What is Blocking in Knitting?

Some of the most common questions asked by knitters all over the world are, what is blocking knitting, what’s the hype and why do I need it? Far from being a complex and riddlesome activity, it is a simple but vital way to end the headache of misshapen knitting. Here is our guide to blocking your knitting and ensuring your projects are neat and ready to use, even if you’re a newbie knitter. 

What is Blocking? 

Blocking is the simple act of wetting and steaming your finished projects, to set their size and even out your stitches. 

It can be done by laying your work upon a flat surface, such as a table, foam mat or knitters block (be careful of potential moisture soaking through onto your soft and hard furnishings). The knitting is left to dry completely so that its shape sets correctly.

This technique is especially effective when you are creating garments, as blocking allows you to get a clearer picture of your stitch alignment, making seaming easier.

The thickness, quality and fibre content of your yarn will determine the method you use to block. Though wet blocking is by far the most popular. 

What Do You Need? 

To block your knitting correctly you may need some of the following:

  • A flat surface, such as a floor, table or length of washing line
  • A big duvet cover, block or foam mat
  • Pins or blocking pins
  • Pegs if using a washing line
  • A steamer, though not strictly necessary

How To Block 

To help you on your way to great blocking results, here is a handy step by step guide for knitters of all levels.

Wetting Your Knitting

Gently soak or spray your knitting according to the instructions on the label. While soaking/after spraying, set up your table, floor or washing line with your block, quilt or mat, ready for blocking. 

After thoroughly soaking/spraying your knitting drain the water and gently wring out by rolling it in a towel or cloth.

Get Blocking 

Lay the fabric right side up on the prepared surface and arrange it according to the measurements stated on the pattern. 

Pin the length at the centre top and bottom, to secure the width, place your pins all around the edge at an angle (facing outwards) for ease of visibility.

To stop edges rolling you can use t-pins or a dampened cloth to weigh them down while still drying.

If you’re using a washing line, peg it to along the top straight edge, adding pegs to weight the bottom edge. Pegs can extra useful for creating scallops when pegging at equal intervals. 

Relax and allow all your work to air dry. 

Optional Steaming

Steaming is completely optional, however, if you’d like to give it a go set your iron to its lowest steam setting. While waiting for your iron to heat, grab a wet cloth and lay it over your pinned knitting project. 

Without applying pressure, run the iron up and down the entire piece. Carefully touch the wet cloth with the iron, allowing the heat and moisture to steam the fabric. 

For light blocking, you can move the cloth and allow to air dry. For medium and heavy blocking, it’s better to leave the cloth in place until the fabric has dried entirely.

You can now attach any required seams.

Sorting Seams

After your garment is sewn together, you may want to steam the seams if they are stiff or bulky. Turn the garment or project inside out and steam them using a wet cloth and iron. 

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