Wet Blocking Tutorial

Blocking is an easy but important step to any hand knit item that will improve the look of even the most basic stitch. I think handmade items really deserve to be blocked.
Personally, I always wash hand knit/crocheted items when finished, especially when they're for someone else. Blocking only has a simple additional step to washing!

But what is blocking? 

Blocking an item is the process that allows you to set the form and finished size of your knitted or crocheted piece, by allowing your fabric to relax and straighten. It usually increases the size of your piece.

Certain techniques and stitch patterns really require blocking, as lace work for example. Some Tunisian stitches, like the Tunisian Simple Stitch or the Tunisian Knit Stitch tend to curl, and blocking the finished item will help you tame that curling.

There are different ways to block an item, and each technique has its pros and cons. Don’t hesitate to look around on the web and find your own preferred technique.

Some people decide to block their finished panels before sewing them together. In fact, doing this will allow you to flatten your pieces, causing the stitches to line up easily when you seam them together. Others prefer to block the finished garment. This depends on the project, instructions on the pattern, your preferences, etc..

The fiber content of the yarn will often determine how you block your finished pieces. For example, wet blocking is usually not very effective on acrylic yarns, which prefer steam blocking.

Wool on the other hand, greatly benefit from this technique. 

How to wet block a piece?

First, mix a little amount of gentle wool wash with warm water in a bucket, and gently soak your item in it. I personally use the Eucalan Fabric Wash, which doesn’t require any rinsing. Let your item soaking for 15-30 minutes, depending on the instructions on your wool wash.

Note: if your piece uses very different colors, white and dark green for example, wash it in cold water to minimize the risk of bleeding. I sometimes even block colors separately.

 

While your item is soaking, start setting up the surface that you will use for blocking. I am really a big fan of the Knitter’s Blocking Mat, its large tiles are so easy to put together to the size needed.

Once you’re done soaking your item, gently squeeze out the water, without wringing it, and lay it flat on a bath towel.

Lay it flat on a dry towel, and start rolling up to squeeze out as much water as possible. If you feel you didn’t get out enough, don’t hesitate to use a second towel and repeat the operation.

Position your damp piece, right-side up, on the your blocking surface and gently push the piece to your finished measurements.

Using a tape measure during this process is required to match the given measurements on the pattern.

Once you’re satisfied with the shape and measurements, pin down your item and leave it to dry completely. This is it! Easy, right?

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