Better Blocking

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!


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

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