Blocking Basics for Knitters

Learning to knit is such fun!

Rather than knowing just the basic stitches and needle and yarn information, you want your knitting to look its very best. For this you also need to know how to block your finished projects.

Usually, blocking is mentioned in a sentence or two, if at all, in finishing instructions. Although it’s not crucial to your knitting with some projects it will make all the difference.

Blocking helps to shape your knitting, to help accentuate stitching, such as cables, and to give a required professional look to what you have been slaving over for the longest of times.

Remember, some projects don’t require blocking. Yet, even the simplest of items, such as scarves or placemats, can be blocked and will look nicer because of it.

Blocking doesn’t require a lot. All you need is a flat surface (an ironing board will do fine), rustproof pins, and an iron.

Most knitting instructions for clothing or other items, will give you blocking information near the end of the pattern, so don’t miss it.

When shaping your knitting, there are two steps to use. One is steaming and the other is pinning. Steaming is easy and goes quickly. You will want to pin your knitting flat to the surface. Never iron directly on the fabric, place a cloth over top or just hold the iron close. With some yarns, keep a little distance between the iron and the yarn; let common sense be your guide.

Now remember, if you are using delicate yarn, or one of those fun fur, ribbony types, use a wet spray blocking method; don’t block with an iron or you may find the yarn begin to unravel or almost disintegrate before your eyes.

Steaming your knitting is super-fast, and dries in no time. Occasionly, I use a little spray starch, just to give it a little extra punch.

When pinning, some projects will have you pin before you steam, and some after. Don’t try stretching the yarn; besides if you followed your pattern correctly, you should have it just about the width and length that was called for. Pin all key points according to the measurements which come with the pattern.

When in doubt, let caution be your guide. After all, you don’t want to ruin something that has taken weeks or maybe even months, to finish. Natural fibers, such as wool, cotton, linen, or cashmere can definitely handle the steam blocking. More delicate yarns, such as mohair, angora, or a specialty yarn, do better with just a spray block.

Some very unusual yarns, such as lurex, chenille, fun fur, or eyelash should not be blocked at all, just to be on the safe side.

So there you have it! Once blocked, you will see a difference in your finished knitted projects. It’s just one more way to have your family and friends rave over what a great knitter you are!