Monday, June 8, 2009

Metamorphosis (a.k.a. Blocking the Princess, Part II)

Metamorphosis is a Greek word literally meaning "change of shape" or "transformation" (which is simply the Latin derivative for the identical concept).

Believe it or not, my Princess shawl is still evolving.

Every other piece of lace that I have ever tried to block was square: pull the edges out straight, watch the corners, and that's it. You're good as gold. The irregular shape of this object made for a very different proposition. I had my handy diagram, of course, but all the same, I couldn't be sure from the outset that I really knew what to expect. There were too many variables. I had to let the fabric tell me how *it* wanted to look.

I began by carefully running the blocking wires through all the edging points (179 of them), one by one, and only once I had all the wires in place did I deploy any pins or apply any real tension. It soon became clear that the bottom curve was going to be the trickiest part of the whole business, because of the way that the border, which started life as a rectangle, needs to negotiate its way around the pivot-point of the center triangle. So I started there and worked my way first out to either side and then up, saving the top edge for last.

In the end, a gentle curve naturally formed across the top, so I went with the flow. The curve actually runs all the way down the center triangle, with the parallel rows of the pattern marking a lovely arc, rather than a straight horizontal line. Here is a nice photo (click on the image to see a larger version that will display the curve to better advantage).

Although the effect may be slightly exaggerated in this next photo because of the angle at which it was taken, the bottom feather became undeniably somewhat foreshortened (i.e. stretched out more wide than tall) due to the complex tensions being placed on the areas surrounding it.

In a message addressed to me on the Heirloom Knitting Yahoo Group the day after I had posted a series of photos of my FO, Sharon Miller herself had this to say:

I think next time you block this you could try the effect of making the bottom less curved and then the bottom feathers would 'bloom' more - I'd have used straight rods for all but the bottom few points (say 12? along the bottom tip) of these two sides which I'd have fetched the glass-headed pins to do.


At that point I was still getting over the *first* time. But now, a month or so later, I'm beginning to think that Sharon was right, and that maybe I might be almost ready to give it another go in the not too distant future.

Live and learn, grow and evolve...

1 comment:

  1. it's truly beautiful!

    "next time..." imagine how many times that sharon miller has blocked shawls, trying out different techniques:) but I guess experience makes it easier:)

    but it's really an incredible amount of work that you have put into the princess! and well worth it!