Now, it's all become clear to me. Why were people been asking me repeatedly whether I had blocked the Hemlock Ring and if not, when was I going to do so? Even my sister was been contacted by an old friend with this question.
Tonight, after supper, I thought I'd just run upstairs and get it over with and then get on with knitting the blue Twilley's cardigan. Ha ha. Very funny.
I almost panicked after my first try. I just couldn't pull it out flat. I thought maybe I mis-knit it somehow. Wasn't there something about an error in row 33 or 35. Maybe the yarn I used at the edging wasn't as stretchy as the main yarn. But it was the same Berroco Ultra Alpaca, just not the same colour.... A very unpleasant sensation. Fortunately, we have Ravelry for that.
Really, I had no idea what blocking this baby would entail. I was perfectly innocent. I had not seen the reams of comments on this subject on Ravelry. I had not seen the blog postings by people who gave up and renamed it the Hemlock Ring Bowl. I finished the knitting several days ago and liked it so much I even used it as a throw, leaving it unblocked during the current cold snap.
Just put in a few key words and voila, instant help. The encouraging postings by Susan of the Rainey Sisters were especially helpful. She has knit 3 or 4 of these things and blocked them all exquisitely,
I followed Susans's advice and went back up to block my throw on the spare bed. As advised, I started by pinning down the star in the center and then established the ray segments equally, working outwards massaging the feather and fan sections to eliminate all the ruching and make the thing lie flat. It got trickier as I got to the outer edges. I would pin down one point, then another and another and then the pins would start popping out of the first point. I ripped off my sweater. Ran out of pins. Started strategically removing them from the inner sections. Around and around. Over and over. I had to squeeze up against the wall. Then I pulled the bed out into the middle of the room. I tried something with rope. Kicked off my slippers. Bit by bit, the thing started to look like it is supposed to look. It took about 2 hours and left me with a limp. Totally unlike the woman in the video from the Scottish Screen Archive.
Anyway, all's well that ends well. Here it is before and after...