Blocking did make a difference in the softness of the yarn (not unexpected, I suppose). I tried it on bare skin (my shoulders) last night just to see if it would be itchy or not. I still don't think I'd want this as a scarf around my neck, but as a shoulder covering, I think it will be just fine.
Both John and I love the finished product. It's amazing what you find out about your spouse when you make something like this. His comment included the statement, "I like things that are simple; this is a simple shawl. I like it."
For anyone who might be curious, the "shawl pin" on the shawl isn't a shawl pin of any kind. It's my wedding ring with a small bamboo skewer. I needed something to keep the shawl in place for it's photo shoot. It's all I could come up with as I don't have anything that would qualify as a shawl pin.
So, now that the shawl is finished, I need another simple project to work on when I don't want to concentrate on lace knitting (or have to think about what I'm doing). To that end, I picked up some more sock yarn and started a pair of socks for John. I'll post pictures of that tomorrow. For now, it's time for me to start getting ready for work. Till tomorrow...