Blocking a Ruffled Edge

Most Tuesday mornings my friend Val and I get together to crochet and visit. This last Tuesday we had a project to work on together. She wanted to block a shawl that has a deep softly ruffled border.

Eleonora Shawlette - Andee Graves/M2H Designs

Last summer Val had used my Eleonora Shawlette pattern to work up a shawl in some Silk/Rayon blend yarn she had in her stash. She has been working to decrease her stash a little and had been in search for a project for that yarn for ages. Once she finished the Eleonora we gently blocked it to open up the stitches a little, though not the aggressive blocking that I usually do.

Val liked the shawl, but she still had a lot of that yarn left over. She enjoys what we refer to as “seat of the pants” designing. The two of us have experimented with various crochet projects over the years and she doesn’t have any problem pulling out her work if she isn’t happy with it. She asked me if I could figure out a way to add to the shawl to use up more of the yarn she still had left-over.

In my original Eleonora the lace border fits with just a soft bit of ruffle.  I used 2 different yarns for the sample I crocheted. Berocco “Boboli” for the body and the little finer weight “Folio” for the border. This reduced the ruffle effect.

When Val crocheted her shawl with the same weight yarn for the body and the border, the ruffle was more pronounced. She liked the ruffle and for the additional rows she wanted even more ruffling.  She also liked the openness of the lace work and I kept that in mind as I was designing the new rows. I started sketching stitch diagram ideas for how to transition from the lace border to add length to the shawl and use up more of the yarn.

When she started working the new rows we kept experimenting with how much she could add to the shawl and still have enough yarn to complete it. She finally finished it in mid-May and told me she wanted to block it. We’ve both been a little busy with the start of summer-time, so this week was the first time we finally got a chance to block the shawl.

I brought my blocking mats and T-pins, Val dug up a couple of towels and her spray bottle to use. We got everything laid out on the floor and discussed what we wanted to do with the blocking. Val felt that she didn’t really need to block the mesh body since we had done that previously, she really wanted to open up the lace border more instead.

Because the ruffled border is actually much more fabric than the length of the last row of the mesh body, there is a curve to factor in when laying it out flat for blocking. I thought about it a moment and realized the border would curve in over itself if we opened out the shawl fully. Then I recalled that I had heard of folks folding their finished project in half to block it when they had limited room to block on.

Shawl folded in half pinning started.

I folded the shawl down the center point and spread it out. The lace curve would be completely manageable and the 2 halves of lace lined up beautifully. I began with pinning the base of the lace border and then gently stretching out the points. As you can see in the photo I started in the center of the lace so I could work out evenly from there. Val and I worked together pinning all the lace.

Shawl folded in half and pinned

Once the border was fully pinned it made a nearly complete circle. Then we sprayed it with water and patted it in to be sure both layers of the border were completely wetted.

Finished Shawl folded on table

Val took out the pins and laid out the finished shawl, still folded in half, on her table the next day.

Close up of blocked lace

You can see how much the lace opened up.

Finished Shawl

It looks even prettier when worn. I think Val is going to enjoy wearing this shawl for a long time. Now we just need to figure out what she can make with the one ball that is left-over.