After watching all seven Harry Potter movies I am finally finished my latest knitting project (more on that later). Despite all the time and effort I spent on this project I was disappointed with the piece’s overall shape. The good news: the project is salvageable thanks to blocking.
What is blocking?
Blocking is a technique used to finish off knitting projects. This process ensures that your final project keeps the shape that it is intended to. To block a knitting project you wet the piece, set its shape with pins and allow the knitting to dry.
Why block your projects?
When you block a knitting project it looks more polished and professional. This technique also helps ensure that the edges of your knitting remain flat and do not curl. Best of all, blocking adjusts the shape of your project and evens out the look of your stitch.
Five Tips for Blocking
One: Use a Spray Bottle
Using a spray bottle helps control the amount of water you are using and ensures that your piece of knitting is evenly wet. Warning: You will use tons of water and your forearms may get sore from spraying. Hang in there… it is totally worth it!
Two: Get Your Hands on Some Foam Mats
You know those mats that toddlers crawl around on? I find that these make a perfect surface for blocking. the foam tiles are firm enough to shape your project and soft enough that you can jab pins directly into the surface. Best of all the square mats are modular and can be stored in a small space. Since the mats are modular they can be clipped together to fit any project big or small.
Three: Use Rustproof Pins
This may seem obvious, but can you imagine how angry you would be if the knitting project you spent 25+ hours on had rust stains? Use rustproof pins and avoid rage black-outs.
Four: Be Patient
At this point you are so close to finishing off your project but you must ensure it is 100% dry before you move it. So be patient and forget about it for the time being. Give your project a minimum of 24 hours before you remove the pins. Remember that even if your knitting feels dry to the touch, the fibres may still be wet and holding moisture. So be patient and wait it out… it is so worth the wait!
Five: Avoid Acrylic, Polyester and Other Synthetic Yarns
Some people say you can do it, some people say you can’t. For a long scientific explanation of why you can’t block synthetic yarns check out this blog post. On the flip side, to read about how you may be able to block synthetic fibres check this out. I dislike synthetic yarn and always opt for the softer, better quality natural fibres. If I am going to spend hours on a project, I am going to do it right.