Call me a blockhead…
The more complex you get in knitting, the more important blocking becomes. I’ve reached the point in my knitting career where I am not satisfied with unblocked finished products--especially when we’re talking about shawls. I’m aware of how blocking can dramatically improve the drape and lay of a shawl, and now that I have spiffy blocking wires, I don’t consider a piece finished unless it is blocked.
True to my convictions (and the designer’s instructions as well), this piece isn’t much before blocking. It doesn’t lay flat, and the nice arc we’ve all been waiting for is nowhere to be seen. There’s no panache, no wow factor.
Now look at it laid out on the blocking mat (in my case a very large bulletin board that used to hang in my kitchen). See how nicely the curves catch your eye? See how the holes open up and look lacey? Even the plain stockinette takes on a new texture.
I’ll admit, I’m known for skipping gauge swatches (mostly because what I prefer to knit rarely makes them essential), but I’ll NEVER skip blocking.