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How to Block in Knitting

Learn how to block in this knitting tutorial from Howcast.

Transcript

So I'm going to show you how to block your knitting. And I think blocking your knitting is essential for taking your piece from homemade to really looking hand made.

One of the wonderful qualities of wool is that when you put it in a tepid bath, not hot or cold, the fibers relax and become really pliable and let you even them out and shape them. So in this water bath I have a little bit of Eucolon. There's lot of different wonderful wool washes available. This just happens to be the one that I have with me today. I like it because it has lanolin in it and it adds a little bit of natural softness back to your wool.

So I've had my lace sample soaking in here and just to remind you that when you first knit lace, it tends to bunch up and you can't really see its openness. So I'm going to now pull the silk sample out and I'm going to gently, gently press the water out. We don't want to ring it or really scrub at it because then it may start to felt.

So I have here a thirsty towel that I tied many years ago, so I'm just going to press as much water out of it as I can. This really cuts down on drying time. You can see how sort of puny and crumpled up it is. But what I want to do is I want to block this piece to 4 1/2" tall and 6" wide. So I have here a few tools. I have these rust-free T-pins so called because they're shaped lie a T and I have my measuring tape.

So first I'm going to get the corner set. I want this to be about 6 inches wide. I'm going to pin here. I'm going to pin at 6 inches. And really it's wonderful. I couldn't have done this when the wool was dry but thanks to it having a nice, long soak I can and now I'm going to measure 4-1/2 inches tall. So now I blocked out the corners, 6 inches, 6 inches, 4-1/2, 4-1/2. And now what I'm going to do is I'm going to start trimming all of the edges on all of the sides up to where we want them to be. And this is where you get to decide if you want your piece to have straight edges, or if you want them to have little scallops or points. I'm going to try to get mine as straight as possible. I'm trying to make a rectangle and I'll just start in the center and work out picking this from there.

And really this wool will stretch pretty far and that's because it's wet. So now that we got it all pinned out to the dimensions that I want, I'm going to let it sit until it's completely dry. You want to make sure that it is in a well ventilated area or perhaps in sunlight. Definitely a place where a pet is not going to come lay down on it. You're going to wait until it feels bone dry all the way through. And then, once it's totally, totally dry and feels thoroughly dry. You can take all the pins out and the wool will have sort of frozen in its new form, wherever we stretched it to and will stay like that for quite a while, until it gets damp again or until you just worn it and worn it and worn it. And that is how to wet block.

So if you don't want to wet block your item, say it just kind of crumpled or you're still in the middle of working on it and you just want to see how the stitches are going to even out, I recommends steam blocking. It's really fast and it's really satisfying. So you can see how this mitten is kind of crumpled from being shoved away with all the winter wear. I'm going to lay it down. I'm going to take a wet towel, really wet. Put it on top and then take a hot iron and press it so that the steam from the wet towel is going into the piece. The towel will be really hot when you are finished.

So you can see the steam rising. Remove it and now, careful when you do this because it could be really hot, and now the fibers have relaxed enough to have taken most of the curl and the bend out. And this is the time when you can sort of give your fabric a little tug and now I have two lovely mittens, nice and smooth and evened out. And that's steam blocking.

A great way to wet block your items and then let them dry without having to pin them out is to buy a blocker for the thing that you're drying. For example, this sock blocker. When I put the sock on wet, it dries in this position and now when I take it off it's thoroughly dry, it stays in this position. So if you're making someone socks, this is a great way to have them look just as beautiful as you walk in to when you give them away. And my secret is that the top of sock blockers make really great mitten blockers too so you get two for one in this.

So now you know a few different methods on how to block your knitting. Either wet blocking, pinned up onto a specially made blocking boards or steam blocking with a wet towel on top. Or just letting your freshly laundered knitted objects dry on something that is the shape you want them to be. So I use the blocking board, I use rust proof T-pins. I used a special wool wash, an iron, a wet towel and a measuring tape.

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