Monday, April 11, 2005

Blocking vs. Blocking

Now for a brief side trip into etymology. I have been thinking about the word "block." As a noun, it's a square piece of wood, or a child's toy. Or a section of city between cross streets.

As a verb, I use it a lot in my work in the theatre. "Blocking" is basically stage movement -- where each actor travels in relation to the others on stage. I've no idea why it's called that; it's become such a natural part of my vocabulary that I never stopped to think about it. Now, however, another use of the verb has popped up, and I have damp, stretched-out pieces of Blue Cardy all over my living room as a result.

"Blocking" in knitting is where each stitch travels in relation to the others in the piece?

Not exactly, I suppose, but there's something similar there, and it's not the square shape of the stage or frequently square shape of a piece of knitting. It's the idea of balance -- by placing one actor stage right, standing, perhaps another two must be stage left, seated, in order to balance the stage picture. There are no rules to it; it must be seen and felt. The shape has to be right. That's the similarity, I suppose. I'm trying to balance the pieces of Blue Cardy so they will fit together properly and create something pleasing to the eye.

Other notes: I added about an inch to the top of each light blue side in order to "balance" with the dark blue. I'm afraid you can see the difference rather clearly between the older part that's been sitting around a while and the new part. I think I will also have to add about 2-4 inches to the cuffs of the sleeves, since CNITU has monkey arms and is already as tall as a 3-year-old.

And I'm very nearly finished with Bias Betty.


spinnity said...

I also am nearly finished with Bias Betty! I've got a ball the size of a ping pong ball left.

The difference between the older part & the newer part is a little bit of what blocking is about.. getting the stitches to soften into one uniform experience rather than having individual character. Some of the difference may "come out in the wash".. may change character as CNITU wears the sweater and has it washed.

With cotton pieces or any piece that has a pattern, I find giving the pieces a firm but gentle tug each direction to "seat" the stitches sometimes helps even things out. Then if length is needed, I pin right through my carpet to the carpet pad to hold the pieces in place. I have no idea how you are blocking on wood floors!

Christina said...

What an interesting lesson. I've never thought of blocking (in the knitting sense) that way, but that's a nice way to think of it. Best of luck blocking Blue Cardy and working with the "old" and "new" pieces.

~ Christina

Wiz Knitter said...

Not blocking on wood floors -- I've found the futon makes a nice giant pincushion, relatively flat.