Friday, September 19, 2014

Blocking Basics for Knitters

After the pieces of a sweater or other garment are knitted, the next step is blocking the knitted pieces. Knitted pieces should be blocked before they are sewn together. Blocking is a process which sets the shape of knitted pieces, giving smooth edges which make neater seams. Items knit in one piece, such as socks, mittens or shawls, are also blocked. These instructions are for simple, damp blocking of knits without the use of steam.

Blocking supplies and equipment
You will need a flat, padded surface in order to block most knitting. Also have on hand rust-proof pins, such as T-pins or quilting pins with large round heads that will not get lost in the texture of the knitting. A corrugated cutting board with a one-inch grid, found at most fabric stores, makes a good blocking surface. Cover the board with clear plastic to protect the cardboard from moisture. Smaller items such as doilies or collars may be blocked on a well-padded ironing board. If money is no object, special blocking boards are available from specialty knitting shops.
Blocking by the piece
Dampen items to be blocked, using lukewarm water. Lay pieces flat on a padded surface. Pat or stretch each piece to correct measurements, pinning at intervals of ½" to 1" to get a smooth edge. Sleeves or other identical pieces may be stacked and blocked together. Allow pieces to dry completely before removing pins. For long, straight edges, it is faster to use blocking wires, which are inserted along the edges of sleeves, sweaters, or shawls to hold the edge straight while it dries. Once pieces are blocked to correct measurements, sew seams to finish your garment.
Blocking completed items
If you knit many socks, buy or make some sock blockers, which are water-resistant, rigid shapes to place inside socks as they dry. You may use stiff plastic, like that used for quilting templates, to make sock or mitten shapes for blocking items. Larger items may require an entire tabletop or floor for blocking. If items do not need stretching, simply lay flat on floor between two terry towels. The texture of the towels will be enough to hold the shape of the pieces.
Learn How Book. (1959). New York: Coats & Clark, Inc.