What is Blocking in Knitting

What is Blocking in Knitting

Your project is not complete without blocking when learning how to knit. Blocking improves the appearance of your knitted project.

When practicing how to cast off knitting, you will often notice uneven stitches, snugs and that some rows stand out from the rest on your knitted project, which can be annoying. So you need to block your garment to give it the desired look.

But what is blocking in knitting?

To learn more about what blocking is in knitting, read on. With this guide, you’ll also learn how to block a baby blanket after knitting. Let’s get started!

What Does Blocking Mean in Knitting?

What is blocking in knitting
Image source: Pinterest

Blocking refers to the process of finishing your knitted garment to achieve the desired size and shape and to even stitches using moisture or heat. Blocking is the final step in fabric knitting, and it makes your knit projects look more professional.

So should you block your knitted garment? The following are reasons why blocking in knitting is crucial;

    • Blocking evens tension in your knits while straightening stitches
    • Helps to open up lacework
    • Removes excess dye from the knitted garment
    • Flattens curling edges mainly when you have used the garter or ribbed stitches.
    • It gives the knitted project a smooth and flat look, which improves your garment’s overall appearance.

How do I block Knitting: What to Consider?

You want to ensure that you give your knitted wear the best appearance. So before you start blocking the fabric, you should consider the following factors.

    1. Available Blocking Tools 

Finishing washing blocking knitting
Image source: Loop London

The available blocking supplies help determine a suitable blocking method. Here are some of the blocking equipment a knitter should have.

    • Ruler

A ruler helps to keep the edges of the knitted garment neat. You should use a ruler to pin the garment to the board to ensure straight edges and seams appear as planned.

    • T-Pins

T- pins are used to hold the knit project in place for blocking. They are often used in spray and wet blocking methods. Ensure that you purchase enough and rust-free T-pins.

    • Knit blockers

Knit blockers come in handy when blocking areas of straight knit pieces.

    • Wool wash

Wool wash is a mild detergent or soap that helps to straighten the knit fabric during wet blocking.

    • Lace blocking wires

These are wires used to give the knitted fabric shape and consistency, especially when learning how to block a knitted shawl or a blanket.  

    • Bath towel

Bath towels are used during wet blocking to remove excess moisture before pinning the knit piece on a blocking board.

    • Blocking board

A blocking board is used to hold your knit piece as you block.

    • Spray bottle

Used during the spray blocking method.

    • Washbasin or sink

Used to hold your knit piece as you soak for blocking. 

Blocking Tools Purpose
Ruler A ruler is used to keep the edges of the knit fabric neat.
T-pins They are used to hold the knit project in place for blocking.
Knit Blockers Knit blockers are used to block areas of straight knit garments.
Lace blocking wires These are wires used to give the knitted fabric shape and consistency.
Bath towels Bath towels are used during wet blocking to remove excess moisture before pinning the knit piece on a blocking board.
Wool wash This is a mild detergent or soap that helps to straighten the knit fabric during wet blocking.

      2. The Yarn Type

Ensure that you check the yarn’s woven labels to know the fiber content of your knit fabric. It is worth noting that if the thread contains more than one fiber, you should consider the delicate material when deciding whether to block the fabric and the suitable blocking method.

Some fibers are not suitable for blocking as they may be ruined in the process. Such fibers include metallic or heavily textured yarn. Natural fibers including wool, linen, mohair, and cotton are ideal for blocking.

What’s more? Yarns have care labels that provide instructions on how to take care of a specific fabric. This information comes in handy when deciding the best method to block your knit piece. For instance, wet blocking is only suitable for yarn fibers that can tolerate submersion.

      3. The Knitting Pattern

If you know how to read knitting patterns and have used one for your project, then you should ensure that you follow the blocking instructions. Most patterns will recommend the best blocking method to use.

But what happens if the pattern has no instructions on the suitable blocking method, or the pattern simply states ‘block’? In that case, you should follow the yarn’s labels instructions on the ideal blocking technique.

How Do You Block Knitting?

Once you learn how to cast on knitting, the knit stitch, and cast off, the next step is to block the knitted fabric to give it an appealing look. There are various methods on how to block a knit piece, including;

So how do you block knitting?

Here is a guide on how to wash and block knitting using these three methods. Let’s delve right in.

    1. Wet blocking

Wet blocking involves immersing a knitted fabric in water to improve its appearance. Don’t know how to wet block? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wet block knitting.

Step 1: Weave in ends

You should first know how to weave in ends knitting to wet block your garment. Weaving in ends helps to secure the cast-off stitches to prevent unraveling. 

That said, you could forgo weaving in ends when blocking a garment that has pieces that need to be sewn together.

Step 2: Fill the sink or washbasin, or bowl with cold water. You could add a wool wash to the water to improve the appearance of your blocked garment.

Step 3: Soak the knitted piece in water for thirty minutes. You should ensure that the fabric is fully submerged in the water. Consider squeezing the material a few times to ensure that the wool wash gets deep into the fiber.

A knitting tutorial on blocking
Image source: Craftsy

Step 3: Drain the water, then squeeze the knitted piece. This helps to get rid of excess water. Do not twist, wring or pull the fibers too much while it is still wet.

How to block knitting
Image source: Fifty four ten studio

Step 4: Lay a dry towel out on a flat surface and gently place the knitted fabric.

How to block a knitted sweater
Image Source: Oliveknits

Step 5: Roll the towel up and over the fabric to wrap them together into a tube. 

Step 6: Squeeze the towel as much as possible to absorb the water on the knit piece.

Step 7: Unroll the towel, then place the knit fabric on a blocking board.

Step 8: Pin it out. You should measure the garment or use the pattern’s instructions and pin it out as you lay down the piece to ensure it is lying according to the desired shape.

How do you block knitting
Image source: Fifty Four Ten Studio

Step 9: Leave the fabric to dry. Once the material has dried, you should remove the pins and seam them together when necessary.

You can now wear your knitted garment!

      2. Steam Blocking

Steam blocking a knitted shawl
Image source: Knitmuch

Steam blocking is the process of relaxing fibers in fabric using steam in place of water. Before steaming your material, you should first test to ascertain that the thread does not melt when exposed to heat. Alternatively, refer to your yarn’s care labels.

To steam block your fabric, you should;

Step 1: Pour water into the reservoir of your iron to make steam. Ensure that you first heat the iron to high.

Step 2: Lay the knitted piece on the blocking board.

Step 3: Pin the fabric in place on the blocking board. To ensure that the material takes the desired shape, use plenty of pins to hold the knitted piece.

Step 4: Hold the iron one to two inches above the fabric. Move it across the material to ensure that you steam the entire knitted piece. Hovering the iron over your fabric releases steam that blocks your knitted project into its desired shape. Ensure that you do not touch your work with the iron.

Step 5: Leave the fabric to dry. When the garment is dry, you should remove the pins. 

With steam blocking, you do not have to worry about the uneven edges developed while learning how to increase a stitch in knitting. This is because your work will hold the desired flat and smooth appearance after steam blocking.

To learn more about steam blocking your knitted fabric, watch this video.

      3. Spray Blocking

Not sure about the care instructions of the yarn used for your project when learning how to finger knit? Consider using spray blocking. Spray blocking is the most gentle blocking method, so it is suitable for delicate and expensive yarn. 

To use the spray blocking method on your how to start knitting project, follow the following steps.

Step 1: Place the fabric on a blocking board. You should pull the fabric until it is in the desired shape, but ensure it lies flat on the surface. 

Step 2: Insert pins through the edges of the fabric and into the blocking board. Ensure that you use plenty of hooks, especially when creating straight edges. Do not leave large spaces between your pins, as this may make the knitted piece appear scalloped.

If your how to join knitting in the round project entails seaming pieces together after blocking, measure the fabric and pin according to those dimensions.

Step 3: Fill the spray bottle with spritz and cold water and spray the knitted fabric until it dampens. Do not soak the garment with water.

Step 4: Leave the fabric to dry for at least twenty-four hours before removing the pins.

Here is a video on how to block your knitting using the spray blocking technique.

How to Block a Knitted Scarf

How to block a knitted scarf
Image source: cocoknits

Knitting a scarf provides an effective way to learn how to count rows in knitting. This is because a scarf is large and contains sufficient vertical and horizontal stitches. Now depending on the knitting pattern you choose for your project, you could further learn how to change colors in knitting.

Wondering how to block a scarf after knitting? Here is a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Choose the blocking method. For instance, you could choose the wet blocking method.

Step 2: Gather the blocking tools. To learn how to block a knitted scarf using the wet block method, you need;

    • Scarf
    • Basin or sink
    • Wool wash
    • Towel
    • Blocking board
    • Ruler
    • Pins 

Step 3: Fill the basin or sink with cold water and add wool wash. Soak the scarf in water for thirty minutes.

Step 4: Remove the scarf from the water and gently squeeze it. Place the scarf on a towel and press to remove the remaining water.

Step 5: Place the scarf on the blocking board. Use the ruler to ensure that the edges are straight and pin it up.

Step 6: Leave the scarf to dry, then remove the pins. You now have a blocked knitted scarf.

How to Block a Knitted Sweater

What does blocking mean in knitting
Image source: en4stock

There are various ways you could block your knitted sweater. But wet blocking remains the best option. Why? 

Because wet blocking will help remove the dirt from the sweater. The sweater knitting process involves casting on, knit stitch, casting off, and learning how to pick up stitches in knitting, which exposes your yarn to lots of dirt. So a wash before blocking is essential.

What’s more? Wet blocking will remove excess dye from the fabric and relax the fibers, giving the sweater an excellent drape and fit, essential in knitted fabrics. You want a sweater that hangs nicely on the body, right? 

So to block your knitted sweater, soak it in cold water with wool wash for thirty minutes. Remove it from the water, squeeze and place it on a towel.

Roll the towel into a tube to wrap it together with the sweater, then press it to remove the remaining water.  Place the sweater on a blocking board, pin it up and leave it to dry.

Once the sweater is dry, weave in loose ends, cut the excess yarn and add buttons if necessary. You can now wear your blocked knitted sweater proudly.

Watch this video to learn how to wet block a knitted sweater.

How to Block a Knitted Blanket

How to block a knitted blanket
Image source: Annie’s craft store

When learning how to knit a blanket, you need to know how to block the fabric to complete the project. So how do you block a knitted blanket? There are various ways to block a baby blanket after knitting, including wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking. How to block a blanket knitting should not be a tough task. 

Here is a guide on how to block knitted blankets using the spray blocking method.

Step 1: Place your blocking board on a table. The size of your blocking board depends on the length of your blanket.

Step 2: Place the blanket on the board. Ensure that you place the blanket according to the desired appearance, then place pins on the edges to hold it in place.

Step 3: Spray the blanket with enough water to dampen it, then leave it to dry. Finally,  remove the pins. 

Terms  Definition
Blocking in knitting This is the process of finishing your knitted garment to achieve the desired size and shape and to even stitches.
Wet blocking This is a blocking technique that involves immersing a knitted fabric in water to improve its general appearance.
Steam blocking This is the process of relaxing fibers in fabric using steam.
Spray blocking This process involves using a spray bottle to smooth out uneven stitches in a knitted fabric.

Conclusion

Blocking helps to make your knitted fabric ready to wear. It evens stitches, removes the excess dye from the project, and smoothens out the edges of your garment, giving it an attractive appearance. 

There are various ways to block your knitted fabric, including wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking. That said, ensure you consider the available blocking tools, the yarn type, and the knitting pattern when choosing the appropriate method to block your knitted fabric.

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