How to Block Knitting
People often ask me how to make their finished knitting look neat and professional and I believe the answer is in blocking. Most knitting patterns say 'weave in the loose ends and block to measurements' but what is blocking and how do you block your knitting.
WHAT IS BLOCKING?
Blocking is the process of washing your knitting and pinning it out to the desired size. This sets the stitches in place and gives your knitting a smooth and professional finish. When your knitting is wet, the stitches become malleable so you can mould them as needed. This enables you to adjust any areas where you've ended up with a couple of stitches that are noticeably too tight or too loose. Blocking also helps to secure the ends that you've woven in. Finally, blocking your knitting gives the item its first wash, which I think is important especially if its a gift or for a new baby, since it's been handled continually whilst you made it.
HOW DO YOU BLOCK KNITTING
Your pattern will tell you when to block your knitting. If you knit your garment in the round, you'll be blocking a finished item. If you knit your garment flat on straight needles, block the separate pieces for a cardigan or jumper before seaming them together. For a hat or mittens, seam them up first and then block them.
Now you're ready to block your knitting, gather the items you need, including;
a bowl of lukewarm water
no rinse fabric wash (optional)
Fill your bowl with lukewarm water and add a few drops of fabric wash if you're using it (it does make your knitting smell divine). Pop your knitting into the bowl until it is completely soaked through. You don't need to leave it to soak for ages, you just need to get it all completely wet.
Next squeeze out as much water as you can without twisting or wringing your knitting, as this can damage the fibres.
Then lay your knitting flat onto one of your towels, roll it up and either press it with your hands or (as I prefer to do!) walk on it, drying it as much as possible.
Next lay your knitting flat onto your dry second towel. Use your measuring tape and arrange your knitting to the desired shape and measurements. For some projects you'll need to pin your knitting into place, but for my Roll Up Beanie it works fine to just place it without pinning it. This is also where you can even out any wonky stitches by teasing them out using a tapestry needle. This tutorial by Cheryl Brunette shows really clearly how to do this.
With rib stitches, be careful not to stretch them out too much or they can easily become misshapen.
Leave your knitting to air dry completely and that's it! Your knitting now has a professional finish and looks its best!
KNITTING PATTERN USED: Roll Up Beanie