Sunday, June 26, 2011

Got Questions? We Got Answers!

Here are some questions that we get asked daily!

What is your favorite way to block your FOs that need blocking? Hats? Sweaters? Shawls? Do you use blocking boards and pins or something more homemade? Do you wet block or lightly spritz?

I sometimes wet block, but when the fiber is heavy, or when I need to block individual pieces before finishing, I opt to measure and pin the pieces, and then lay a damp towel (clean towel put through a rinse and spin in the washer) over the work and wait for it to dry. Since we tore up most of the carpet in my house, I was happy to obtain some blocking squares for a portable blocking surface that you can also adjust to the needed size, and I really appreciate blocking wires as they help me keep my edges straight and not unintentionally scalloped.

I always wet block. Most of my projects are sweaters or hats so I usually can shape the garment to size without pins. In the past I have always used the top of my dryer or towel on a bed for the blocking. We now have the Knitter’s Block back in stock which I think would be very helpful, so I may be making a purchase soon!

It depends on what fiber my project is knit in. If it’s wool, I wet block and just lay it flat on some towels to dry. If it’s something like linen or silk, I will pin it on blocking boards and spritz it. I have learned through hard experience that those fibers will stretch like crazy when I have tried to wet block them.

I love the smell my knitting when it has just been washed with Kookabura wool wash. So I am most often to be found wet blocking my knits (really this is just a hand wash when I’m done knitting) and then spreading them out flat to dry on a towel.

Most of my projects are made with sport/dk weight yarn or heavier and these things tend not to need much pinning to keep them in the shape I want them to be after blocking. (If you do use pins please, please, please, use only nice stainless steel blocking pins when blocking your hand knits because the first time you end up with rust spots on a finished project will be the only time you ever make that mistake!)

I have found in helping to block samples for the shop that blocking wires are a must for me if I have to block something with lace work to keep the edges straight and all of the patterns even (read symmetrical).

There are exceptions to wet blocking of course. There are some fibers that streeeeeetch when they get wet because of the weight of the fabric. From experience with different yarns I know that I prefer NOT to wet block anything made from Noro Silk Garden and other items that include silk. For these projects I prefer lightly misting the finished fabric and then laying flat to dry. This helps prevent the fabric from being pulled out of shape by the weight of heavily soaked fibers.

I prefer the wet blocking method. I always find that my finished piece no matter what it is, is dirty after being picked up many times and carried around all sorts of place while in the process of knitting so a gentle clean with a good wool wash is just what the doctor ordered. My current favorite is the Eucalan in the lavender scent. After washing, I very gently squeeze the water out and lay the garment (be it a sweater, hat, mittens or scarf) on a thick old towel on my wooden floor. I then block it to shape with my hands and let it dry in that position. I find changing the towel at least once helps speed up the drying process.

I should add that if it’s a lace shawl or scarf that I’ve made, I do like to use the blocking wires in order to keep the exact lines and shape that are required. Also, I find with an all cotton garment that it really helps to pop the item in a medium dryer for just a few minutes when it’s nearly dry. This gives some much needed shape back to the finished product.

No comments: