If you’re a knitter, you’ve probably come across the term “blocking” at some point. Blocking is a finishing technique that is used to shape and smooth out your knitting. In this article, we’ll explain what blocking is, why you would use it, and how to do it.
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What is blocking and why is it important?
Blocking is a technique used by knitters to shape and finish their projects. It involves soaking the knitting in water, then pinning it out to the desired shape and size and letting it dry. Blocking is most commonly used on lace knitting, but can also be used on other projects such as sweaters, shawls, and scarves.
There are many reasons why blocking is important. It can help to even out the stitches, make the knitting look neater, and open up lace patterns. Blocking can also help to make your project the right size if it has stretched during knitting or if you want to adjust the shape.
If you’re new to blocking, don’t worry – it’s easy! Just make sure you have plenty of time set aside so that your project can dry completely before you move it.
The different types of blocking
Different types of blocking include wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking. Wet blocking is the most common type of blocking and is done by soaking the finished piece in water, then shaping it and letting it air dry. Steam blocking is done by holding the fabric over steam, which sets the stitches but doesn’t wet the yarn. Spray blocking is done by lightly misting the fabric with water and then shaping it.
The benefits of blocking
Blocking is the process of manipulating fabric after knitting or crocheting, to encourages it to lay in a specific shape or size. A variety of blocking methods can be used on almost any type of fiber, including but not limited to: wool, cotton, acrylic, cashmere, and linen. Blocking can be done either wet or dry. Wet blocking is best used on natural fibers like wool which can be stretched when damp and will hold their new shape once dry. Dry blocking is typically used on acrylic and other man-made fibers which do not respond well to water.
The best time to block your knitting
There are a few different factors to consider when deciding when to block your knitting. The most important factor is the type of yarn you are using. Wool yarns, for example, will benefit from blocking more than synthetic yarns. Other factors to consider include the type of fabric you are knitting and the overall look you want to achieve.
If you are using wool yarn, it is generally best to wait until after you have washed your finished project before blocking it. This will allow the wool to relax and become softer. You can either wash your project by hand or in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. If you are using a synthetic yarn, you can block your project before or after washing it.
When blocking knitwear, it is important to use blocking mats or pins so that your fabric retains its shape. Blocking mats are especially helpful for larger projects such as sweaters or afghans. You can find blocking mats and pins at most craft stores or online.
How to block your knitting
In knitting, blocking is a process of wetting or steam-pressing your finished project to even out the stitches and fibers, and to achieve the desired measurements. Blocking is especially important for lace knitting, as it can dramatically alter the appearance of the fabric. Even simple stockinette or garter stitch fabrics can benefit from blocking, as it can smooth out irregularities in the fabric and make it easier to achieve precise measurements.
There are two main methods of blocking: wet blocking and steam blocking. Wet blocking is generally best for woolen fabrics, as wool is known for its memory or “bounce-back” ability. This means that it will return to its original shape after being stretched out. Steam blocking is often best for synthetic fibers, as they do not have the same memory as wool and are less likely to return to their original shape after being stretched.
To block your knitting, you will need a few supplies:
-a clean towel
-ablocking board or mat
-a measuring tape
-rustproof safety pins (optional)
-Wool wash or mild soap (for wet blocking)
-A steam iron (for steam blocking)
Once you have gathered your supplies, you are ready to begin blocking your knitting!
The different ways to block your knitting
There are several different ways to block your knitting. You can use wet blocking, steam blocking, or spray blocking. You can also block with pins or wires. Wet blocking is the most common type of blocking. To wet block, simply soak your finished piece in a basin of cool water for 10-15 minutes. Then gently squeeze out excess water and lay the piece flat to dry. Steam blocking is similar to wet blocking, but you use a steam iron instead of soaking the piece in water. To steam block, hold the iron about 6 inches above the fabric and allow the steam to penetrate the fibers. Spray blocking is another option forblocking fabrics. To spray block, lightly mist your finished piece with water and then lay it flat to dry. You can also block with pins or wires. To do this, simply pin or wire the fabric into shape and then allow it to dry.
The pros and cons of blocking
There are a lot of knitters out there who don’t bother blocking their projects. I was one of them, for a long time. Why wash and shape your project when you can just start wearing it? But then I tried it, and I have to say that I’m now a convert. Blocking can make all the difference between a ho-hum project and a work of art.
Blocking relaxes the fibers in your fabric, making it softer and more pleasant to wear.
It evens out stitch definition, so your complex stitch patterns will look their best.
Lace knitting in particular really benefits from blocking – those delicate stitches will open up and reveal themselves beautifully after blocking.
If you’re working with different colors or textures in the same project, blocking can help those elements to blend more evenly together.
It takes time! There’s no getting around that. You have to wet your fabric, pin it out to dry, wait for it to dry completely…it can be a bit of a process.
You have to be careful not to overdo it – if you stretch your fabric too much during blocking, you risk permanently altering its shape. So take care not to pull too hard when pinning it out.
All that being said, I do think that the pros outweigh the cons when it comes toblocking . It’s definitely worth taking the time to do it if you want your projects to look their best.
When not to block your knitting
There are a few cases where you might not want to block your knitting. For example, if you are working with a very delicate yarn or with a lace pattern, you might not want to risk disturbing the delicate stitches. In these cases, it is best to simply wash your finished item gently by hand and lay it out to dry.
How to unblock your knitting
Whether your knitting is looking a little off, or you just completed a project and want to even out the stitches, blocking is an important step to getting tidy results. Blocking consists of wetting or steaming your finished knitting so that it dries in the desired shape. It’s often used on pieces with lace or other stitches that can look messy until they’re stretched out a bit.
There are two main ways to block knitting: wet blocking and steam blocking. Each has its own benefits, so it’s worth considering which will work best for your project.
Wet blocking is best for cotton and wool yarns, as well as for delicate items that can’t be ironed. To wet block, simply soak your finished piece in cool water for 10-15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess water (don’t wring it out), and then lay it flat on a towel to dry. Once it’s dry, you can shape it as desired and pin it in place until it dries completely.
Steam blocking is best for synthetic yarns and items that can be ironed. Begin by shaping your piece as desired and pinning it in place on an ironing board. Then, using an iron set to the “steam” setting (no water!), hold the iron about 6 inches above your knitting and allow the steam to lightly dampen the fabric. Be careful not to touch the iron to your knitting, as this can scorch or felt the fibers. Allow the piece to cool completely before removing the pins.
The importance of blocking
In knitting, blocking is a final process that readies your finished knitting project for wear or use. Blocking sets the stitches, evens out the fabric, and can add decorative elements such as shaping and lacework. It’s an important step, particularly if you’re making a gift or something you want to keep for a long time.