The cowl is done.  Let me be more specific.  The first cowl is done.  A second version of it is currently on my needles and fighting me, but we’ll talk about that later.  But the first cowl is done, which means it needed to be blocked.

This is harder than you might think.  The most obvious approach would be to pin it out flat.  But that will give it a crease on each side where it’s folded (not a big deal for a sweater, but annoying in a cowl).  I considered stretching it over the dress form’s shoulders and pinning out the points, but that seemed inexact.  I considered making some sort of tube out of blocking mats, but that was both hard and inexact.  And neither method really took into account the taper of the piece (the bottom is one third wider than the top).

In the end, I did something decidedly odd, but quite effective.  It looked a little something like this.

blocking contraptionThat’s blocking wires run through the points on the top and bottom (mine are from Inspiknity and I love them).  They try to spring back out straight and the pressure from that pulls the knitting into a nice, even circle.  That held the top and the bottom out, but I still needed the stuff in the middle kept under a bit of tension, so I made some crossbeams out of my longest, smallest knitting needles and suspended the whole thing over a roll of paper towels.  The weight of the bottom provided the right tension for the middle.

blocking contraption closePhotogenic?  No, not even a little.  It looks like it might be auditioning for the title of Ugliest Lampshade Ever.  I even matched my binder clips to my yarn.  It didn’t help.  But it worked like a champ.

cowl 1Very tidy indeed!

cowl 3Now, to see if I can make the second version do something I like as much.