Monday, December 10, 2007

Blocking Knits

This first entry is a tutorial for blocking a hand knit sweater. Many of my students are afraid to block. Hopefully this tutorial will help alleviate enough fear that they will try it out. The method shown here is wet blocking. It works well on wool and wool blends. Several of you will recognize Kendra’s top down, Fair Isle, baby sweater. The first and second pictures show the sweater before blocking. Notice how uneven the banding looks. Also notice the fabric and stitches appear irregular.

Pictures 3-5 show the blocking process. I completely soaked the piece in tepid to cool water. I want every fiber to absorb water so I allowed the sweater to soak for 10 minutes. The amount of soak time will vary depending on the yarn used and the item knitted. Water causes the fibers to relax and will allow the sweater to be reshaped. 


Pictures 6-7-- I removed the sweater from the water and gently squeezed some of the water out. I was careful not to wring the knitting.  I placed the sweater in a washing machine set to drain and spin. This cycle will allow the sweater to spin without the addition of water. The centrifugal force will bring the knitting to a dampened state. If you try this, be sure the setting you use doesn’t allow hot water to enter the machine. Be sure the machine does not agitate either. If you don’t want to centrifuge in a washing machine, you can place the sweater in a large fluffy towel. Roll it up jellyroll like and then squeeze the excess water into the towel
Pictures 8-9 show the sweater prepared for drying. I laid the piece flat and using my hands, I gently stroked the work to the finished dimensions, making sure the columns of stitches stayed straight. I used two pins to correct the anding.

Sometimes you can get someone to help you.


  1. Despite the great blocking lesson, I think you should block all of our projects for us!


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