How to Transform Knitting with Mindful Blocking Tools?
Blocking is an essential step in Mindful knitting. Once you have had a project off your knitting needles after yarn ends have been weaved in you need to block the project. Scarves and blankets are often forgiving if you skipped blocking but sweaters, hats, socks and wearable garments will thank you after they’ve been blocked. Blocking brings out the best in just about every kind of yarn, as long as it’s done correctly. Think of giving your yarn a spa treatment, and of course, it deserves to after being winded, navigated through stitches and more. If you have been avoiding blocking or not doing it correctly, now is a good time to learn how to do it. It’s really just a matter of having the right tools and accessories. In this blog, we will discuss blocking methods and transform your knitting projects.
What Is Blocking?
Blocking is a method of stretching and shaping a finished knitted piece to achieve more than one result. Done correctly, it helps achieve the suggested size or dimensions of a project, matches knitted pieces' sizes and evens out your stitches – making them look more uniform. Some knitted pieces always need to be blocked. Lace is an example. Blocking opens up the designs and allows the pattern stitches to be shown to their best advantage. It is one of the best tricks of mindful knitting.
The main methods of blocking are washing, steaming, and spraying with tepid water.
- Wet Blocking - The recommended method for blocking synthetic fibers and novelty yarns, except for some very delicate ones that may fall apart when wet. (Be sure to check the yarn label for care instructions.)
So, here’s how to do it. Dampen the knitted piece so that it is wet but not dripping. Spread the piece out on a towel, sheet, or heavy plastic piece. For larger pieces, consider laying them flat on the floor or on a spare bedroom to sit undisturbed long enough to dry. Gently stretch the piece as needed to meet your blocking goals. If you're trying to get a piece to the size or shape the pattern recommends, you might need a tape measure to help. As the piece dries, it will retain the shape you gave it.
- Steam Blocking - It is the preferred method for fibers that shouldn't get wet, as well as for cotton yarns, which tend to completely lose their shape when wet.
The steaming method involves slightly dampening a clean towel or another piece of absorbent fabric and placing it over the knitting. Use a hot steam iron to press very lightly on the covering piece. Allow the steam to penetrate the item, but do not iron it. In this method, you're just pushing the steam through the top piece towel and into the knitted piece below.
Different knitters use different techniques when it comes to steam blocking. Some stretch and pin their work, then use the steam to help set a new shape. Others steam first and then pin, allowing the steam to relax the fibers. The method you use might depend largely on the flexibility of the knitting. If you can get it into shape without the steam, pin it first. If not, steam and then pin.
- Spray Blocking – This is the gentlest blocking method. It is ideal for expensive and delicate fibers, such as silk and cashmere. It is also a good method to use when you don’t know the fiber content.
Pin the piece to the desired dimensions and lightly spritz the finished piece with water from a spray bottle. Get it damp enough to relax the fibers, but not soaking wet. Allow to dry, and you're done.
We recommend using the Mindful Collection Knit Blockers. The multiple sturdy and rust-resistant stainless steel pins anchor knitting and make blocking easier and faster. You can also use rust-proof safety pins, straight pins or T-pins to hold the knitted piece down.
Why block your projects?
Blocking is the best way to even out your stitches. It allows your yarn to bloom and show its full potential. Here’s what blocking can do for your knitting projects:
- It evens out the tension in the knitted or crocheted fabric and makes little irregularities disappear.
- It opens up your lace stitches and patterns, allowing delicate patterns to be revealed.
- It highlights textures such as puffs, bobbles and cables.
- It shapes your project and straightens out shapes.
- It gives shine, softness and drape to your fabric.
- It helps correct mistakes, such as disparities in lengths and widths.
Besides finished knitting and crochet projects, a gauge swatch should also be blocked properly for the right count of stitches.
With the Mindful Collection, you can enjoy the journey of knitting with a range of smooth stainless steel knitting needles and accessories. For more information on knitting, mindfulness, tricks, techniques and more, follow our blog.
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