The term blocking as it is used by knitters and crocheters means to shape a piece of handwork. I wet block items for my shop. That is, I hand-wash them in cool water using products designed for fine fibers: my two favorite products are Eucalan and Soak. I always use the unscented variety for things I sell, but if you are washing things for yourself, both products come in yummy fragrances.
Our dining room table is my blocking/drying space for finishing most knit and crocheted items.
For the Memory Keeper's Shawl I used sturdy blocking wires from Knit Picks which I inserted horizontally across the scarf along the nubby sections. The blocking wires aid in stretching the item into an even rectangular shape. For a scarf or shawl with an even edge I would also have added wires along the perimeter, but this piece did not call for it.
A lot of personal memories came up for me while working on this piece because it was started on the day my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's; however, it was not the intention to make a piece to contain my memories. The goal was to create a lovely item into which the wearer could weave her own memories and then carry them along into her own future. Perhaps a bride would wear this shawl and would always be reminded of that special day when wearing it again.
So the washing of this item was of special importance to me. Not only did I want to wash the item and block it into shape, I also wanted to wash away my own memories so that the shawl was ready to receive the new memories for which it was destined.
Throughout the process, it seemed ironic that the term blocking is also used to mean suppressing memories.
Here are some photos of the finished shawl which I will be putting in my Etsy shop this week.