When I came back to knitting I had never heard of blocking. It wasn’t something that I needed to do with that scarf or teddy bears jumper that I had knit when I was younger. It wasn’t until I knit my first shawl that I really noticed the finishing instructions which said to block my work. What an eye opener that was!
The first pattern that I used to reacquaint myself with my forgotten hobby was a mohair, lace, sleeveless cardigan type affair. (Not one to start small and build up to the complicated stuff!) After painstakingly working my way through the pattern, researching the things that I didn’t understand, learning the hard way about the benefits of a lifeline, and discovering how to sew a knitted garment together properly I was a little disappointed that my finished garment didn’t quite look the same as the one in the picture. But I hadn’t blocked it. So it was never going to.
To transform your newly completed knitted object in to the image that you have of what it should look like, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you block it. If you are unfamiliar with how to block something it is quite straight forward.
- Soak finished object in lukewarm water with a little wool wash being careful not to rub or agitate it to avoid felting (Wool wash, I use Soak, is not always absolutely necessary but it will make your knitting smell nice!)
- Let it soak for 20 minutes
- Take it out and gently squeeze out the water by hand
- Lie object flat on a towel. Roll the towel up in to a sausage shape and walk up and down it to squeeze out the last of the water (Don’t use your best white towels for this. Sometimes the dye can run!)
- Unroll the towel and place object on to a flat surface to dry (I use a bath towel on the spare bed)
- Use pins to stretch out the object to the dimensions given in the pattern. (You can buy fancy blocking mats, wires and pins but ordinary sewing pins do the job just as well, and you can always upgrade to the fancy accessories if you like later on.)
Lace will always benefit the most from blocking in this way. The transformation is nothing short of magical. It takes the magic of making something with sticks and string to a whole new level! Do you always block your finished objects? Let me know how you get on if you are trying it for the first time.
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