You may think that choosing the right knitting yarns, and following the pattern until your knitting project is complete, are the only things that you need to do. But, how often does the garment you produce not look exactly like the one in the pattern? This is where blocking comes in.
Blocking a finished piece of knitting is a way of shaping the item you have produced, to the correct dimensions. It’s not necessary to block every item. For instance, a casual jumper that is meant to be worn around the home may not need to be blocked. But generally, blocking helps to give the finishing touch to a knitting project.
What Does Blocking Do?
A newly finished piece of knitting often contains lumps and bumps. It’s also not likely to measure exactly as it should. This may not always matter; but, if you want to give your knitting a better finished look, it’s a good idea to block it. Blocking helps to ease the item into the correct shape and size. It’s important to note that blocking should not be used to try and hide knitting errors. This does not work, and errors remain obvious.
How to Carry Out Blocking
The blocking process is easy to carry out. It does not take a lot of effort, and it’s well worth doing, to give your knitting a better look and a more professional finish. Here is what you need to do:
- Fill a bucket or sink with lukewarm water. Add some mild shampoo to the water, and place the piece of knitting into it. Move the knitted item around in the water and leave it for approximately five minutes.
- Remove the item from the bucket or sink, and replace the water with fresh cool water. Rinse the item, to remove the soap. Repeat this process until the water is free from suds.
- Lay the item on a clean and dry bath towel and roll the towel to squeeze the water out. You need to make sure that the item is no longer drenched. Use another towel if you need to.
- Use another towel to lay the item on. It’s at this point that you should gently flatten and stretch the wool, so that it attains the right shape and proportions.
- Leave the item to dry. You can use straight pins to ensure the item maintains its shape during drying, if necessary.
As you can see, blocking is not difficult to do, and the results are good. You get a piece of knitting that looks like the pattern suggests it should.
Not everything you knit will need to be blocked, but it’s a process which is worth considering for most items. You can also adjust any edges that begin to curl over time, by steam blocking. This involves the use of a steam iron. The knitted item should be laid flat, and the steam released, around half an inch away from the garment. This is a good way of keeping items in shape, following the initial blocking process.