Jobo Designs

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13. August 2009 11:03
by Jobo

It's Been a Hard Day's Night-Songs.... and El-Cheapo Lace Blockers

13. August 2009 11:03 by Jobo | 0 Comments

I've been picking away at Nightsongs... basically a few rows at a time every few nights.  I'm trying to keep working on it regularly so I don't forget how the pattern works.  There is nothing more annoying than coming back to a project and having to re-learn all the stitches, and retrain your brain to read the charts all over again.  The rows are starting to feel really long now, though I am getting better at following what I am doing in them.  I started out using markers to try and keep the design separated out and clear, but I am finding now that I don't really need them, with the exception of the centre marker... it's nice to know where that double YO should be in the very centre, just to keep on track.

After doing some online research, I decided that instead of going out and purchasing a set of blocking wires, I would inquire at some local hardware stores and see if I could buy some stainless steel welding rods and use those instead.  Other folks on the net have found acceptable wires for really reasonable prices, so I figured this might also be the way to go for me as opposed to doing more mail order.  I was also afraid that the shipping on 3 foot long wires would be brutal.

So I called a local Metalworks company (which is conveniently located in the middle of my 1 hour daily commute)  to see if they had any products that might suit my needs... and sure enough they did!  I think the gentleman I exchanged emails with might think I'm a little quirky (I don't think he realized that you need wire to make lace knitting?) but was able to point me in the right direction.  The price was supposed to be 30 $ for a pound of wires - which are about 36 inches long, about 20 pieces per pound.  When I managed to drop into the store to pick them up, the site manager brought me to the warehouse section that housed all the wires, showed me the goods, and then proceeded to just GIVE me a handful of the wires.  Apparently if someone was working on a substantial job, they would need large quantities at a time of those wires, and would probably waste more than a handful (aka lost, bent, tossed)  so he would just give me a few for FREE.  I was more than happy to pay for them, but how generous of him to just donate a few for me to try.  I ended up with 12 wires (1/16 I think) which are just a little longer than 36 inches, completely smooth with no coatings.  Perfect for my purpose.

As a thank you to the generous guys over there... a shameless plug, and a tip of the Hat :)

** Kensington Metal Products Website! **

Wires in action!  Welders eat your hearts out!

Even just "dry" blocking on the bed, I am finding that the lace really opens up, and it is easy to see what the finished lace will look like.  Threading onto the wires was quite effortless, and pinning out the wires even less strenuous.  I think I used less than 2 dozen pins to hold down the wires, with just a gentle stretch to get a general idea of size and texture.  I am surprised, I still haven't finished using one ball of the Knitpicks shadow, and the shawl is already wider across than 34 inches... and almost as long down the spine as my supersingle spare bed is wide.  Most of the other shawls I have made were approximately the width of the bed (with about 3 inches to spare) so I think that just finishing up this one ball might make the shawl large enough.  I have two balls, but if I can get away with just using one, that's good too.   I will have to knit a few more patterns and then slide it back on the wires and see if it will be enough. 



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