Maplewing came off the needles last night. I barely restrained myself from staying up late to block it then and there. (In case any of you are trying to figure out whence came this hitherto unimagined level of restraint, I will just say that whatever stomach bug the girls seem to have picked up, it is catching.)
This morning was a quiet morning. Younger Daughter was feeling well enough to go to school so Rick took her while Older Daughter and I stayed home. Older Daughter's fever broke last night, and she seems to be feeling much better this afternoon, so I have high hopes for a full recovery. After playing with my presentation for a little while (more on the realization I had regarding my personal research style and what needed to be done about it in another post), I could wait no longer. Maplewing was calling my name, and I had to answer. (Weak, I am weak in the face of lace. But we knew this.)
So I hauled out the new blocking mats that I have not had a chance to use since Rick gave them to me for my birthday. They're actually heavy-duty exercise mats, and can I tell you how very happy they made me during this entire blocking experience? Seriously, this is one worthy investment (and, given that they are the kind of thing you can pick up at Target, not a huge investment, either). Not only do they come apart for easy storage under the bed and lie flat wherever they are told to do so, they also take pins easily and hold them well, and make crawling around on the floor much nicer on the knees. It's the little things, I tell you.
After soaking, the yarn bloomed beautifully. I have adored this yarn throughout the process, but it's really come into its own here, soft and just the right amount of cushy, while still maintaining a lovely stitch definition. And the color! I know that cream seems like it could be boring, but this is cream the way cream should be, with darker and lighter bits, subtly blended throughout the whole; if I could whip it and put it on a pie, I would. It's Sweet Sheep laceweight in the Muse colorway. Gorgeous.
I used wires for the central column, as well as for the top edges, but then pinned each bottom point individually. I had enough t-pins, but only by the skin of my teeth; I think I need to have more for future projects. Running out would be terrible.
And then I stood back and admired. Wow. I don't know why, but the alchemical change from unblocked to blocked lace never ceases to amaze me. You start with a blob of wrinkled-up yarn, add some water and pins, and whammo! You get this.
Mmm... But I found as I was trying to take some close-up photos that the light in the study wasn't so good (it's been a grey day here). And that's when I discovered another wonderful thing about blocking on interlocking mats rather than on towels stretched over a bed. I could tip the whole thing onto its side and slide it down the hall to a place with better light. Dudes. Seriously. It doesn't get better than that.
I love the shoulder shaping. Gorgeous. And now a look up that lovely long center panel.
And a few close-ups, because we all know how much I love the holes in lacework.
Anne has outdone herself. This lace is intuitive and so much fun to knit, and the pattern looks gorgeous in every colorway I've seen it knitted up in. I can't believe I'm giving it away. Modelling pictures first, though, I promise. Just as soon as it's dry and off the wires.