I finally sprung for a set of blocking wires, JoAnn’s having thoughtfully emailed me a 40% off coupon.  These are the best!  Apparently, you can get the same effect by using welding wire stock, but this set was inexpensive enough, came with a handful of T-pins, a ruler, and a handy storage tube, so it works for me.

To illustrate the true marvelousness of proper blocking, here’s a picture of my first lace project, a Branching Out scarf in a pleasant wool yarn — which means I forget what it was.

Boiled what?

I had washed it, squeezed it dry, then pinned it in sections to my ironing board and held the hot iron over it for bit, which is a simple and quick blocking technique that had been recommended to me when I was incredulous that one would possibly be willing to pin a whole scarf out on the carpet or some such place. 

But I’ve traveled a ways down the road of madness lace since then, and can totally see cordoning off a room to let a large pinned-out lace object dry in peace.  So when my blocking wires arrived, I knew what the perfect test case would be.

Wash, squeeze dry, as before. But this time, I threaded a wire along each edge of the scarf, overlapping  a couple of inches when I added a second wire on each long side.  Using the ruler, I made sure the edges were parallel as I placed T-pins every few inches to hold the wires in position.  No picture of scarf-submitting-to-discipline, unfortunately, but here’s the finished result, draped casually over the very chair I sit in to write this blog:

Ahhh . . .

 Much better, don’t you think?

 And it’s good to have these wires ready to spring into action, because I’m getting down to the last sections of the Blue Blob, which will certainly require a good job of blocking. Here it is very roughly pinned out so I could see how big it was getting and decide how many rows of Old Shale edging to put on (a lot):
Blue and not so blobby

A wire is visible along the right hand edge, and when the time comes I’ll thread it much more rigorously along the sides. But it’s coming along nicely, and is recognizably a Seascape Shawl. Whew!