Blocking is a wonderful knitting tool, that unfortunately most knitters don't know about or utilize. Blocking can take a piece of 'meh' lace knitting, and make it absolutely beautiful, and it can do the same for all other types of knitting too. It helps hide the look of loose stitches, fit a sweater more accurately, and overall just take your work to the next level. And I'm here to help!
First, you want to start with a sink full of water. The piece I'm blocking is 20% cashmere, and 80% wool, and I'm NOT trying to felt it, so my water was very cool, do not not not use hot water to block anything that's wool that you don't want to shrink to one third it's size, and felt right up, and if it's mohair, do not wring it out, roll it in a towel, and dance on top of it. (Unless it's treated, like Super Wash yarn, that won't felt.) I also add a tablespoon of liquid softener. Personally, I like to let it rest in it's bath for a few minutes, let it have time to unwind (not literally, of course). Then I wring it out, soak it again, and wring it out once more. (For those of you looking to felt a piece, I'll do one of those later.)
Once you have wrung it out well, it's time to do the actual blocking. Basically you're telling your knitting the shape you want it to have. I use push pins and corkboard, but you can use a lot of things. They have special "t" pins just for blocking, but those are really only helpful for lace weight yarn. You can use push pins and cardboard, a spare mattress, or even your carpet if you have nothing else.
And then... you let it dry. Shown above is a leaf pidge scarf, before blocking it was too short, and the holes and veins of the leaves weren't very noticeable, but once this baby is dry, it'll be perfect.
So, to all you knitters out there that finish a piece and it wasn't what you were expecting - give blocking a try! It might be the answer to those finished project dissatisfaction woes.
*// Edit //*:
And here you can see it finished, with buttons, the leaves are well defined, and - just as I wanted - there are gently peaks at the bottom of the scarf.
And here it is unbuttoned. :) I hope this tutorial helped.