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How to Block your Knitted Projects?

Blocking knitted projects is an essential step in mindful knitting. Once a project is off the knitting needles, blocking works like waving a magic wand. The yarn blooms to incredible softness, stitches smooth out to a uniform look, and lace stitches transform into a delicate beauty. Blocking correctly and using the right tools assist you with the entire process. Previously we had discussed transforming your project with blocking tools, in this blog, we’ll guide you through the methods of blocking your yarn projects.

Mindful Knit Blockers

Types of Blocking 

There are 3 main types of blocking. Each method has its purpose. Choosing the most effective method for the project depends on the yarn.

Tools you’ll need:

  • A basin or sink
  • Towels
  • T-pins or blockers
  • A measuring tape
  • Blocking mats or a blocking board
  • Spray bottle

Wet Blocking

This method is recommended for wool and animal fibers in general.

Step 1:  Fill a clean sink or basin with water. Add gentle wool wash and distribute evenly. For water temperature and soaking time, follow the yarn label's recommendations. Generally, we recommend using tepid water (hot water may cause felting in wool!).

Step 2: Gently submerge your project and squeeze out air bubbles so that the piece is fully saturated. Allow the piece to rest in the bath for a few (5-10) minutes. Remove your project, making sure to support the weight evenly so that the fabric doesn’t stretch and distort under the extra water weight. 

Don’t be surprised if the water is a little dirty. Projects can pick up a bit of dirt and grime from the constant handling while in progress. If that’s the case, refill with water and rinse one more time. Very gently press out any excess water.

Step 3: Lay your project flat on a clean, dry towel and gather it up. Press gently and evenly on the rolled towel to remove additional moisture before unrolling and laying your garment flat to dry. Place it on another dry towel – somewhere where the air circulation is good.

Step 4:  When the piece is mostly dry, lay it on blocking mats. Gently adjust your garment until the piece matches the pattern’s finished measurements. Use T-pins, or knit blockers,  when necessary to maintain precise dimensions during the drying process. Please note: Take care to not distort any area – make sure it is gently and uniformly shaped.

Blocking mats for knitting

Spray Blocking

This method is recommended for delicate lace projects and cotton yarns. It is also ideal for gently refreshing garments between wearing. It allows you to block without the danger of stretching under the water weight. Spray blocking is also a much faster method if you’re dealing with a thin, single-layered piece such as lace shawls or light accessories.

Step 1: Place the project on the blocking mats and use a spray bottle filled with warm water, to lightly spray the entire garment. When the project is damp, gently shape it to match the finished dimensions.

Step 2: We recommend using lace-blocking wires for straight edges and perfect points on shawls, scarves, and blankets. Place blocking pins or blockers along the inside of each wire at periodic, even intervals while stretching your project to the desired dimensions. When your piece is fully dry, unpin and wear!

3. Steaming

Steaming is another way to block your knitting projects. This method is recommended for delicate lace projects and some varieties of yarn.

Step 1: Lay your project out on the blocking mat. If you’re using blocking wires, weave in the wires along the edges. For a stockinette piece, lay it face down on the blocking board; for a textured or cabled sweater, do the same.  Steaming enhances the beauty of cables and textures – especially when done on the “wrong” side.

Step 2: Pin and smooth all pieces. Hold a steam iron over the piece about 1/2 inch away from the surface. You want the steam to penetrate the piece without the weight of the iron pressing down on it. If your knitting is cotton, you can let the iron touch the fabric very lightly but keep it moving and don’t let the full weight of the iron lay on the surface. After steaming, let your knitted piece rest and dry for at least 30 minutes.

Knit (and crochet) blocking can be done anywhere there is a flat open surface. It’s ideal if there is good air circulation in the area. Blocking mats assist with the blocking process, but there are several other options that substitute for blocking mats:

  1. Yoga mats: Many yoga mats are made of waterproof material, making them a great solution for blocking at home. As the mats imitate foam, the project can be pinned easily to a yoga mat and left to dry. A word of caution though, pins will leave marks. Pinning is best done on a yoga mat that you no longer use for exercise.
  2. Towels & Bedsheets: Towels and sheets can also be used – if they are on a hard dry surface.   Sheets are often used for knitted blankets and shawls because they provide a bigger surface. . Bathmats are useful for smaller projects.
  3. Wood & Nails: Take a flat piece of wood, lay an absorbent towel on top and make sure it is secure and won’t shift around –use small nails to affix the towel to the board. You can keep and use this for a blocking board. Smaller pieces work well on this type of surface.
  4. Bowls: This can be ideal for hats and round objects. Remember: You are using a bowl primarily to keep the hat round and avoid creases. You do not want to stretch out your hat.   Make sure it’s not too large around.  Most adult hats expand to accommodate the average adult head that is approximately 20-22” around. . Therefore, you may wish to use a bowl no more than 10” in diameter as a blocking form. A smaller bowl can be used for children’s hats.

Blocking your knitted and crocheted items not only gets ‘wows’, but it can solve many woes, too. Stitches look more uniform, colors appear brighter and shapes are defined with good blocking.

Here we have addressed some basic blocking methods and questions. Please refer to the Mindful Collection Accessories to see our recommended blocking tools. The collection is designed on the theme of knitting & mindfulness, offering a complete range of stainless steel knitting needles and accessories.

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