Five Tips for Blocking Your Knitting

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.

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  1. says

    Another tip is rather than using a spray bottle you may want to completely submerge your project in a sink full of water with some wool wash (that doesn’t need to be washed out). You can find this at your LYS. Depending on the weight of the wool you will want to leave it soaking for up to an hour in the water. The fibre must be wet to the core. Once you take it out of the sink you do not want to wring it dry – rather roll it up in a towel to get the excess moisture out. Then lay flat with pins etc.
    Julia´s last blog post ..Conference Preparation

  2. says

    Great tips, thanks a bunch. The foam mats will definitely help me next time.

    I use eco-friendly fibers and wanted to add that natural fibers aren’t always the “right” way. Like meat animals, the animals we raise for fiber have a huge carbon footprint. So do most synthetic fibers, so neither is truly “right”. I like to use as many organic plant fibers and low-impact recycled fibers as possible.

    Keep on knitting! xoxox, Lorna


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