General Update

This has plenty of non-knitting related content, but I'll open with an actual knitting query...

I finished my afghan about a week ago, but the reason I haven't posted any pictures of it is due to the fact that I haven't been able to block it...well, that and the fact that my best buddy is still in possession of my camera, which he's been using for his college photography courses. The problem I'm having is HOW to block the afghan.

Most of our home has hardwood or tiles, and the few areas with carpeting (which I could pin the afghan to during blocking) aren't large enough to block a full afghan. I checked my LYS and some chain stores for ideas, but the best idea I could come up with were sheets of ugly green foam, but getting enough for the afghan would run me $20. And that's AFTER a 50% off sale. For some reason, I cannot justify spending $20 (+ tax) on sheets of green foam that may not even work that well for blocking purposes. I looked for foamboard or something cheaper and more firm, but none of the stores I went to had anything like that. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Another knitting-related note, I received my scarf exchange a while back but (as mentioned above) haven't had a camera handy to snap some photos. I tried on my cell phone, but the lighting was never even remotely good enough for a non-flash camera. I love the scarf and all the goodies included (local hand-made soap, a crochet hook, two skeins of the same yarn used to make the scarf, postcards, and an autographed book of "It Itches" by Franklin Habit). Loads of goodies, and I love them all!!!!

On to the non-knitting topics...

Last week was a rough week. After escaping the layoffs at my job, I - like everyone else I work with - have had to suffer the insanity that ensued. A couple of weeks before the layoffs were announced, the heads of our call center announced VTO (unpaid Voluntary Time Off) opportunities, and everyone was allowed up to two weeks between then and the beginning of May. Then they announced optional part-time scheduling, which many people took advantage of. At the time, we were slow, and their absence saved the company oodles of money and kept us from just sitting around for three minutes in between calls. After the layoffs, though, we're another 40+ people short, and our "dead" time of the year has become similar to our uber-busy Holiday rush with well over 150 people on hold and an average hold time running around 25 minutes ON OUR TRADITIONALLY SLOWEST DAY... All this coupled with being one of the two leaders of my team without getting the title or pay to go with it (which I've been asking for for over a year now), and you can imagine it's been stressful. Part of my leadership role has been to take over customer issues that had been handled by some of my laid off colleagues (many of whom were on my team). It's kind of like a form of torture.

Then Tuesday afternoon, I was leaving for the grocery store about an hour before I needed to leave for work when I noticed my car door was not entirely closed. They lock area was scratched severely, and when I opened the door, my glove box and center console were both open. Although the thief/thieves left my glove compartment's contents (thank God), they did snatch away all my pens, AAA card, and some other miscellaneous items from the center addition to my large book of TONS of CDs and a couple of random CDs laying around in the front seat. Inexplicably, they left my wildly expensive sunglasses which had been purchased for me by my partner when he was in Australia. They either did not notice or did not care about the huge stash of extra CDs in the back seat. I filed a report without expecting much. Two days later, I was checking the mail and swept the bottom of the box to make sure I didn't miss a postcard or something. A large portion of the contents from my center console found there way into the mailbox. My CDs are still MIA, though (no surprise). What compelled the thief to return items worthless to them (and generally unimportant to me) while hanging onto the valuables is beyond me. You'd think they would've just tossed the junk rather than sneak back to my house and risk exposure by coming all the way up to my front door and dropping the items in my box. The ordeal had me a bit angered and intimidated. Knowing how easily they picked the lock on my car without even tripping the theft alarm is not exactly encouraging.

I've enjoyed a bit of a break from knitting (blasphemy, I know). I've been drawing on a comic of my own creation, and although my brilliant artist friend claims they're great, I have my doubts and really wish he'd team up with me on it! But at least it's a nice escape.

Finally, my birthday is approaching! I will turn 29 on Thursday, and I vacillate between excitement and dread. I'm trying to stay smack-dab in the middle of the "excitement" side. My partner is throwing me a party, although my severe lack of friends makes for a small get together, with two of the five attendees (which include my partner and I) being friends of HIS that I've only met twice. LOL On THAT part, I keep vacillating between amusement and sadness. As before, I believe "amusement" would serve me better, but realizing that I only have one friend in this city aside from my partner is not something I'm too thrilled about. C'est la vie, though. I think it's better to have a really close friend than a handful of semi-quasi-friends? Quality, not quantity, right?

I will say's a good sign that the huge bottle of liquor I bought today was not to soothe my worries about my age or my lack of friends. LOL I've gotta have a nice "edge-killer" when I come home from work these days. Don't worry, though. I'll take it easy.


fuzzed's picture

*huge hugs*

It sucks that all that's been happening to you. But you still have your sense of humor, which is good. Hopefully things will turn around for you soon.

I do have one idea about blocking the afghan though. You say you don't have the floor space, but what about ceiling space? I don't know what your ceilings are finished with, but there is a whole lot of space and it's out of the way. So if there's some way you can use your ceiling then I would try that. Another idea would be for you to get some PVC pipe and elbows and make a large frame for it, then you could stretch it in the frame. Once it's on the frame, you could prop it against a wall or hang it from the ceiling. Then when it's dry, just take the frame apart and you can store it easily someplace out of the way.

Good Luck with everything!!

RickeScott's picture

I'll be having the same dilemma this summer when I attempt to block my afghans. My plan - use the mattress on the spare bed. First plastic sheeting, then a sheet. If need to shape/stretch, I'll pin right into the mattress. Of course the size of the mattress and the size of the afghan may be a problem. My mattress is a queen and all of my afghans will nicely fit. Good luck!

teejtc's picture

Wow. Sounds like it's been a long season for you, sorry to hear about that!

As for blocking, this may sound odd, but you might check with a local church. A lot of churches these days have gyms and many of them are carpeted.... Big space, very pin-able...

Just an idea.

Grace and Peace,

ronhuber's picture

I have successfully blocked blankets by hanging them over a dowel or pvc pipe supported by two pieces of furniture (chairs, tables, or whatever is high enough). Sometimes the side have to be pinned together.

mrossnyc's picture

Sounds like quite a week Joshua.
Enjoy your birthday and I hope things go better for you in the weeks to come including figuring out how to block your afghan (I don't have any suggestions besides what the other guys have posted).

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog About blocking the afghan , I say why bother blocking an afghan? The best I would do about blocking an afghan is maybe use some steam and shape areas that need shaping. In my opinion Afghans and throws do not need blocking unless they have a weird shape, even then I would block as needed. You can always wash it in cold water , get the excess water out, (there are many ways of getting rid of excess water) and lay it flat to dry on top of a plastic barrier inside or outside is up to you. Never block on a surface that is public without a barrier.

What I have done in the past is to wash the wool or material in hanks ahead of time and dry it, but that will not solve your shaping situation if that happens to be the problem in one area, steam as needed or use a spray bottle and stretch it to size, no guarantee is going to stay that way. Best of luck, and you can always send it to the cleaners, but I personally don't like that at all. I rather hand wash !

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Man, sorry to hear about all the hassles you've been going through. Happy Birthday from my part of the world. Hope it is a good one. "Fuzzed" has a great idea for blocking; such frames were traditionally used to block Shetland shawls. The lacing on part can be time consuming (in my experience) but blocking wires are supposed to be a big help. Although, Andy makes a good point about not bothering to block at all. Your call. Lots of luck and best regards. --- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.