Blocking serves to relax the stitches into a more uniform and flowing fabric. With knitted lace it is almost essential, as it stretches the work open, and reveals the pattern, and once the fabric has dried, it will more or less hold the shape it was blocked out to. But I find even with plain stockinette stitch, it completely changes the finished product, so for me, it’s definitely worth the effort.
I always wet-block my knitting, as I find it most effective.
To do this, I follow a few simple steps:
1. Cast off your knitted article, and weave in the ends. For the most invisible weaving in of ends, I unwind the yarn into plies, and then with a very sharp darning needle, I skim through the purl bumps on the back of the work (or with lace, I try to work through back side of the most solid parts of the pattern), piercing the yarn to draw the ply through several inches of knitted fabric. Then I trim the ends. Note that on the sample I’m using for this tutorial, I didn’t bother to weave in my ends, but usually I would.
2. Immerse the piece into a bowl or sink of lukewarm water, adding wool wash or hair conditioner if you please. Let it soak there for 20 mins or longer, and squeeze it gently to push all the air bubbles out of the yarn.
3. Lift the work out of the water, and gently squeeze as much water out of it as you can. Do not wring the piece, as this will put too much tension on it, and could damage your knitting. With very delicate fibres, be even more gentle.
4. Lay the damp knitting out on a towel, and roll it up inside the towel.
5. Stomp on the rolled up towel, until most of the water has been squeezed out of the knitting. It may be necessary to use a second towel if the first gets too wet.
6. Pin the damp knitted fabric out on a flat surface. I use a piece of cardboard, but there are products created specifically with blocking in mind. I use regular sewing pins with coloured heads, and haven’t ever had a problem with rusting, however, some people recommend stainless steel pins. Pin the work out to the desired size, and leave it until it is completely bone dry.
7. Unpin and you’re done!
Further info on other methods of blocking can be found at: