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How to Block a Smoke Ring
My motto is keep it simple
by Jackie E-S
From Gill Alexander, owner of The Woolly Workshop in Northamptonshire, England:
I have a customer who has recently knitted one of your [lace] smoke rings and is wondering about which is the best way to go about blocking it. Do you have any tips I could pass on to her please?
My motto is keep it simple. Even though a smoke ring is a tubular item, the lace can be successfully blocked as two layers rather than complicating matters by trying to block in-the-round. There can be more elaborate ways and ones using fancy equipment, but the following works fine for all the smoke rings that I have made:
Thoroughly wet your smoke ring with an initial soaking in cool water and mild detergent for no less than 30 minutes. Rinse and gently squeeze out extra moisture. This wet-blocking method has the advantages of both relaxing the fibers to their fullest for an optimum blocking and to clean the article (you'd be surprised how much oils from handling etc. can be picked up along the way in your knitting, and you definitely don't want ugly age spots to show up later because of this).
Instead of blocking under tension with wires and/or pins. I just lay the tube flat on the drying surface and block with my fingers, opening up the lace nicely and gently pulling along the edges to accentuate the shape of the scallops or points that I design into my smoke rings.
Leave laying flat until thoroughly dry (usually minimum of 24 hours since fibers can feel dry long before they actually are dried throughout).
You might be left with a slight crease in the smoke ring where folded while drying, but this can later easily be steamed out under low heat (do not allow iron to touch fabric though – we are just talking about a little bit of moist steam applied along the crease if there is one).
Enjoy your smoke ring!
Interested in more smoke ring patterns from HeartStrings? Check them out here.
Do you have a Question about knitting technique or skill? Please email me and I will consider it for an upcoming Q&A.
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