Photo Tutorial: Blocking Top-Down Crescent Shawls

Yesterday I told you all about my new pattern, Beddington. I thought today I would show you how I blocked the top-down shawl.
When my shawl came off the needles, it looked like this:
Not exactly pretty and not a shape that's easy to wear. Let's look at a close-up of where I started the shawl:
I want that cast on to be the top center of my shawl. But what I don't want is to have a weird point there. So, first I give my shawl a bath:

Then I gently squeeze out the excess water with an old towel. Make sure you use an old towel....sometimes if there is excess dye, a little bit can get on the towel. That's something you don't want on your fine guest towels! :)
Ok, so now the shawl is damp (not soaking wet) and I spread it out on my blocking mats (I got mine from Knit Picks). I don't recommend blocking on something you care about (family heirloom quilt, the carpet, etc.). The shawl probably won't bleed more dye, but if it does, you will be sad.
Since I want to get rid of that pointy part at the top center, I find the easiest thing to do is run a blocking wire or two through the yarnover holes along the edge. I got my blocking wires off Amazon a very long time ago. Lots of online yarn shops have them. Your LYS may carry them too! Once I have my wires in place along the edge. I place a few pins to keep it straight.
Ok, the top edge is almost done, now for the bottom edge, where the real magic happens. I like to decide which point of the lace pattern I'm going to accentuate, and I run a blocking wire through the lace at the same point of the lace repeat. Again, I pin in a few spots to hold the wire. You will probably need a couple of wires to do the edge (I used three for this particular shawl).
Then I fiddle a bit with the placement of the wires. I might stretch one side a little more or try to fan out the lace a bit at the bottom edge. Then I take the top edge and pull up a little to make it crescent-y. You'll notice below that when I do this I have one bottom edge points not held by a wire. I think it's easier to get it into shape when I do it this way. I pin that one point by itself on each side.
Depending on the shawl, I might get out a yard stick and measure to make sure everything matches up and is even. Most of the time I use the notches in the interlocking mats to gauge that it's even on both sides. Now I'm done. I impatiently wait for my new shawl to dry.
When it's dry the top is nice and straight and ready to wear. Hooray!

Harebell on Ravelry and Monarda from Sock-Yarn Shawls II are two of my favorite shawls that I've blocked in the same way! I love these top-down shawls and I love to make sure the top has a straight edge.

How do you like to block your top-down shawls? Do you use blocking wires or only pins? I'd love to hear about it!

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