Blocking a Scarf

Today’s picture is of an unglamorous stop in finishing a handknit: blocking. It involves rinsing the garment lightly in water, squeezing out the excess, then pinning it in its final shape onto a blocking board (or a bedspread or a towel on the floor or whatever) so that it can dry that way. For a scarf or stole or even straight edges of a sweater, it’s wise to use blocking wires — thin, flexible wires that you weave through edge stitches so that a more even edge can be achieved with fewer pins.

This is half of a DNA Scarf that I started last May, I believe. It was over halfway done last June (a gift intended for a certain momentous episode) that I subsequently put away. It’s been sitting unblocked for several months inside a cabinet. I blocked it in two stages because my board isn’t long enough to pin the entire scarf without folding it over on itself. Not “good eats.”

As always, knitting offers metaphors into life. This project remained unfinished after I completed the fun part, the actual knitting. I’m not a fan of any finishing techniques, one reason I enjoy sweaters knit in the round. And blocking can be tedious. But the results, after the laborious process of rinsing, wringing, pinning, drying, and weaving in loose ends, are fabulous. An unblocked garment generally gives handknits a bad name. Every project needs nurturing through the gritty, final details. In the end you get what you put into it.

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