I have knitted a number of shawls that have been gifted within our family. Each time I give a shawl away I promise to wash and block it whenever that is needed. Why? Because I really like the shawls to be used, and most people does not dare (or can´t be trusted) to wash and block a lace shawl. This is the time of year when the owners look at their shawls and realise that the shawls do not look as fresh, sharp and in shape as they did in the autumn. So they send them to me.
This is Hyacinth (pattern by Evelyn C. Clark) getting a long soak. It really shows on a shawl how much (and how) it has been used during the winter. This one was dirty and out of shape.
After rinsing and a quick spin this is the result. Much cleaner but still not back to its old shape. Now is the time for a real stretching exercise.
This is when I consult my project book (you do keep one, don´t you?) to see the proper measurements for the shawl.
After been given a couple of days to dry (important if you want it to keep its shape), this is the result. So now it is ready for use and I send it back to its owner.
Some of my knitting friends think that I am crazy to do this. The truth is I appreciate to see the shawls again and it gives me joy knowing that they are used and treasured. I think it is really sad if I put time and effort into a shawl and it ends up not being used. I also get a lot of information regarding the yarn I have used and also about how a particular person uses a shawl. Valuable information that is of help to me the next time I choose yarn for a shawl, or knit for that person.