Blocking a shawl

I finally finished my Irtfa’a shawl a couple of days ago.   Once I set my mind to it, I was able to complete the border in a few days.  I did have to read the directions for almost every row, it never became intuitive.  When I see it finished, it was definately needed, both for length and pattern.  Here it is pre-blocking:

In the past, I have blocked sweaters and shawls on an empty bed.  Not the most ideal, as it is hard to reach over, the bed “gives” when you are trying to stretch out, and right now there are no empty beds in our household.  I had looked at the blocking boards in knitting catalogues, but they are not big enough for a shawl.  This shawl was about 72″ blocked at the top, not unusual for a Faroese shawl.  So, I decided to go to the toy store, and purchase the closed cell foam play mats that are 24″ square each, and hook together like large puzzle pieces.  I debated for a bit on whether to buy one or 2 packets, there were 4 squares per package.  I made the right choice in purchasing 2, as it took 6 squares to lay out this shawl.  Since these fit together in pieces, they are very flexible for different size projects.  They also store away nicely, right now beneath the couch in the basement.

Next come the blocking wires, mainly used for shawls.  There are 3 thicknesses of wires, and 2 lengths.  They are flexible, to allow for the curves sometimes needed in a shawl such as this one.   When not in use, they are stored in a long thin cardboard tube with caps that they arrived in.

Then it was threading the wires through the outside of the shawl and along the center back panel.

And then, lots and lots of pinning, including each of the 114 points along the bottom edge.  The pins go into the foam board, and hold the wires in the gentle curves needed and stretch out the shawl to block it properly and show off the beautiful pattern.

Finally, at least a full day of drying.  I wanted to speed this up, so put on the dehumidifier and fan.    Results tomorrow.