I have a confession to make. I don’t really do the blocking thing. Well, I do, but only when I need to. And by need, I mean, the lace won’t show unless I block it. Oh, I have the tools alright; I’ve got the blocking rods, and the blocking boards, and more T pins than a girl can shake a finished object at. I just think I don’t really have the wherewithal to do it. Or maybe it’s just patience. Whatever.

This time, however, I had no choice. I recently finished my Leggo my Ginkgo scarf and if I wanted the design to even vaguely resemble the ginkgo leaves in a squinty-eyes-tilt-your-head sorta way, I had to bite my lip and block. The pattern said something that I thought was really interesting—they mentioned that it should soak in water for 30 minutes, then squeeze out the excess. Now that’s the first time I’ve seen anything other than “get that finished object wet.” And you know what? It makes sense. With wools full of lanolin, these fibers do everything they can not to soak up the elements. So 30 minutes in the sink it was.

First thing I noticed: I didn’t have enough pins (I now have four times that amount of Tpins, so I’m feeling better about my next blocking adventure).

Second thing noticed: I got MUCH more design definition in the lace border with this method than when I used the blocking wires. It might be that I didn’t do those right—or it might be those wires are better for real, true lace weight projects, and not lacy patterns made from sock or DK weight. Why wouldn’t anybody tell a girl this kind of stuff up front? I mean, it’s like I actually have to have a clue, or something.

Third thing noticed: Blocking really does work wonders. It’s amazing a) the amount of detail it shows, and b) the amount a piece will actually stretch during blocking. I understand that there is a bit of shrink back once you take it off the blocking .. ummm, blocks… but holy cow, there’s a lot of stretch in that that knit piece! I’m finally convinced that blocking is a necessity. This blocking experiment has actually convinced me to reblock the two 198 yards of related hellishness that I did last year. (Okay okay, reblock one, actually block the other. Details, shmetails.)

Now, if only I can get assorted people roaming the house to keep their mitts off a block in progress, then I’m good.


Apparently when I ported my blog over from wordpress.com to the knitpistol site, I lost my Rhinebeck 2011 entry. This is an appalling discovery, as that entry, first written on October 19, was an ode to a beautiful weekend getaway with part knit pistols, part Canadian pistols, and all fun. I have exactly seventeen words from that entry:

October 19, 2011 by robin2go. This weekend was Rhinebeck (aka NYS Sheep & Wool festival). You know, mecca of all things yarnporn…

And that, as they say, is all Google cached. Dammit. But I’m stubborn, and I do believe I still have pictures, so let me try to recall the weekend—before it slips even farther from my grasp—and at the very least, repost some of the wonderful memories I have. Before the mind is gone completely.

Rhinebeck is a very full trip. The first time KnitPistols did Rhinebeck in 2009, we got up at o’dark hundred Saturday morning, drove five hours to the fairgrounds for Day 1, got overwhelmed, passed out in a middle-of-nowhere, kinda scary motel room with snoring and leaky air mattresses, went back for Day 2 and more determination, then a long five hour trip home. Like I said, a very full trip.

This year was a different trip altogether. My friend @EmilyKnits grew up in the Rhinebeck area, and knew of a lovely rustic house and barn that was still available for rent for the weekend. Audrey and I were in for the adventure, so late Friday afternoon with Canadians traveling southeast, and Pennsylvanians traveling northeast, we hit the road for Rhinebeck. We arrived at Kathleen’s barn in time to unpack, relax, welcome the Canadian contingent, have some dinner, and get ready for the festival.

Getting up after a night’s comfortable sleep and driving a mere ten miles to the fairgrounds makes an incredible difference in energy level and motivation. The day was beautiful and the festival did not disappoint. There were book signings by the Yarn Harlot and Ysolda, and stalls with patterns, samples, roving, and yarn. There were people who wore many beautiful things and were good spirited enough to allow pictures to be taken so that later queues could be updated and faves marked. There was amazing food to be sampled many, many times. And of course, there was a Ravelry meet up, complete with photo opportunities with @ysolda, @frecklegirl, @casey and the rest of the Ravelers young and old.

Back from the first day, our household spent the evening relaxing in front of a fire, showing off the day’s haul, updating Ravelry stashes, knitting on works in progress, listening to @EmilyKnits’ William Shatner album, and laughing. Lots of laughing. I learned I don’t hate gin, I only hate bad gin, and @CraftyGrrrl showed me that a Hendrick’s gin and tonic was is a beautiful thing to behold. I found a new Canadian knitting friend in @ZippyKittyToo and we’ve already talked about plans for next year. Somewhere in the middle, we rousted ourselves to walk up the street to dinner, and ended up in a local yarn shop buying more yarn (because what else would knitters be doing after a long day at a yarn festival?). Back to the house, and  more gin. And yarn. And laughter.

Day two: Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Laughter. Yarn. Gin. Friends. Sunshine. Relaxation. Yarn. Gin.

At the end of the weekend, reluctantly, we got on the road to head back to reality and Pennsylvania. The Canadians had one more day and took off Monday morning—and we enviously decided that would be us next year as well. For Rhinebeck has found a new place in my heart for laughter, for yarn, and camaraderie. For taking the time to slow down and enjoy the weekend, the surroundings, and the friends. For inner peace, inner light, and personal rejuvenation. Thank you @iAudrey, @EmilyKnits, @CraftyGrrrl, and @ZippyKittyToo for making this weekend something more than just about yarnporn. Thank you for making this about friendship and us. I’m ready for next year already.


Anyone who has spent any time knitting whatsoever knows the feeling of a project that has firmly kicked your ass. In fact, it might be the death of you but, more stubborn than smart, you trudge on, resolve and determination to finish alternately strengthening and deteriorating, depending on the day, the mood, the weather. Dryad is mine. Don’t get me wrong; I love this scarf. It’s a Jared Flood pattern, full of amazingly intertwined cables. While he’s done it in tweed (seriously, he’s not Brooklyn Tweed for nothing), I couldn’t afford this scarf in tweed—I swear to you, it’s six feet long. (Okay I looked it up, figuring I was being waaaaay too dramatic. And the long version? The one I’m aiming for? 90 inches long. Go again, do the math, I’ll wait here. AHA! That’s 7’5″—seven feet, five inches!!! A foot-and-a-half longer than my delusions have led me to believe!!!! So clearly, I’m not insane. This is one hella long scarf, people.)

Now while I love cables, this pattern is a 24 row repeat, and you have to do 21 of them. That’s not a small number. (Over 500 rows just for the basic cable repeats, in case you’re too overwhelmed with my brilliance to do the math.) So, like any decent knitter worth her stash, I seem to have several projects going at the same time—something lacy, something complex (this pattern), something mind numbingly easy to knit while traveling/tv watching/knit knighting. You know the drill. So I would work on this in spurts, but apparently I’m taking a bit long for my friend iAudrey who recently snarkily innocently commented, “Haven’t you been working on that scarf a couple years now? And you’re what, halfway? Only a couple more years to go!” (And by-the-way, Ms. Snarkypants, I just checked my Ravelry projects and this was started Oct 4, 2010, so it’s NOT two years old. Yet. SO THERE!) Granted, it doesn’t help that I drop it so I can do something else, but I do enjoy the pattern. In small doses. I’m also working this in Berocco’s Remix, which has a tweedy look but is all reused fibers, which is cool. However, the yarn has little give, acting much like cotton, and I find that wears on me after a time. I like knitting with give. Whatever.

Last week I went to Austin, and decided to take Dryad as my lone project. I was determined to make progress, but wanted to be realistic. So I took the project in hand, didn’t take more yarn and, again per iAudrey, I “stitched that bitch.” I stitched that bitch on the flights to Austin, I stitched that bitch in my friend’s car to and from the conference, I stitched that bitch during breaks in the conference, I stitched that bitch in airports waiting for a ride home. I stitched that bitch until I was all out of my second ball of yarn and, lo and behold, I am actually at the length (13 repeats) of the small version. BOOYAH!

I am calling that a win.

So I’ve joined the next ball of yarn and I’m in a good place. I’m still not done, but I can see that I will most likely take this all the way through to the end of this skein, no matter how many repeats I’ve gotten through (it should be about nineteen or so, since I seem to get about six repeats per skein). Maybe, by that time, I will want to go the extra mile (or two repeats, whichever is shorter; probably the mile). But I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay with letting it go, too. And then I can finally wear it. Or use it to save orphans who have fallen over a cliff.

Your mileage may vary. And the peanut gallery can just shut it, Ms. Snarkypants.

Jared Flood's Dryad scarf

Dryad scarf. In progress. Ad infinitum.