The Basics of Blocking Weekend Workshop: Make Your First Baby Cardigan
Equipment Basic Equipment for Blocking
Blocking Methods Dampening Steam
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.