Blocking wire tantrum

Where are my blocking wires?

I have finally finished my much frogged lilac lace shawl. It’s smaller than I hoped, perhaps more of a shawlette but that’s ok. I can live with that. What I can’t live without is the blocking wires I ordered on Etsy all of 8 days ago (March 13th) and still haven’t received. Grrr.

It’s not that I’m impatient much. Well ok, I am when it comes to crochet.

I’ve done all the  woooooork. I wanna see how it loooooks! [in best whiny toddler voice]

At present the whole thing is definitely a bit out of shape with certain areas having been pulled out during the making and others remaining tight and springy. Also I think that the yarn will soften considerably during the washing. Perhaps I should just wash it and stretch it out gently just to get an idea….

NO!

I’m going to leave it so it’ll be more of a surprise when it’s done.

The shawl is currently about 104cm across and 43cm from the centre to the edge in the middle. These should really have aratio of 2:1 so you can imagine how much it’s going to change when I get it blocked.

The wires  and pins are coming over from France and were dispatched on March 14th. According to Ro, who runs the shop, the post is a bit erratic and I should get in touch if I don’t have them by March 27th. They send by standard mail so I have no way of knowing how soon it should all be here.

Anyway I don’t blame them for trying to keep shipping costs low and that’s very welcome because the equivalent set on amazon was at least a fiver dearer. Still…

I want my blocking wires!

Throws self to ground. Drums heels. Gets up. Brushes fluff off jumper.

Goes off to do some proper work.

(With a promise that photos of the shawl both before and after blocking will follow once I get my parcel.)


Frugal crochet gadgets

Coffee jar + pencil = handy oojit

Coffee jar + pencil = handy oojit

I want to write about two home made gadgets created from what is essentially rubbish that have made my crocheting life much easier in the last few days.

The first is this cheap and cheerful oojit for keeping my thread from rolling around on the floor getting fluffy. It also helps me keep the tension of my thread steadier which we all know is a struggle.

Yarn spins freely

Yarn spins freely

I’m using this lovely wool thread from The Handweavers Studio* to make a lace shawl at the moment and I have 75g more of the same thread in a gorgeous femme fatale red which I intend to turn into another shawl afterwards. Having it pull smoothly off the reel is vital to my not losing count and effing up my lace.

The second gadget barely even deserves the name since all it is is a toilet roll tube with a couple of short slits cut in the top.

Toilet roll tube of wonder

Toilet roll tube of wonder

I learned how to do this on Ravelry and it has made yarn buying a much more pleasurable activity as I know that winding my beautiful purchases into neat centre pull balls is now possible and will not be utterly tedious.

Pretty yarn is pretty

Pretty yarn is pretty

First take your lovely new skein of yarn, untie the strings and put it around something that will keep it from getting tangled. The back of a chair or a family member’s hands are I believe traditional. I usually use my feet.

Now thread one end through the slit in the tube like so…

Securing the yarn

Securing the yarn

And wind it a few times round the middle of the roll like so…

After a few turns start winding on the diagonal always in the same direction, turning the roll so that each turn is further round than the next one.

Wind a few times

Wind a few times

Wind loosely so you don’t distress the yarn. It’s not the most fun thing use of your time but keep going. Perhaps put a film on or something.

Winding on the diagonal

Winding on the diagonal

Eventually you will have a nice ball wrapped around your tube.

Pull the tube out and you will have a nice centre pull ball ready to crochet from.

Nearly done winding

Nearly done winding

Finished ball

Ta daaaa!

If you have any great suggestions for frugal ways to make crocheting easier please tell us all in the comments!

*It’s one of their  wool worsteds.