15 Jan

Enchanted Garden : Crochet Wet Blocking

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated you on my progress of the Enchanted Garden – the good news is I’ve finished the panel! /cheer

Now the panel is finished it’s time to attempt my first ever blocking. Blocking straightens out the project and allows the fibres to bloom. There are a couple of different methods I’ve read about, I have chosen to go with web blocking. Here’s a list of the supplies I used: –

  • Foam mat
  • Florist wire
  • Pins
  • Cloths
  • Wool wash
  • Tub of tepid water

I started by giving the block a soak in some tepid water – I added a tiny amount of wool wash, not enough to even suds it up. I very gently folded and squeezed the block letting the water penetrate all the fibres.

Once that was done I removed as much water as I could – I didn’t want to wring it and risk warping the shaps so I folded it and squeezed all over until no more water dripped out. On my foam mat I had one cloth already layed down and then placed the block on top, then placed another cloth on top of that – like a sandwich. I then rolled it up, snug as a bug in a rug!

Again, not wanting to wring it, I pressed down and rolled it back and forth until the water came through the cloths. I unrolled it and it was about as dry as it was going to get prior to blocking it out. I don’t have any proper blocking wires at the moment so I’ve used some thin florist wire. I soaked them in the water for a few minutes to soften the outer paper, then removed that. Ideally I would have used a thicker gauge, these were a little too thin and bent quite easily. None the less they did the trick, all be it a bit fiddly to begin with until I found my groove.

With each wire I threaded it in and out of the outer row of stiches along each side to frame the piece and make it nice and square. Then starting with the corners I placed a pin and gently teased it out. I didn’t want to distort it, but rather encourage it to be where I wanted it. Once all four corners were done I put a pin in the centre of each side and gradually worked my way around until all the kinks were gone from the edges.

Now to wait … I wonder how long it will take to dry? It was quite hot yesterday but fairly windy and starting to spit a little, we’re supposed to get a bit of a storm in the afternoon – not a good idea to put it outside, so inside it is. Fast forward 24 hours and it’s dry. After pulling all the pins and wires out I was quite surprised in that it didn’t spring back – a good sign that I had not stretched it out too far.

I think I can declare my first attempt at blocking a success! Very pleased with how it has turned out and I’m delighted with the colours. Here’s a before and after to show the difference blocking can make. The lighting is a bit different in each so apologies for the odd colouring.

Now to start planning the remainder of the afghan. I will be doing a combination of smaller squares and border rows. I will probably draw on some of the features of the ATB CAL and also Sophie’s Universe. I don’t want anything too busy as to not draw away from the beauty of the centre.

To finished off, to project it complete without QA performed by our resident foreman… Gordon. Should that be forecat? Gordon performed some stringent testing on the wires I used and has come to the conclusion they are too weak and thicker ones will be required for the next project!

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