What a difference a bind off makes!

I made a simple lace shawl, and I bound off with what I thought was a stretchy bind off. Here’s how the shawl looked as it was blocking (the first time).

first try at blocking

It wasn’t as big as I had hoped and felt more like a kerchief. I could tell when I was laying it out, that the fabric had a LOT more give in it but the bind off was pulled as tightly as it could be. Worse yet, when I tried to wear it, the edge curled up horribly. I almost threw it away.

With some advice from some friends at my LYS (who are much better knitters than I am), I decided to rip it back and try the bind off again. Following their advice, I used a needle 4 sizes larger than the one I had knit the shawl with. I was out of the correct yarn, so I used a coordinating color. So that it wouldn’t look weird, I added 2 rows of garter stitch first. Then I bound off, again following the advice of my friends, with extra knit stitches between each bound off stitch – almost making little picot-like loops.

It was a lot of work, but what a difference! I gained over a foot in width and almost as much in length too. Here it is after I blocked it for the 2nd time. I took this picture after I had removed the pins. Even though it bounced back a little, you can still see how much bigger it is than the previous attempt.

After blocking (2nd time)

Notice how I had to stagger my mats to make it fit, and even then parts of it were hanging off onto the towels. It took every pin I own to get it all pinned down. More blocking mats and some blocking wires are definitely going on my wish list this year! The shawl is still smaller than I would like for me, but looks gorgeous on my mom (who was kind enough to model it for me).

Mom in her new shawl

It just goes to show, the bind off can really make or break a project!



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