Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Before You Gift It, BLOCK It!

We know there is a lot of gift knitting and crocheting going on right now... and even though you may not finish your projects with much time to spare, try to give yourself a teeny bit of time to block your projects. Some need it more than others, and if yours needs it, don't skimp!

Because it's one of the top questions we get asked in the shop, I thought I'd show you my most recent blocking step by step with pictures, in case you needed a little help. 

I recently finished the Shadow Shawl with the Manos del Uruguay Serena yarn. This project had been with me on 2 airplanes, numerous trains, in the car, and in my bag a few times a week while the girls played tennis. So it was certainly scrunched up and in need of a good blocking. And think... in all those places it certainly picked up a few germs, so blocking - in addition to evening out your stitches and getting it to be the exact size you want/need it to be - is a great way of cleaning it.

I usually "wet block". Simply put, this means wet it, and dry it.

I started by making sure my sink was perfectly clean. Then I ran some lukewarm to cool water and added a capful of fiber wash. 
I usually use Kookaburra or Eucalan - because these two require no rinse, and that makes blocking faster and easier!
When the basin was full and the water was sudsy, I added my shawl. I carefully swished it around for a couple of minutes, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Then I came back and drained the basin.
As the water began to disappear down the drain, I started gently pressing the water out of the shawl. 
Then I used a "touch" more force and gently squeezed to get more water out.
At this point, the shawl was still quite wet. So with both hands I picked it up carefully and spread it out on a clean beach towel. (Wet fibers stretch! So be careful here!) I folded the towel over the wet shawl and rolled it up so that most of the moisture soaked into the towel. 
Then I pulled my blocking boards out of storage. I used to use an old remnant of carpet, but when we moved here I knew I needed to get some blocking mats
These mats are great because they fit together like puzzle pieces. Because this shawl is triangular, I was able to set the mats up in the perfect shape. They also come with pins but I didn't need to use those this time.
Of course, I had to shut my office door because a wet shawl is a magnet for my cats, and I knew it wasn't safe out in the open.
The next morning, my shawl was clean, dry and perfectly symmetrical triangular.

I hope you have success (and fun!) blocking your things! If you have any specific questions, remember, you can always call the shop and ask us. We're happy to help.


Ann said...


Ann said...

Beautiful, Jill.