I am very proud to say I have finally finished the lacey knit baby blanket I started in January… Sometimes, the length of how long you have been working on a particular project seems astonishing.
I used Andrea Tung’s baby blanket pattern for the pattern, and 4 skeins of Lion Brand microspun yarn in vanilla. A lot of people complain about this yarn splitting, and it totally does; but it didn’t bother me much. I used the microspun yarn primarily because it’s what I had lying about in the weight called for in the pattern, in a neutral color, that has a wonderful soft handfeel and is machine washable and dryable! However, this yarn is acrylic, and this pattern MUST be blocked in order for it to reach the correct dimensions (it went from about 15″ x 29″ to 29″ x 37″) and for the beautiful lace pattern to show.
Now, I’ve never blocked my knitting before. I’ve read that blocking acrylic can be difficult, and you must “kill” the fibers by applying heat to the the yarn while it is being blocked, but I also read that applying heat to acrylic yarn causes it to melt. Upon further reading, I discovered that you just need to apply heat, in the form of steam, indirectly to the blocked yarn. An iron set to steam held about 1-2″ above the yarn, maybe with a wet towel between the yarn and the iron should do the trick. I would have totally tried this, had my iron not gone caput on me 2 weeks ago… so, when I considered I don’t have a car to go replace my iron (I actually really just want it fixed. It is a nice orek iron that cost about $130! The part to fix it cost less than $2), I have the blanket all pinned out spanning my couch and a chair, and the baby is a day past her due date, I just want it done. I decide to improvise.
Enter the blowdryer. A blowdryer + wet towel should do the trick, right? Well, it didn’t seem to be doing enough. I eventually tossed the wet towel aside, spritzed the whole thing with water, and just held my blowdryer above it until the whole thing was dry. This was effective! I decided it was time to unpin it. It held it’s shape! I’m happy for it, but the edges turned out a little more wavy than I want, and I don’t think the stitches are as even as they could be. I think I’ll probably just go ahead and invest in a wire blocking kit, and redo it one day. For now I’m glad I have the experience of blocking in the more traditional way. Here is a recent tutorial about lace blocking!