...

I wanna hear more about that, er, unusual object. Did you photograph using it as well?

msubulldog said...

Oooooh. . . so exciting--can't wait to see the results! I'm sure Barbie will love it.

Ann said...

Baited breath, here, Franklin...

Aidan said...

Block faster.

Sneaksleep said...

All this lace blocking talk is making me afraid to even finish knitting the stole I'm working on...

Marilyn said...

I've always wanted to try the nylon cord technique. However, you will want to block out the center square first. That works best with wires, I think. Once you have the center square trued, it's a piece of cake to block out the rest.

Like Joe with his quilt basting--you should start in the center and work your way out.

Judith in Ottawa said...

Actually, Marilyn, you can usually get away with just the nylon cords. On a small object like the Barbie it might not be so neat, but on a large shawl, I just run the fishing line through all the little outer points on the nice damp, clean lace object, pin down the two ends of each line (one line per side), then work at spreading the lines a littler bit further apart as I pat the lace into shape between them.

Come ona my house, Franklin, I'll give lessons.

Andy said...

OK...just to clarify, it will be the blocking you document in photographs, NOT "...that particular act with that unusual object?!" Just checking. And was that a Kelly Clarkson jab?...(I can't hear you, speak louder..."Since U Been Gone" is blasting in the background!

Anonymous said...

I think you disparage your little Barbie shawl - it may not look like much, but it represents the learning process, which is very important. For one thing, it's inspired me to get out my Orenburg book and give it good perusal. Recently I taught a lace class - I took all of my beautiful shawls and everyone oohed and aahed and said how discouraged they were that they could ever produce something of such beauty. Then I showed them my learning swatch. They were greatly encouraged!
Dorothy
http://www.missouristar.typepad.com

Yvonne said...

Franklin,
It looks lovely. I cannot wait to see it blocked. I have lace envy. [And I'm really tired of hearing Kelly Clarkson breathing during her "music" (loose terminology). I plainly remember my chorus teacher telling us we should not breathe in, especially loudly at an obvious place in the song.]

Cynthia said...

Forget about Barbie--Ken is on the way back, save it for him. He would appreciate it (and that unusual object) far more than that b*tch ever would...

Franklin said...

Okay, yeah, to clarify, the pics will be of the blocking. Not of the other thing.

Sorry, Mom.

Kathy Merrick said...

But I just hate it when clever people bring up a tantalizing hinted-at subject and then say, "oh, never mind..."
Buggery.
Please tell...at least what the object was.

Stephanie said...

That's one nice washcloth.

Franklin said...

Kathy, why are you so interested in seeing me juggling Dixie cups?

Or did you think I meant something else?

Carol said...

Hey, pervy Franklin, are you so obsessed with deranged things to do with dixie cups that you overlooked a compliment from The Harlot?

What about framing that there piece of lace and hanging it up? You know, a nice little mat, some backing that will show all yer little holes, the real deal. Too Victorian? If you don't want to put it up in your place, I'll gladly take it off your hands and hang it in mine.

Nerdy Knitter said...

I can't wait to see the blocked diamond! The suspense is almost killing me...when, oh, when, will we see it? :-)

Blocking is like magic--I'm sure your diamond will definitely take shape.

Kathy said...

Franklin

Let me know what beach you are throwing it from; I'll be there an hour ahead of time to be the FIRST to snatch and grab that lovely lace. How about I bring some coffee and muffins from 3 Tarts and meet at the Gilson beach?

Jay said...

Go Franklin! While may look like an arse in a net curtain at the moment, I am sure under your tender ministrations it will blossom into an heirloom before long!
And I'm with Carol - you can't toss something like than into conversation and then casually stroll away, leaving us gobsmacked!

Judith in Ottawa said...

JUGGLING DIXIE CUPS? Darling, I thought you were GAY???

Well, then, do come and visit. Either.

marie in florida said...

don't forget to tell us what size your zircon actually is...so pretty, it does deserve a frame instead of a dunk in lake michigan. can't ya just imagine a line of hopefuls trying to catch it before it hits the water, like perpetual bridesmaids at a wedding? i sometimes block the far end of the lace i've got on the needles because i'm in such a hurry to see it blossom and it's fun to show peoples the before and after.

Lee Ann said...

You want I should send you some nice French soap, sweetiepea? :-)

Mel said...

What Stephanie said, though I believe everything I've ever read says that lace looks like "dog sick" until blocked. Of course, if it doesn't turn out, it looks like it would do quite well nicely folded in the bathroom for guests - or maybe as an antimacassar for the toilet tank. ;-)

Sean said...

LOL, I'm reading the comments and wondering whether people want to see more of the unusual act or the blogging! LOL!

Nice work!

Carol said...

Oh, you know Franklin: he loves to be begged...

Sherry W said...

Man, I'm so sorry to have to tell you, but blocking stinks. I'd knit more lace if the blocking faeries would come and pin it out for me.

I've always used the cord and line method. It does reduce the urge to stab myself with pins.

It's worth it int he end though, it will be like magic.

dragon knitter said...

you know, there's a reason why rabbitch calls unblocked lace a bucket of boiled ass. . .

un sex shop said...

Little doubt, the dude is completely fair.

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