I'm on Ravelry - in case you didn't know. Every time I see a post asking for instructions how to block out the knitting, I post the same tutorial.
Today, someone asked if I had this on line, so they could link to it - so here it is.
1. soak knitted shawl in cold water for 20-30 minutes. go raid your stash and plan your next project... you know you want to!
2. squeeze water out of soggy shawl - do not wring or twist, just squeeze and squeeze. change your mind on next project and look over at your stash.
3. lay big towel on the floor. chase away the cats. lay soggy shawl on towel, sort of spread out (no pulling). roll it up like a jellyroll.
4. step on one end of rolled up towel, and side step from one end to the other, so that you've stepped on all surfaces. now do it from the other end back to the beginning.
5. unroll towel, and take damp, soggy shawl out of it.
6. sling shawl over your shoulder, and go put away those piles of yarn on the spare bed (or whatever blocking surface you are using... i use the spare bed in my craft room, or my own bed (larger) if it's early in the day.
7. spread out damp shawl in the right shape. admire it. shoo the cats away. go find your pins (preferably rust free)
8. spread out one of the long ends (either the shoulder span on a triangle, or the long edge of rectangular). pin it out.
9. start pinning at the opposite end now - in a triangle, pull gently (or not so gently) on the bottom point until you like the size and how the lace looks, and pin it.
10. alternating sides, smooth out the shawl from center to edge, and pin the edges. if the edge has points, plan on using a pin for every point.
11. go take a break and go stash diving again.
12. in 1/2 hour or so, come back to the shawl, and start smoothing from the center - by now, you can probably remove the pins that are on the straight sides (no points), it'll pretty much keep it's shape and size. smooth from center to edges.
13. Check regularly (every hour or so) and admire. Do not dislocate shoulder by patting yourself on the back too vigorously.
14. go cast on some other project and come back in a couple of hours - it should be dry.
15. remove any remaining pins, grab your digital camera, and go outside (assuming it's daylight and not raining/snowing/sleeting) and take some artistic nature shots of shawl draped on fence, bush, or small child (as long as they're not eating something sticky)
ok, you're done.