Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grannies, and a little about blocking


The grannies continue to pile up.  There are 260 of them now, and I have begun to think in earnest about the joining round color.   I think there might be too many possibilities, actually.  I’m still considering white, cream, the very palest shell pink, and now navy blue (check out some inspiration here and here) and this morning as I sat in my mustard gold chair knitting away, I thought that might be nice, too—gold.  A little ironic, a little 1970’s, a little nod to nostalgia, but maybe fresh, too, if it’s the right shade and I pair it well with other border colors.  Hide the avocado green, just in case.   I’m having so much fun thinking about it, I have to admit.  I lie awake at night considering the different options.  I think that might be a little weird, but maybe it isn’t. 


I’ve had a few questions about blocking.  In a nutshell, blocking is the difference between this:


and this:


Much nicer!  To achieve this, all I do is soak them a few at a time in a sink of tepid water--tepid!  Not hot, or you’ll felt them, and your screams will resonate throughout the land.  Then gently squeeze out the water and roll them up in an old bath towel to remove as much moisture as possible.  Then just lay them out flat, nudge them into shape, and let them dry.   That’s it.  This is how I block sweaters, too, just a little water and a long, flat rest on the rug in front of the fire.  The dog, happily, knows to lie down somewhere else, which is really a tribute to how smart she is, bless her. 

To be filed under More Than You Wanted To Know, there is also steam blocking, which I use mostly for scarves and in garment pre-seaming.  To do this, simply heat up your steam iron, lay the scarf on the ironing board, and then blast it with the steam.  You don’t make contact with the fabric, you just let the steam whoosh out onto it.  It’s pretty easy to burn yourself doing this—that steam gets very hot—so watch your fingers.  The fibers just relax, go limp, and lie flat and supple and compliant.   Mmmm, nice.  

There’s also pin-blocking, which I only use for lace.  I will say this:  you can get away with shirking your blocking duties when making sweaters, socks, scarves, blankets, mittens, and almost anything else, but you absolutely must block your lace.  The before and after is incredibly significant.  Before=ramen noodles.  After=gossamer heirloom worthy of your children’s children.  After I blocked my first lace shawl, my daughter looked at it and said, “This is that blue thing you’ve been working on?  Really???” 

To pin-block, soak the finished object the same way as before, roll it in a towel to remove moisture, and then you stretch the heck out of it, pulling it as taut as it will go, and pin it along the edges.  You want it as tight as a drum, with pins at every point.  This is a little bit nerve-wracking the first time, because everything you know about lace is that it is fine and delicate and that care must be taken with it, and you happen to know you just spent forty-trillion years knitting this huge spiderweb out of what seems like thread—what’s with all the yanking????  Isn’t it going to tear?  Yikes!!!   I don’t want to give you a false sense of security, so I won’t say it can’t happen, but I have never damaged a finely knit laceweight object by blocking it, and I block it tightly enough to bounce quarters. 

Aaaaand, back to the grannies:


I’m hopeless at restraint.  I am making these squares ten or twenty or thirty at a time, now.  I’ve also abandoned the “no color scheme” thing.  Who am I kidding?  There’s a little bit of a scheme now (which is apparently a little bit reminiscent of the patchwork curtain there, as it happens, hmmm…) and yesterday I took all the warm reds and soggy lawn-colored greens out of the basket.  This thing has a mind of its own.  I’m making my peace with it.

I want to thank the lovely Laura for the sweet award.  Go over there right now and see what she’s making—there’s a crochet block I might have to start right now.  Beautiful! 

I’ve been very lazy about passing these awards along, I’m sorry about that.  I do appreciate them, very much.  It’s mostly that I don’t know how to do the fancy html code thing for the award button.  Excuses.  Anyway, apologies since there’s no button here for you, but I pass my awards on to the very wonderful Lynne at Pieceful, who’s beautiful blog is full of quilts, wee scrappy projects (is there anything I love more?) and lots of witty writing.  It’s one of my favorite daily reads.  Go see!


  1. well, there's always some kind of colour scheme in it. no matter what you do.. i tried to fool myself several times, but it didn't work out ;))

    They are pretty and i'm looking forward to see more :)

  2. I love grannies. I have a fair amount of them stacking up too. Love them all piled up there next to your pretty new curtain!

  3. I could just stare all day at that pile of grannies next to the curtain. The colors just grab me. Have fun choosing the last round, it could go in many directions, all your choices sound great! I'm liking the navy :) Thanks for passing on the award, friend. You made my day!

  4. Ooh I love your colour choices! Your grannies look wonderful stacked so neatly. You are not the only one who lies awake pondering about colour combinations :) Keep up the beautiful work!

  5. Oooohhh! Those grannies are so colorful and joyful! They certainly mirror the colors in that pretty curtain. You certainly know your colors! Best wishes, Tammy

  6. Hi Kristen,
    I just wanted to let you know that I passed on the Leibster Blog Award to you, please feel free to ignore or pass on the bloggy love!
    Sandra x

  7. Happy New Year Kristen. Lovely colours you have there. I have just jumped in with my Granny and am joining as I go. Need to do something about tidying though...

  8. Goodness me I am completely in love with your granny squares. The colours are soooooo intriguing, I love them but can't worl out what the secret is, they are such a mix! pastels and brights and neutrals with the odd dark one thrown in. Just beautiful. xxxxxxxx

  9. btw my gut feeling is that navy would kill the sweet colours. I'm thinking light cafe au lait? or maybe a sweet grey with a blue hint in it?

  10. What a beautiful post of granny loveliness! I can't wait to see how you are going to sew them together... and which edging you will use... this one is definitely going to be all over Pinterest! Btw, when I pin and block I just spray my things with cold water from an old spray bottle.. until they are damp all over, then just leave to dry... it works every time :0x

  11. I'm just finishing the last blocks from my first afghan, and boy, will I be blocking... Thanks for posting such lovely tips :-)

  12. Those are fantastic granny squares! Thank you for the tips about blocking...

  13. I'm blog hopping and just found you! These hexagon boots are to die for! Love, love, love them! I'm SOOOOO going to make some for myself! Beautiful work! Love your borders! Annette