I have finished Talia, but cannot show it off just yet. I thought it was blocked, but when I put it on this morning, I realized that it is not blocked enough. It grew very nicely length-wise and the lace opened beautifully. But the width. That's another story.
It goes around me, but with buttons actually buttoned, not so much. Sausage casing comes to mind. I could wear it open -- like Rhoda Morgenstern -- but this was not the look I was going for. It just dawned on me that maybe steam blocking might help with the width -- I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It also dawned on me that maybe there is something to that formula or theory that one should weight within ten pounds of one's high school graduation weight. I'm not keeping my fingers crossed for that one.
In the midst of this blocking problem, I also remembered that at Rochelle's shop, they had a finisher. You left the piece or pieces of knitting at the shop, and a week or two later you picked up the finished garment! It was sewn together, perfectly blocked, and fit like a dream! At least that's how I remember it. I never thought of the poor knitter, probably woefully underpaid and squinting under a bare bulb at her dining room table, all to do the grunt work on someone else's sweater.
The last time I asked a shop owner whether she had a finisher, she looked at me balefully and said, Well, I guess that would be me. Then there was an awkward pause. That was ten years ago. So, I've learned to sew and block, and even pick up stitches at the neckline, although it does scare me. I always imagine that having completed the bulk of the knitting, I will now somehow ruin the sweater with shoddy blocking and finishing.
Instead, I can show you two items that required zero blocking: a Tender Blankie for a friend's new baby, and a pair of red mittens for the big sister.