The best-known method for blocking is to wash-and-block your work, also known as wet-blocking. This technique is suitable for most projects and types of yarn. Sounds simple? That’s because it is.
So let’s begin: The first thing you need to do is wash your project. We do recommend using a specialist wool wash, ideally a no-rinse formula like our KnitIQ No Rinse Delicate Wash. Not only does this save you the effort of rinsing, but it reduces the amount that you need to agitate the fibres whilst they are wet, and for animal fibres this reduces the risk of felting and shrinkage. Few things are more disappointing than realising you’ve accidentally felted your best hand-knit socks through overenthusiastic washing.
Here's what you need to do:
1. Pour a half to one teaspoon of wool wash into a sink - or 3 pumps of KnitIQ No Rinse Delicate Wash - and add plenty of cold to lukewarm water.
2. Gently place your folded up knitting or crochet in the water and ensure that it is almost completely submerged. If you’re washing several items at once, they should be similar in colour, to prevent colour-transference.
3. Resist any urge to scrub or knead your garments, and instead leave the whole thing alone for fifteen to thirty minutes. Why? Because this is adequate time for the water and the detergent to fully penetrate and ‘relax’ the fibres. If you’re using a detergent that requires rinsing, then use several changes of very cool water to do so, and try not to pull or twist your knitting.
4. Once the water is clear and free from bubbles, the rinse is complete.
5. It is important to take care when removing your work from the sink. Being soaking wet, it will be at its heaviest and most vulnerable to distortion, which is why it helps to fold it before submerging it into the water. As you lift each item, briefly squeeze it, without twisting, to remove some of the water.
6. Unfold it partly on a large, thick, towel.
7. Roll up the towel with your project inside, and press on it to squeeze out more of the moisture. It’s perfectly all right to put weight on the rolled-up item. For example, you can place it on the floor and kneel on it. But never wring it.
8. Unroll the towel.
Watch this video by @freshhooked on Instagram to see how it's done:
Now it's time to get blocking:
By far the easiest means of doing this is to use KnitIQ Blocking Mats, which can be connected into any shape configuration, and which have grid-lines to help you line up your work. Knitting and crochet patterns usually specify the dimensions of the finished item, and this is your opportunity to ensure that your work will be the correct size:
1. Place your garment on the blocking mats and fully unfold it padding it into shape. Insert T-pins or blocking combs along its edges to make sure it holds in place, but never use force! How much stretch is needed is determined by the type of project, If your work has a lot of texture such as cabled knitting, then you don’t want to reduce the impact of it by over-stretching. Conversely, the details in lacework can really come alive if the fabric is stretched more robustly. .
2. Wait until your work has thoroughly dried before unpinning it. How long this takes will depend on the type and weight of yarn and type of knitting or crochet, but many items need 24 hours or more to dry completely. If you are in a real hurry, placing a fan nearby to speed up the process, or use a hairdryer on its cool setting.
Back to KnitIQ Guide to Blocking