Blocking is Important! Here’s Why

IMG_3222Blocking is something that folks either seem to love or hate. Personally, I’m on the blocking side of things – my knits don’t feel finished unless I’ve blocked them. I always block my swatches (even though swatches can be lying liarpants anyway) and I’m always pestering my knitting family and friends to be sure to block too!

It’s such an important thing. Why, you ask?

  • Evens out stitches
  • Yarn often will bloom and/or soften
  • Sets the shape and size of the item
  • Shows the true character of the fabric
    -may turn out drapey
    -may grow
    -may shrink
  • Can remove wrinkles

With some projects, like lace, blocking can be used to “stretch” the knit, open up the yarnovers and show the detail and with other projects, it’s used to set the shape, it’s great for all projects to even out the stitches and solves a host of other issues that may arise when knitting. With my Cascades, for example, I wanted the fabric to relax (like I knew it would because I blocked my swatch) and I wanted to make sure that it would fit in all the right places.IMG_3218

If you remember, I added some shaping to this sweater since my hips are a few inches larger than my bust. When I blocked it, I measured the hip and bust areas to be sure they’d fit my curves the way I wanted. Luckily, math and the Universe were on my side and it totally fits the way I hoped! (modelled photos coming later this week ;))IMG_3221

Which side of the blocking fence are you on? Do you do it eachandeverytimenomatterwhat? Or not at all? Or maybe just for certain projects?

Blocking

After teaching my latest class at Yarn & Coffee on the Sweet Summer Rays Shawl, my students asked how best to block the finished project.  The conversation ultimately led to the decision to host a blocking demonstration at the Yarn Store at Nob Hill this past Saturday.IMG_0707

I want to thank everyone who came out, I was expecting a small group – maybe just the students, even – but we had a great turnout and I’m so glad that so many knitters were able to come and ask their blocking questions!IMG_0693

Here you can see my basic blocking setup – my blocking mats (kids’ playmats), my safety pins, blocking wires (welding wires, really) and my spray bottle filled with water.  An un-blocked Sweet Summer Rays lays on top of my blocking one, so you can see how much this shawl can grow with some aggressive blocking!IMG_0698

I love using the wires to block my straight edges, they keep the edges super clean and neat while also allowing me to save time by not using a jillion pins instead.  These wires are also flexible enough that they’ll allow for blocking of curved edges too!IMG_0710

When I block things like this shawl, I pin first and spray with the water bottle second, then re-adjust the pins if necessary and play with the shaping until I’m perfectly happy with it.  Many knitters will soak the knit first and that’s just fine, it’s only my preference to pin first and water second.

What are your favorite blocking tools?