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Your KnitIQ Guide to Sectional Blocking

In our tireless quest to help you block your wonderful creations in the very best way, we have covered the Basics of Blocking and various techniques of blocking for knitting and crochet. However, to dot the i's and cross the t's we have now also put together a guide on yet another technique for perfecting your handmade treasures: Sectional Blocking.

 

If you are new to KnitIQ and blocking your knitting or crochet items, you may wish to read our previous articles Do You Have to Block your Knitting and How to Wash Wool to prepare for sectional blocking.

And when you have completed your pre-block wash with our wonderful Wool Wash and have your KnitIQ Blocking Mats set up, you are almost ready to begin. Only a little addition is required to your usual blocking kit for knitting or crochet, which is waste yarn - nothing too arduous.

What is sectional blocking?

Don't panic. We are not going to suddenly tell you to forget everything we usually bang on about and start again.

This is all about blocking those individual pieces that make up your finished garment in such a way that you save time, and you end up with perfectly matched pieces ready to join.

'But I hate sewing up and always try to knit in the round, ideally top down' is what you may now be thinking.

Time for a short lecture:

We know ok! Knitting top down in the round is the holy grail, the oasis in the desert, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Less ends to sew in, hide, glue down. No fiddly bits to sew together only to find the left front is an inch longer than the right.

‘How does that happen’, you may wonder, It was the same number of rows?!’ And it is right up there in the mysteries of the universe, along with two socks going into the washing machine but only one coming out.

Well it's time to pull up your big girl / boy pants and accept that sometimes sectional knitting is best. Some things just won’t work as well, even if you could fiddle the pattern to knit in the round.

Seaming gives a garment structure, whether in a fine yarn such as the lovely 4ply merino shown throughout this guide, or in a heavier yarn such as a worsted one used for a winter jacket. Vintage patterns will also be written sectionally and altering them for current yarns and sizes is work enough without placing them in the round.

How to block your knitting in sections

The followin garment is Andrea Mowry's Rose Cardigan and is knitted in 4ply merino wool in the cognac fade colourway from A Bear in Sheep's Clothing.

It is knitted in:

4 body sections with a back exposed seam

A separate neckband

A cable trim

This first picture shows one of the front sections measured and pinned to block while creating a yarny frame template around it. This means that once dry you can fit its mirror section in to uniformly block and match your first section perfectly:

Creating a yarn frame

  1. Lay out your first section to block. If you make sure to complete one of the key sections first, you can block and dry it whilst completing the next piece.
  2. Carefully measure all of the required points and place T pins to hold your piece in place. The grid lines on KnitIQ Blocking Mats come in very handy here.
  3. Next, place a second layer of T pins just outside the edges of your blocked section, but no further than at 1mm distance.
  4. Wrap waste yarn around these outside pins.

This has now formed a yarn frame ready for blocking all equal sections into, as shown in the first two pictures below.

You will notice in the picture above that we measured and framed ready for both the front and back sections. If you are unsure of the neckband in future sections, just frame the main areas and adjust as necessary.

Once this was blocked and dried, the last picture in the row below shows how all four sections have blocked and dried to the correct sizes as all four lay one atop the other:

  • Once all the edges were seamed, trim added and edges woven in, this is how it looked after a light steam. You can see the edges fall uniformly and the seam adds the required structure.

Blocking for Sectional Alignment

This technique can also be tweaked to ensure sectional alignment midway through completion. It can be especially useful on thicker garments that when blocked fully complete seem to take forever to dry.

These pictures show the Eastwind Jacket by Emily Foden knitted in a mix of Gentle colourway by The Fibre Co Lore Yarn and Artyarns Silk Mohair in Rose Ombre.

This is a heavy coat-like jacket that once blocked in joined sections only required external seaming and a light steaming:

We hope you have found this guide useful and don't forget to let us know how your projects progress via social media:

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