Art and versatility make a stunning pair when it comes to knitting crescent shawls, but – as you know – their full potential isn’t realized until they’re off the blocking mat. With the right tools and a little strategic pinning, you’ll soon have a gorgeous crescent to accent your wardrobe.
- Blocking pins, and/or shawl blocking wires
- Fiber Wash
- Rubber mats
- Towel (one that you don’t mind getting stained with dye transfer, should it happen)
Blocking a Crescent Shawl
- Weave in your ends, leaving a little tail (rather than trimming your ends right to the quick against the fabric of your shawl). This will allow for a bit movement as the blocking process evolves. You can trim any extra strays after blocking.
- Fill a basin with lukewarm (not cold, not hot) water and a splash of fiber wash. Fiber wash helps to soften and relax your handknits, as well as to remove excess oils, dust and any other particles that may have come in contact with the yarn along the way. (If you’ve ever had a snack while knitting, you know what I mean.)
- Place your shawl in the basin of water and make sure it’s completely submerged below the water. Use your hands to press the shawl under the water so it becomes completely saturated. Let it sit in the water for about 20-30 minutes (or longer).
- When the shawl is finished soaking, gently press out excess water and roll the shawl in a towel and press your towel/shawl “burrito” a few times to extract extra water.
- Organize your rubber mats along a flat surface in a shape that will fit your shawl (ideally in a warm area, but away from direct sunlight).
- Unroll the towel and set it aside. Lay the shawl out on your blocking mats and identify the TOP of the crescent. The top of a crescent is generally the point at which you started – even though it may not look like the top (it may, in fact, resemble a soft point that seems like it should be the bottom of a triangle). The trick with crescent shawls is that their shape requires a bit of fussing on the blocking mats. Find the top middle of the shawl and pin it flat along the top edge, centered on your mats. Then draw out the entire top edge from there, a little at a time, until you have a nice straight line along the top of your shawl. (If you have blocking wires, you can slide a wire through the top edge stitches and pin against the wire for added support.
- Next, return to the center of your shawl and draw the body of the shawl downward so that it is pulled taut, and pin it to the mats, taking care to follow any curves or points in the lace pattern so they are enhanced. Draw out the remaining body shape slowly, working from the center outward to the sides, and pulling the fabric downward gently to create a taut, flat shawl. You’ll notice that the pattern (especially lace) opens and expands as you pin it.
- Continue the process, spacing your pins evenly, and stepping back to check your work periodically. Do your best to ensure that the body of your shawl is even on both sides and adjust pins, as needed, to improve or correct the shape.
- Leave your pinned shawl in a warm spot (away from direct sunlight) and let it dry. Most shawls will dry in about 24 hours.
- Gently unpin your shawl – voila, a crescent!
Sun-dappled days and cool evening breezes are the perfect backdrop for this lightweight crescent shawl. The watercolor-inspired waves open into shells and scallops in a delightful dance of texture and color. Originally released as my 2022 Spring String Mystery Knitalong, Aquarelle is an entertaining project that you’ll enjoy from start to finish.