Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Back Breaking Blocking

I had an extremely long, stressful day. the focus was presenting my preliminary thematic structure of my hope study to my research group for input and discussion. I wasn't happy with the themes and I got lots of feedback, but no clear answers. I think that's because there really aren't any clear answers. Hope is enigmatic so I guess it would be unrealistic to expect to come up with a nice neat package in the end. This is not nice for someone who likes nice neat packages!

So, to celebrate the exhaustion/frustration/panic what did I do? Of course, I washed, fluffed, and blocked the Hidcote shawl. It was a very yucky, mucky job washing all the machine oils out of the cashmere. It tooks 3 washes in very hot water plus 2 rinses until I felt confident I had all the grime out. Boy did the color brighten up after that!I started out the fluff process by tumble drying on the air setting for about 6-7 minutes. But the air only didn't bring out the bloom in the yarn adequately, so I followed that with 4-5 minutes on delicate. That worked.

It took 3 wires across the top and 2 on each side to accommodate the shawl. When everything was stretched and looking good my final dimensions proved to be spot on with the designer's at 44x90" Unblocked, the shawl was larger so I guess that's the difference a good fluff job can make on cashmere. I did have one catastrophe though when I didn't capture enough strands under the wires at one point on the shawl's side and the single strand snapped. Cashmere is more delicate than merino and will not take the same severe stretching. I protected the point with several other pins so it won't ravel and I'll mend it once the shawl is dry. It shouldn't be too big a deal so I'm not all that concerned.

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