The Ba­sics of Block­ing Week­end Work­shop: Make Your First Baby Cardi­gan

Creative Knitting - - CONTENTS - By Carri Ham­mett

Equip­ment Ba­sic Equip­ment for Block­ing

Block­ing Meth­ods Damp­en­ing Steam

Wet Block

Damp Towel

Pin­ning

A good block­ing tech­nique is the es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent to knit­ting suc­cess.

• A block­ing sur­face—an iron­ing board will do for small pieces; a grid­ded block­ing board works best.

• One of the fol­low­ing, depend­ing on the method you choose: a steam iron, a steamer, a spray bot­tle or a damp towel.

• Rust­proof pins. The two key steps to block­ing are damp­en­ing and pin­ning. There are three ba­sic meth­ods for damp­en­ing. No mat­ter which you choose, it’s a good idea to prac­tice on your swatch. Use a steam iron that has a surge-of-steam fea­ture or a hand­held steamer. Steam the pieces pinned flat to a block­ing board and never let the iron touch the piece. Be es­pe­cially care­ful when block­ing syn­thetic yarns; hold the iron at least 4 inches above the piece. This is a time-con­sum­ing method be­cause of the dry­ing time, but it’s safe for most yarns. You can wet your pieces by im­mer­sion in cold wa­ter or spritz them with a spray bot­tle. Wet a towel and wring out the wa­ter. You can pin your pieces down and lay the damp towel on top of them or lay them on the damp towel and roll it up like a jelly roll. Leave for sev­eral hours; then re­move the towel and al­low pieces to dry. Depend­ing on your cho­sen method, pin­ning is done ei­ther be­fore or af­ter damp­en­ing. Pin all the key points ac­cord­ing to the mea­sure­ments. Be­gin by pin­ning along the edges. To avoid “scal­lop­ing,” do not at­tempt to stretch the piece.

How Do I De­cide Which Method to Use?

Nat­u­ral fibers such as wool, su­per­wash wool, al­paca, cash­mere, camel, llama, cot­ton and linen can han­dle the heat of steam block­ing. More del­i­cate nat­u­ral fibers such as an­gora, mo­hair and rayon do bet­ter with a wet block us­ing the spray method. Syn­thet­ics do best with a gen­tle wet-block method.

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