There was a time not all that long ago, that I didn’t block my knitting. Seems crazy, right? Well maybe to those of you who are blocking addicts. But I was a knitter right through my teens, and don’t ever recall blocking being part of the garment finishing process. When I was knitting only baby items, again, I didn’t find blocking an important part of the process. However, when I moved into knitting adult garments, I became a wee bit of a blocking fan.
So, what is blocking? This 2002 Knitty article discusses what blocking is and why you use it – a way to shape pieces of knitting, to stretch if stretching is necessary, and to even out stitches for a beautiful finish.
I knit with wool most the time, and for my large garments I favour wet blocking. From the Knitty article… “Wet-blocking. Wet the pieces of the garment. If you have heavy cabling, you may want to press out the excess water using towels [NEVER WRING — wool is fragile when wet and you can damage the fabric this way!] Pin them out to the desired dimensions and let them dry, usually over several days.”
When it comes to pinning garments out, I have a small issue – I use a foam playmat. Which, yes, I have to admit does belong to DD1. And she usually decides she *needs* to play with it right after it has a jersey pinned carefully to it. Sigh.
But I digress, what I really wanted to show you was my lovely beret…
Not cutey cutey, is it? The cables and lace really fails to pop, and the shaping – well, no photos to show you that!
So, the pattern recommended that you wet block on a dinner plate or – shock – a record. Now, I’m not into super slouchy, so no records for me. Plus, I think DH would be horrified at the thought of his precious vinyl being put to use for knitting. In fact, I think that would be crossing a line he may never forgive me for. So, dinner plate it was.
You can see that this really opens out the petals, and the purl sections appear between them for the first time. Ahhh.
Now, with the simple addition of time to dry- in my case about 36 hours – you will have a wearable beret.
Although, I’ve a confession to make here. I took it off the plate a couple of times to check the fit. The second time it was not quite dry, but clearly too large. So the rest of the drying took place in my dryer to effect some shrinkage. Not exactly in the manual, but it seemed to work 🙂
On the needles at the moment is the second of my winter sock club socks. Once it’s off the needles there will be a second lesson in blocking – the unique design feature of the increases at the centre front of the foot has created some interesting shapes that need to be blocked into submission!
Oh, and I also cast on for my next big knit today – a jersey for DH. More on that next time though!