Congratulations! The final stitch on your latest knitting project has just been cast off, now what? Before you sew your seams together, take time for one of the most important steps in finishing a garment, blocking, which will shape and mold your knitted pieces to correspond with the actual measurements given on the pattern schematics. This will make a huge difference to the overall look, from homemade to professional with just a few simple materials that you may already have at home. Set up an area with a table to work on, and gather together the following supplies, a tape measure, rustproof pins (T-pins are preferable), a few large towels to use as a blocking pad, spray bottle filled with water, steam iron, and a linen or cotton tea towel. The next step is crucial, choosing wet blocking vs steam blocking. To decide which method is most suitable for your project, check the fibre content on the ball band and match to the chart below. If in doubt, test a small swatch first, any yarns that contain synthetics should be wet blocked, as the heat from a steam iron will damage these fibres. Both blocking methods require pinning the garment pieces so they will measure out to the required sizing.
Wet Blocking- fold a few towels to create a soft pad and pin your garment pieces in place. Choose either a spray bottle filled with cool water or a large damp towel as your blocking tool. Both work equally well, it is a matter of personal preference. Wet the pieces thoroughly with either the spray bottle or the damp towel. Leave overnight to dry.
Steam Blocking- fold a few towels to create a soft pad and pin your garment pieces in place. Set your iron to the lowest steam setting, hold slightly above the pinned garment pieces, and rotate in a circular motion without touching the fabric. The steam will dampen the pieces without pressing. If your work requires a light pressing, make sure a linen or cotton tea towel is used as a pressing cloth to avoid direct contact with the fabric. Leave pins in position until pieces are thoroughly dry. Drying time is much quicker with this method.
Angora- Wet block by spraying
Cotton- Wet block or warm/hot steam block
Linen- Wet block or warm/hot steam block
Lurex- Do not block
Mohair- Wet block by spraying
Novelties- Do not require blocking
Synthetics- Carefully follow instructions on ball band- wet block by spraying, do not press
Wool- Wet block by spraying or warm steam block
Wool blends- Wet block by spraying, do not press