Blocking

Blocked capeletI’ve been doing a lot of research on blocking lately.  I have always wet blocked by either submerging the item, or spray spritzing.  Most of my yarn is wool so these methods have served me well.  My technique is simple but this week I discovered a kitchen tool that works perfectly for the process.  My general process involves soaking the finished item in lukewarm water with a bit of aqua soak (rinse-free soap for hand knits).  In my reading, several sources have recommended draining the water, rather than lifting the hand-knit item out of the water, to avoid stretching.   Unfortunately, I don’t have a utility sink that I can dedicate for this purpose.  I started brainstorming about using a strainer, in a bowl of water.  Then, I remembered my husband’s pasta pot…. perfect!

 

Perfect blocking chamber
Perfect blocking chamber

I place the item in the inner chamber where the pasta goes, and then fill the pot with lukewarm water and aqua soak until the item is submerged.  After letting the item sit for 20 minutes, I lift out the inner chamber and let all the water drain.   I then roll the knit item in a towel to remove most of the moisture and place it on a blocking mat.  The mat I use is foam with multiple pieces that fit together like a puzzle.

Mat pieces for blocking
Mat pieces for blocking

I’m able to make the mat as small or large as I need it.  I place the mat on a flat surface and use stainless steel t-pins to pin my item to the appropriate size.  I then leave the item until it is completely dry.  Some items can be blocked on forms, such as socks.  Some people use forms or balloons to block hats.  I just lie my hats flat on the blocking board, usually without pins.  I’m concerned that stretching around a balloon will stretch the ribbing of the hat.  I continue to be afraid to steam block but hope some day I will work up the courage to try it.

 

 

 

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