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What percentage can you expect lace to increase in size after blocked?
I'm knitting a lace stole using Zephyr silk/wool and 3 mm needles. My question is how much can I expect the stole to increase in size when I block it? I would like the stole to be no longer than about 65 inches. I need to know when to end. Is it a general rule of thumb that a piece of lace will typically increase in size by 25% after blocking?
How much does lace increase in size when blocked? It depends ... Comparing the after to the before measurements of your blocked swatch will give you the percentage increase to factor for your completed project in both width and length.
That 25% is a very rough guesstimate because there are too many variables in density of lace stitches, required amount of tension to get the openness and drape you desire, degree of elasticity in the type of fiber(s) and the twist of the yarn, etc.
The 25% figure is probably good enough as a rough planning tool for a project whose size doesn't really matter much. For a project where you want more exact results, you can still use the 25% as a rough guesstimate for initial planning. But be sure to then do a test gauge swatch, recording the width and length measurements of the swatch BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER blocked as intended for the finished item. Comparing the after to the before measurements will give you the percentage increase to factor for your completed project in both width and length.
It sounds like you had not done a test gauge before and after blocking, but you could do that now and know for sure. If you really, really just can't bring yourself to do a separate nice-sized test swatch, then perhaps my article on Blocking in Progress will help.
Do you have a Question about knitting technique or skill? Please email me and I will consider it for an upcoming Q&A.
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