Watching Lace Grow: A Blocking Story

Aug 11, 2011

I felt a moment of panic last week as I slipped my petal pullover on for a first look. I had just finished the final shoulder seam, and I couldn't wait to get an idea of what the top would look like. I crochet the size 37 ½" size but modified the neckline to raise it about a half an inch, worked to the 34" length for my short torso and used a smaller hook size to create a 36" bust measurement. I should have known better; the lace top had yet to be blocked. But I tried it on anyway, looked in a mirror, and fought down panic before laughing at my "crop top." The hem reached no more than and inch and a half past my waist. I snapped an image so that we could look at the difference blocking lace can make.

I immersed the top in cold water then rolled it in a towel to remove the excess water. Using the schematic measurements plus my own gauge measurements for my modified bust size, I stretched the fabric to the correct width and height and pinned it in place. Remember that the schematic does not include the bottom, 3" trim. In order to ensure that the edges blocked evenly, I used a LOT of pins. After the pullover dried, I tried it on again and took a second photograph.

With the addition of the 3" bottom band, my petal pullover is exactly the length I was envisioning. Crochet lace will grow a great deal when blocked. The stitches will also "open up," emphasizing the negative space in the shells. I will sew in the sleeves and add the trim around the hem, neckline, and sleeves next week. And maybe next time I will finally remember not to trust lace measurements until after blocking.

Best wishes,

P.S. I would love to hear your blocking stories.


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