At left you can see a photo of a summer top that I'm in the midst of designing. The back is done. It is the one that is blocked and drying on the towel. The front is (obviously) the one that is in progress on the needles.
I don't quite know how it happened, but I had knit a gauge swatch with this yarn (King Tut mercerized cotton on US 7) and came up with 18 sts and 24 rows to 4" square in stockinette stitch (unblocked). However, in the course of knitting the simple lace pattern shown, I didn't get my gauge until I blocked it. Seriously.
I admit it: I am a fan of not blocking. I supposed that's why I mainly knit things like hats and socks that pretty much get blocked in the wearing, even if they're lace patterns. And I hate to have to find space to lay out the piece that's being blocked. Have you had much success in finding a place where neither the dog nor your spouse will disturb the item being blocked? I have found a rather unlikely place: the big sofa in my living room. OK, it probably helps that I've usually got it piled up with laundry that needs to be folded, but I think the main reason it works is because it is not facing the television. (Even the dog likes watching television!) Still, the cushions add a bit of roundness that I'm afraid will be much to my dismay at some point, and I dislike the idea of having a damp towel on the upholstery. Maybe I can figure out a way to rig the towel to rest above the sofa. (Yes, and maybe I'll win the Powerball Lottery, too!).
At any rate, the photo above is a perfect illustration of why blocking is necessary. I'm about halfway up the gold portion on the front. I'm looking forward to posting the photo of the finished product.