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Better Blocking

Aug 26, 2013

Blocking is an essential part of the knitting process. It makes a huge difference in how your finished product looks, especially in lace knitting.

There are several ways to block a piece of knitted fabric. You can use steam, a spray bottle, or the wet blocking technique.

Regardless of the method you use, you must have a few tools at your disposal to do the job correctly. Gather some blocking wires and/or your rust-proof pins (you'll need more that you think!); a spongy surface such as a blocking board, a stack of towels, ironing board, a bed, or a carpeted floor; a tape measure; the schematics for you project; and your steamer, spray bottle, or bucket of water.

Here's a photo tutorial showing the process of wet blocking.

    
Step 1: Gather your blocking tools. See the blue lump in the bottom right-hand corner? That's on its way to becoming a fabulous lace shawl! (Photograph © Tanis Gray) Step 2: Immerse your knitted garment in water and wool wash (Soak is used in this example). Let the piece completely absorb the water; you should hear bubbly sounds as the water permeates the knitwear. You can push it to the bottom and gently swish it around to help this process along, but don't agitate it at all, especially if it has wool content, or it may felt a little. (Photograph © Tanis Gray)
Step 3: Roll the wet garment in clean towels until it's just damp. (Photograph © Tanis Gray) Step 4: Lay the piece on your blocking surface. Check your schematic for the finished measurements and pin the piece to those measurements. For knit lace, you'll want to stretch the garment out to show its eyelet and points to the best advantage, as Tanis did for her Trousseau Shawl. Voila! A beautiful lace shawl comes to life! (Photograph © Tanis Gray)

Pretty amazing, right?

For more about blocking, and there is A LOT more to learn, get yourself the new Interweave Knits Workshop, Blocking Knits with Anne Hanson. My friend and I just watched it and we were riveted! We couldn't believe how much there was to learn about blocking, and how interesting it was! You'll learn a lot, too, so check it out.

And if you're interested in lace shawl patterns, check out our beautiful selection!

Cheers,

P.S. How do you feel about blocking? Leave a comment and let us know!


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Comments

on Mar 10, 2014 6:26 PM

I used to fear blocking, but I actually enjoy it now that I know how to do it.  Pulling the piece in the desired shape and placing the pins is somehow satisfying.  I watching it drying if it is a lovely shawl like this one, lol.  

magj wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 5:26 PM

I follow you suggestions but, I put the garment in a towel and put in the washing machine on SPIN CYCLE ONLY and let it spin then take it  and block on my design covered with batting. and by morning it is ready to wear. Try it one time

and you will be amazed. mg

magj wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 5:26 PM

I follow you suggestions but, I put the garment in a towel and put in the washing machine on SPIN CYCLE ONLY and let it spin then take it  and block on my design covered with batting. and by morning it is ready to wear. Try it one time

and you will be amazed. mg

magj wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 5:22 PM

I block exactly like you suggested except I have a final step.  I put my knitted garment in a towel and put in the washing machine on the SPIN CYCLE ONLY

on Aug 31, 2013 10:18 AM

Thanks so much for explaining the process.  I am a fairly new knitter and have never blocked before.

Minnesota E wrote
on Aug 27, 2013 6:39 PM

I'm wondering about the shawl on the book cover. Would love to know about that one. Definitely not Trousseau.

gbette wrote
on Aug 27, 2013 5:51 PM

some patterns say to block each piece before putting the item together.  others say to complete the piece, then block.  i've always put my project together before wet blocking and had good results.  these items are usually sweaters, shawls, and scarfs. no lace.  just wondering...

on Aug 27, 2013 3:29 PM

Some answers:

The shawl shown in the photo is Trousseau, from TwistCollective.com.

The video does give instruction for blocking hats and gloves, and just about all knitted garments.

If you use one of the wool rinses available today, such as Eucalan or Soak, you don’t have to rinse.

Hope this helps,

Kathleen

wen@2 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 8:23 PM

This is great but where can get the pattern for the shawl in the picture

Karole Brown wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 7:20 PM

Just today at my expert knitters group we discussed blocking and how much we enjoy doing it now that we have learned to do it.  We do it just as you have written, and I still am always happy to have the methods I have selected confirmed as the best.  Karole

maggie664 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 4:41 PM

Oh dear! Have just noticed the blocking book you are advertising. Maggie

maggie664 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 4:36 PM

I really love this site and have resumed my interest in knitting after 'mechanically' knitting for my 4 children years ago. Lace knitting is my current interest but have yet to work out how to block my work. Wondered whether you would consider producing a free e-book to help?

Thank you for all the assistance you have provided so far. Maggie (NZ)

Mimi709 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 3:21 PM

Does the video address the subjects of cap/hats?

Susan Banks

terrie@19 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 2:37 PM

I have a question rather than a comment...I have just finished knitting a shawl and want to add a ruffle...should I block the shawl first then add the ruffle?  I'm afraid that the ruffle will flatten if I block it...I would appreciate hearing from the voices of experience...

thanks fellow knitters

on Aug 26, 2013 10:52 AM

Whenever I block lace shawls, I ALWAYS use blocking wires. It eliminates using so many pins, you can bend them to the curve that you desire, keep straight edges straight and if you push the wire through the points along the edge of your shawl, it really helps pull them out and they are even all the way around.

NastyH wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 9:58 AM

I've never minded blocking - except for the long wait for the thing to dry.  However, several years ago I made a lacy (really lacy) mobius.  That thing was a bear to block.  I had to block one section, wait for it to dry, then block another section.  I nearly lost my religion.  But it turned out beautifully - eventually.  I decided then that I would never make another mobius or if I did I wouldn't block it.  So far I have refrained from making another mobius.

Quickie49 wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 7:55 AM

I always block my woolies no matter what I've knitted. Working on my first lace shawl (Haruni) so you know I'll be pinning it like crazy.

LynneMattern wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 7:36 AM

After spending so many hours on a lace piece, blocking is the magic that turns a lumpy blob into a beautiful shawl where the leafy pattern really shows. Never skip this step!

Minnesota E wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 7:27 AM

What is the name of the shawl on the book cover? Is the pattern in the book? Is it on ravelry?

Marciesan wrote
on Aug 26, 2013 7:08 AM

When blocking;

Rinse?