Blocking this, blocking that. We hear about blocking our projects all the time when we reach the end of our pattern notes, but what exactly does the process of blocking entail? What even is blocking? In this blog post, we go over the ins and outs of blocking your projects, why blocking is important, and some of our favorite products that help us with the process of blocking!
So… What is Blocking?
Blocking your project is the act of shaping your project to set the size and shape of your finished piece. Doing this can also help even out and relax your stitches even if you knit or crochet with even tension. You can block your finished pieces by either wetting them, steaming them, or both (though if you ask us here at JBW, we prefer wetting them)! Blocking isn’t always a necessary part of the knitting and crocheting process, but we think it pulls everything together beautifully!
That sounds fine and dandy, but how do I block my make?
Step one is to make something you wish to block. That could be as large as a sweater, a shawl, or as small as socks (socks have special ways to block and shape them, we like using the Bryson Stainless Steel Sock Blockers – the open shape allows airflow to dry our finished projects quickly and make our socks hold their shape easier)!
Your next step is to wet your projects. We know. This is the scariest part, but we promise it’ll all be okay! We like to fill up a sink or basin with room temperature water and gently dunk that bad boy in there. Sometimes it’ll try and fight with ya, so you’ll need to push it down and really submerge it. It’s very important to wet the whole project and make sure there are no pockets of dry fibers. In this step, we like to add a little bit of Soak to the basin, which adds a light fragrance and is gentle on our projects and hands. And the best part? The Soak formula helps revitalize fibers and keeps them looking fabulous and last longer.
Let your project soak for around 15-20 minutes.
After removing your project from your wash, be sure to push out all of the water you can (one of our favorite ways to do so is by enveloping it in towels and using our body weight to push down on it, forcing the water to absorb into the towels). Once this step is complete and your project is damp (not sopping wet), we can move on to the exciting part of pinning and shaping!
The pinning and shaping process can be a little overwhelming at first, but we promise it’s not as hard as it sounds! Start by laying out your damp project onto a flat surface right side up – We like to use the Knitter’s Pride Blocking Mats because they fit together like puzzle pieces, which we can fit together in a shape that will accommodate our project no matter how long or wide it may be.
Gently pull your project out to the desired measurements (be sure to reference your pattern for this part) and stick a pin in it – literally!
By using the Knitter’s Pride T-Pins for individual pinning or the Knit Blockers for larger edges, you can “freeze” your piece in place. It’s very important to take your time with this step: make sure your sleeves are the same length, your collar is the proper shape, or the wings of your shawl are straight. When using pins, try to angle the tip of the pin away from your garment.
Whew! Now that the hard part is done, you can just leave it alone! Allow time for air-drying (okay, we lied, THIS is the hard part, just waiting for your dear project to be wearable. Soon – we promise)!
Some of us Beans like to take an extra step here to steam the seams, especially since they can have a tendency to be a little stiff in comparison to the rest of the garment. To do this, we like to turn the garment inside out and use a steamer to get at those pesky seams. Remember to always have a cloth or hand towel between your garment and the steamer or iron!
And there you have it, a perfectly blocked project that’s ready to be worn! Go out, flip one wing of your shawl over your shoulder, and proudly show the world your beautiful, new, handmade project – you deserve it!
Psssst! Looking for a kit that has everything you need to block your next project, including blocking mats, T-pins, and cotton pressing cloth? Look no further than the cocoknits Knitters Block Kit! The entire kit comes packed in a sturdy, stylish, reusable jute bag!