The yarn is 1/14 spiral slub. It's 51% wool, 20% polyester, 20% nylon. Lace knitters might make the following assumptions:
- Slub yarn? Forget it. The lace pattern won't show up well.
- Wool with polyester and nylon? Forget it. It won't block well.
- It's thread! Forget it. Too fine.
The pattern is repetitive until you get to the border, which requires a bit of concentration to get it right. I added several repeats to get the size I wanted, since the thread was so fine, even though I was knitting with size US3 needles. I ended up with nine pairs of leaves per side, plus four center leaves. Big, open, superfine laciness.
I only had two cones of Habu, at 435 yards each. From the notes on Ravelry and the pattern, I gathered that I would need about half of my total yardage for the border. As the shawl gets bigger, I believe the ratio of border to shawl is reduced. I needed approximately half of my second cone for the border leaves.
Initially, I planned to use some light violet silk for the border. The silk is lovely, but it's much better suited to smaller needles and a denser fabric. It was purchased from John Marshall at Stitches West this year.
Instead, I stayed with the Habu and beaded the border! The tiny 11/0 seed beads are slightly iridescent and accent the purplish binding thread that runs through the shawl. The tough part of the beading process was the size of the beads and the slubbiness of the yarn. I used a size 12 steel crochet hook to add the tiny glass beads as I knit, and often I had a bit of trouble pulling those slubs through.
So, here are the blocking photos. I basically blocked it as I wanted it to look, rather than by any book or rule. However, I did use common sense and experience as guides.
|Haruni unblocked and unwashed|
First I soaked the shawl in a cool water bath for about five minutes. I added a drop of dishwashing liquid to the water and swirled it around, without too much agitation. I did squeeze the soapy water through it a couple of times. Then I rinsed with water of the same temperature.
|Haruni in a cool water bath with a drop of dishwashing liquid|
|Haruni rolled in a towel|
|Gently squeezing Haruni to remove excess water|
|Bottom center point pinned out|
|Top center area on a blocking rod|
|Pinning out every other pair of leaves|
|All the leaves pulled out and pinned|
|Pinning out all the loops|
|What happens when you push a pin too hard|
|Wing extensions to be blocked last|
|Spritzing the pinned shawl with a little water|
|Lovely dark chocolate from the only chocolate factory in San Francisco|
|Pet the puppy|
To finish, I used no pins. I lightly sprayed one half of the shawl with Niagara spray starch. Then I laid a white pillowcase on top of the shawl and used a medium iron (wool setting is okay) and gently ironed on top of the pillow case. It's important to keep checking the piece underneath to make sure it's laying properly and to make sure your yarn doesn't melt! Remember, I was using a yarn with polyester and nylon components, so anything was possible. Also, if using beads, make sure that the beads are somewhat heat resistant. I've used Japanese glass beads before, and they hold up well under this type of blocking and a light iron. If possible, it's best to test a swatch first (I was impatient, but it would have been the smart thing to do). Some beads can melt or change color. You just have to be careful.
|Haruni ready for a light starch|
|Pinning out the wings|
|Wings pinned with adjacent points repinned|
|Final result on a black background|