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Blockheads!

ETA 5/26/2009: Congrats to Joyce, our contest winner! Thank you all for participating. The comments at now closed and we will be posting a follow-up blocking Q&A soon. 

“You blockhead!”

One of many epithets hurled at long-suffering Charlie Brown, but if you called Norah and me blockheads…we’d grin from ear to ear and say “Yup!” You can be a happy blockhead too! This week’s free KnitBits pattern is the Jubilee scarf, knit in Ultra Alpaca Fine and it provides the perfect opportunity  to show off why we are in love with blocking!

Blocking has a magical ability to transform your knitting. This power has even become an office joke. The way Norah says “a little steam….!” in a chirpy infomercial lady way (heard at the end of our Shoulder Seam video tutorial) is her version of “Make it work!!”

There are so many ways to block a garment, and trying to sort out the all the opinions and “rules” can be daunting. I’ve used practically every method imaginable and I have some tips: 

Choose the sort of blocking that is appropriate for your garment or item. If it looks pretty good and you haven’t been carrying the work around with you much you might be able to get away with a light steaming or spritzing. Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of a wool wash like Soak and spritz your sweater until it is damp. Pat it into shape and allow it to dry flat. I also use this to freshen up  knitting that I don’t feel like laundering, or wet blocking, a more labor intensive process which I’ve shown here (note that the iron and steamer aren’t used in wet blocking, if you’re steaming you should pin first, then apply steam by hovering the iron or steamer ABOVE the fabric, not ON the fabric): 

Clockwise from top left: 1. Jubilee lace, unblocked on left and blocked on right, 2. Trusty upright steamer!, 3. Trusty heavy iron with steam function, 4. Blocking helpers: colander, blocking wires (the wires ensure that you get a nice straight edge and they only require a few pins versus a meeellion), Soak wash, rust proof T-pins, 5. Warm water bath, 6. Soaking, 7. Gently press water out of item (sometimes I use a salad spinner for this!), 9. A towel can help squeeze out excess water. 10. Blocking board inspection, 10. Blocking board declared up to code!, 11. Thread wires through edges of knitting, 12. Stretch, pin and allow to dry! 

Blocked to perfection: 

 

Wet blocking and laundering are essentially the same in my mind and they’re absolutely crucial for lace projects like Jubilee. It offers the most dramatic transformation for your knitting; while wet, knitted fabric is a lot like clay and can be shaped to your specifications. This can come in handy when a piece didn’t come out to the exact measurements you intended it to. Even if your knitting is the right size, a wet blocking will smooth your stitches. I like to hold it at the corners and stretch it in all directions like pizza dough. I shake it a lot and then pin it. This makes my knitting look so much more even than it does fresh off the needles. 

I’m working on a project in Ultra Alpaca Fine right now and Norah’s scarf has totally inspired me to keep plugging along so I can BLOCK it an reveal it’s beauty. Besides all the benefits, blocking is just plain fun! Seeing your crumple of knitting turn into something polished and beautiful is extremely surprising and always rewarding. 

Thanks for reading! I’m excited to offer a blocking starter kit to one lucky blog reader–the blocking kit will contain a set of blocking wires and an excellent prize pack from Soak with labels for your handknits, sample sizes of all their scents and a full size bottle of my favorite scent, Celebration. Soak Washes have been in my arsenal since they debuted in 2005. It is gentle, which is perfect for fine fibers, concentrated which makes it budget friendly and the best part–it is so pretty!! The packaging is worthy of bureau display and the scents are so incredibly delicate. I sent a Soakified sweater to friend and he commented that it smelled “so good!”

soak prize
soak prize

Good luck and happy blocking, Blockheads!

Cirilia 

Contest Rules: Contest open to readers in the US and Canada only. Berroco employees not eligible. Contest closes 5/21/2009 12:00 a.m. EST. Duplicate entries will be deleted. 

961 thoughts on “Blockheads!

  1. Would love to try this ! This for teh tutoiral on blocking . Your
    helper is cute too !

    1. So does this mean everytime I was a garment I have to reblock it? I have heard that iron will “kill” a knit item and even washing it will not change it’s shape after that- is it true?

      1. On commercially knitted items it generally says “dry flat” which is another way of saying “manipulate back into shape” a.k.a. blocking.

        Some yarn will have memory, but some yarn doesn’t and you usually don’t know this until you’ve made a swatch and gone through the blocking process.

        Sorry to be one of those “you must do this” knitters, but you can’t cut corners with the swatch-making.

        As for an iron- if you are concerned about the iron against the fabric (and you should be if there’s any amount of man-made fiber in it) use the steam function but put a towel in between the item and the iron. The steam will go through, but it would be significantly hampered by the towel.

        Keep in mind the towel should be colorfast, and perhaps you should try with different thicknesses.

    2. Thanks for info re: [importance of] blocking. Which is the best technique for your MICA yarn.

    3. I’m relatively new to blocking so I found the tutorial helpful. Now to win the blocking wires and Soak Wash!!

  2. What a lovely post on blocking, something that I must shamefacedly admit, I don’t do. I have hesitated to knit lace because of the daunting prospect of blocking it at the end. I have never blocked a sweater (and it hasn’t been that much of a problem). I have considered sock blockers, but never taken the plunge. I have seen blocking wires and been tempted, because I do have a secret longing for knitted lace shawls, but not yet purchased them.

    1. I’ve never used blocking wires but am now interested in trying them. I always block sweaters, or they just don’t come out right. The “spritz” blocking works well for things like baby hats that just need a little work. Sometimes I dry hats on bowls or balloons (water balloons for baby hats) to improve the shape.

  3. That’s a very nice prize to have. I don’t have any blokcing wires yet, so I hope I win!

  4. Thank you for all the valuable information. I’ve never tried Soak but after reading your post, I will have to try it.

  5. Thanks for the contest! I love Soak, and I’ve been wanting to try blocking wires for a while now.

    1. I have never used blocking wires, but that looks so simple – I will have to try them. As for Soak, never used that either, but I agree about the pretty bottles. I’ve been wanting to get some, but haven’t found any sold locally yet; I like the variety of scents.

      1. Hi Shelly,
        Let us know where ‘locally’ is and we’ll try to get some Soak there for you!
        Cheers and thanks. -Jacqueline, Soak Wash Inc.

  6. How I would love to win this! I have never blocked anything “fine”. And I have some lovely lace-weight waiting to be knitted up as soon as I get the courage to do it! Have the wires to block it would really help! And I love love love soak! I happen to be running out!
    Thanks for such a great opportunity!

  7. Oooh, blocking is one of my favorite things. It just takes all the little flaws and smooths everything out so prettily. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could take anything in our lives that isn’t quite right and block it to perfection?

  8. I think there must be an entire chapter in the “how to be the best pet you can be” handbook on inspecting everything for potential dangers/food. Anyway, count me in for the contest!

  9. I totally needed this info on blocking! I have a sweater for my husband, ready to block, but I’m too scared to take the plunge!!

    I was even brave enough to try steeks in this sweater, but blocking still scares me!!

    Sue

  10. I love Soak too! I have never tried blocking wires, but need to try this method. Once I discovered the salad spinner’s alternate life, my world has never been the same!

  11. I block, but have never used a wool wash. Would love to try it… and have a couple of pieces that could probably use it.

  12. I always love seeing the “miracle” of lace blocking. It is so much fun to see the lumpy bumpy knitting become a beautiful piece of lace.

    I haven’t tried Soak yet. I have been using Eucalan. But no rinse is always good in my book.

  13. soak + blocking wires? fantastic! I love the way lace really opens up during blocking. like a completely different item!!

  14. Ooo! Great tutorial!

    I’ve never used Soak and I use flower arranging wire for blocking… so needless to say I’m pretty amped about this prize pack! 😉 Thanks for the contest!

  15. I’ve got a couple of lace projects that I’ll need to block shortly. I love to see lace go from its unblocked state to the full beauty of the blocked state.

    Blocking works wonders.

  16. Most of my knitting has been with fibers that don’t respond well to blocking, but I just finished a doily not long ago and, being lace, it needed to be blocked. I could not believe the difference it made! I can see why some people go nuts knitting doilies, they’re like the bonbons of lace knitting, a quick bit of knitting and a satisfying blocking and all the rush of getting that pattern opened out and gorgeous with very little time commitment.

    I’m looking forward to blocking my shawl now, rather than dreading it.

  17. Blocking is my least favorite part of the process, but I hear those blocking wires are amazing. Even if I don’t win, I may have to get some…

  18. What a great package! It’s something we perhaps all want, but may be doing without. Thanks so much!

  19. Thanks for the blocking tutorial. I’m terrible at blocking, I always block lace, but nothing else. I’m always to impatient to try things on. I bet having the right tools would make it a lot easier!

  20. I used to think of blocking as such a boring chore that I tried to avoid like the plague if I could….but you make it sound like the most beautiful thing ever.

    I would love to win this to get me even more excited about blocking. I have yet to try any of the lace projects that I’ve eyed for a while because I don’t have (and can’t get right now) any blocking wires. This would be awesome to win, and I would love to try some of these washes to give my projects some “smell good” before they exchange hands.

    Thanks for you encouragement and excitement about blocking. I will look at it in an entirely new light now.

  21. Ahh yes, lace blocking is like magic isn’t it? Turns a twisty pile of uncooked ramen into something amazing.

  22. I love blocking lace, I just wish I had more room to do it. I have one shawl waiting to be blocked and one on the needles and there’s just not enough space. I’ve been wanting to try Soak for a long time, I hear it smells wonderful.

    1. If your shawl is symetrical, you can block it folded in half. This also reduces measuring and restretching to make the halves even.

  23. I’ve been wanting to try soak for awhile. I completely agree with wet blocking, it makes everything look so nice!

  24. This contest is perfectly timed for me. I have been washing/blocking my sweaters and shawls over the last week or two. (It wouldn’t take so long, if I would remember to wash a few every morning so they have time to dry before bedtime.) I too love Soak. I would love to have a set of blockinig wires.

    Thanks for the contest.

  25. Blocking is definitely essential in almost all of my knitting! I use Eucalan soap but I’ve been wanting to try Soak for awhile now!

  26. Thank you for a very helpful post! I’m just beginning my first lace project, and this information should help to make it a successful one. I’d love to win the blocking kit so I have the proper tools to do the finishing up right.

  27. My blocking seldom extends beyond the use of sock blockers. I’ve been thinking about Ann McCauley sweaters lately, and the directions are specific about blocking “meticulously.”

  28. Ooh, thanks for the chance to win! I’m in the midst of knitting my very first sweater, and this will be the first time I’ve really had to block something big!

  29. Ah, blocking, one of the most overlooked steps of knitting or crocheting; right up there with gauge swatching!

  30. I’m a fairly recent blocking convert, and I do love the way a good block smooths everything out and makes me look even more awesome than I know I am. Thanks for the great tutorial and the chance to win an excellent prize.

  31. Great little tutorial! Thanks! I’d love to try Soak — always used Eucalan, but then again, I’ve never tried Soak. It would be interesting to compare! Thanks for the opportunity.

  32. I had no room to pack my blocking wires when I moved to Vancouver from the UK and I r-e-a-l-l-y miss them – T pins are just not the same!

    I completely agree with your post on the way that blocking can transform or tame a piece of knitting. I am not sure whether I am supposed to but sometimes I wet block to dimensions before I seam a garment so that I don’t have to deal with unruly, curly edges while I am sewing.

  33. Thanks for the excellent blog. I’m very interested in trying these products. I have a few projects coming up that will need to be blocked.

  34. Very nice post! Thanks for the chance to win such a great and useful prize!

  35. I’ve blocked things before, but it always involves a thousand pins and the smell of wet sheep. I’d love to try a nice method! 🙂

  36. Oh i have been meaning to try Soak for the longest time! I’m still a newbie to blocking and under the delusion that it will fix all knitting evil, even when the garment is obviously too small! Still looking for that magic ingredient. Maybe Soak will be that magic?

  37. I recently finished my first lace project, and the blocking was a revelation. What a difference! Nice article, and lovely pattern! Thanks for the tips, and yes, I would love to have the Soak set!!!

  38. I can really use this. I’ve just crocheted two beautiful baby blankets for my bosses daughter who is having twins. I’ve always had a problem with blocking but after reading this blog entry, it seems a little more manageable.

  39. It took me 2 years of knitting to fully appreciate and understand the importance of a good block. I hate to think of the injustice I did to all my old projects who didn’t get the proper treatment!

  40. I agree that blocking is key to a professional look to a finished hand-knit garment. I am definitely a believer, and I’d LOVE to win the SOAK kit!

  41. Great reminder of the importance of blocking. I have always just pinned my pieces to block them – don’t own any wires – may have to try those sometime.

  42. Love that scarf! I’m always learning more about blocking, not quite satisfied that I *know* the best ways or the right amount of stretch yet. I haven’t tried Soak yet either.

    Then there was the time I asked if one of my LYSs had blocking pins or wires. No. Ok, fine, I can see why because Joann’s is one block over so maybe it’s not worth stocking them, but when they said they couldn’t understand *why* I would block my Swallowtail Shawl….umm….let’s just say I politely said that I would prefer to block it.

  43. Oooh, that’s an awesome prize, well worth commenting for.

    And as for blocking? Blocking is Magic.

  44. I lost my soak in my last move and could really use some blocking wires! What a great give away! 🙂

  45. what a great run-through of good wet blocking technique! That scarf is so pretty. I’d love a chance to use blocking wires- they look like they make the process so much easier! The contest is a great idea- looks like there’s lots of goodies in there! *fingers crossed for luck*

  46. I’m dying to try Soak. My least favorite part of blocking is that wet farm animal smell!

  47. Perfect! I love blocking wires and soak both! I haven’t done anything quite that lacey and fine, but blocking has made a difference in a lot of my other knits…

  48. I’ve never tried Soak but it sounds wonderful. I appreciated all of the photos on blocking. I don’t do a great job because i find it tedious, but I’ve also never tried wires. You do make it look at lot more interesting and transformational. I guess I need to knit some lace and give it a go!

    Thanks for the friday posts. I always look forward to them.

  49. I would love to try soak. I’ve only used Eucalan exclusively and I’m just about to run out…

  50. Thanks for the tips. I just happen to be blocking a sweater knit with Berroco Ultra Alpaca right now!

  51. Thank you for this informative & inspirational post. I haven’t had cause to do much blocking, but now find myself looking around for projects that might benefit from a little extra effort. 🙂

  52. Super post. I love grids of photos and I love before and after pictures of blocking, so I’m happy on two counts!

  53. thnaks for the information. Blocking has never been easy for me. I love the pictures of your beautiful dog helping out!

  54. Oh my GOSH that scarf is gorgeous! I have used several of the scents of soak and really appreciate how they are delicious without being overwhelming.

  55. Bookmarked for future reference! I really only have ever blocked lace, but I can certainly see how it might be helpful for evening out stitches and cables. I’m so curious about all of the different Soak scents!

    Thanks for running such a great contest!

  56. I see blocking is important. I never realized it made that much difference… I would love to have some of my projects transformed, ah-hem… blocked using these wires.

  57. I love blocking! I need to convince my friends to do it more often, because the project just looks so much more polished after a good blocking session.

  58. I have never tried blocking before but as my skills increase it should be something that I should defently try. I am saving this articule to my favorites for when I need to use it. Thanks.

  59. I block out on the patio table using big pieces of wallboard Styrofoam and straight pins. LOVE how lace turns out!

  60. What a very nice prize – I would love some blocking wires 🙂 Great blog entry!

  61. I’ve only recently become addicted to knitting lace, and blocking is like MAGIC. I would love to win a set of blocking wires-trying to pin out a shawl that is 57 inches across would be much easier then!

  62. This is the best tutorial I’ve seen so far on blocking with wires. Thank you! The pictures are great.

  63. I have some serious blocking to do this weekend and this post made me a little bit excited about it. I don’t have blocking wires though, just pins.

  64. Thanks for the contest! I’d love the blocking wires and the Soak, too! I’ve not used a specific wool wash before, so I’d like to try the Soak.

  65. Oh my goodness, I never thought of using a salad spinner–what a genius idea!! This post is great, thank you.

    1. I have truly been inspired to try a lace scarf…knitting is my passion so much so that my husband is always teasing about my projects that must travel with me were ever I go. I would love to try a sample of Soak for my woolens and always need a refresher on how to block. Thank you for the informative blog…love the Lab!!!

  66. Thanks for the tutorial and the contest. I would love have the tools to block things it would encourage me to not put it off!

  67. I’d like to try some of the “new” wool washes. I’ve been using Woolite for my knitted pieces because I can get it locally (no LYS).

  68. What a fun contest! I’m a big big fan of Soak – in all it’s many wonderful scents! And I would LOVE to own some blocking wires – I never can get my shawls straight enough with pinning alone. Thank you for this opporunity to win!!

  69. I just finished my first shawl and it is crumpled in a pile and awaiting a nice soak and blocking. It will be my first attempt. Thanks for the inspiration

  70. I’d love this prize. I’ve never blocked anything…I don’t have the supplies.

  71. I’d love to try Soak and the blocking wires! I’ve heard great things about Soak but haven’t tried it yet, and I’m searching for a great set of blocking wires! Thanks for giving away a set, and I love the scarf!

  72. Thanks for the blocking info! I haven’t really done lace yet because blocking seems like so much work. But I bet the wires make it much easier than lots of little pins. The kit looks great!

  73. I love soak, but I can’t really spare the money for it, so I just use my dish soap! I love when I get samplers of Soak. I feel like I’m papering my FO’s! 🙂

  74. Blocking lace is truly a magical enterprise. Even knowing that, I find when I’m doing a lace project I worry that it just isn’t going to be worthy of all the work. Then I take it off the needles, give it a soak, roll it in a towel, unroll it, spread it out on my queen-size bed and get to work stretching and smoothing and suddenly the ugly ducking of a rumpled mass of knitting turns into a beautiful swan.

    Great tutorial.

  75. I’d love a chance to win this great prize. I’ve heard great things about blocking wires and am just about to start a small lace project, so this would be perfect. Plus I hear that Soak is really nice – I haven’t had an opportunity to try it yet!

  76. I’m in need of blocking wires!! Thank you for offering this contest! All my makeup, etc., has to *smell* good, so the Soak sounds awesome!

  77. Thanks for much for the tips! I’m new to blocking (don’t ask me why I haven’t done it before now!) and am slowly learning which method is best!

  78. I have 3 lace shawls waiting for blocking – I’d love to try the Soak and blocking wires.

  79. Your blocking looks just like mine, except where is the part when the cat lies down on top of the lace and covers it with cat hair?

  80. I’ve wanted to try some lacier projects, but all the pinning for blocking has intimidated me. Wires may be the solution for me!

  81. I keep hearing about this Soak… It was all over the prize table at the MDSW After-Party (not literally!). I use Eucalan right now b/c I bought a big bottle at my LYS, not realizing how long a big bottle can last!

    I hope I win those wires… I have a feather & fan shawl that’s almost done!

    1. Great Blog! I understand the importance of blocking…especially a lace project. But what if the lace project is a gift for someone. You knit the project, you carefully block the project, then gift the project. I highly doubt the person receiving the gift will want to block it like I did when they go to wash the gift. So I guess my advice upon gifting the project is to tell them to soak it, roll in towel, lay flat to dry? I’ve never used “Soak” before. Does it contain lanolin? Thank you for the info!

  82. Blocking is such an essential part of knitting. I have my rituals but would love to see how others deal with the more difficult items.

  83. This is such a helpful website for me! I do not have proper blocking material and the chance to win is beyond exciting! Thank you for this kind offer.

  84. ha ha! love the dog on the blocking board… and i second that! blocking is essential. i’m always surprised by my knitting friends who are afraid to do it. seriously… like magic. and you can’t mess it up because you can re-magic it.

  85. Would love to try soak! I hope it would inspire me to properly block more than just my lace knitting…

  86. I’ve never used Soak but I’d love a chance to try it. With blocking wires!

  87. blocking is the final adventure. i like it. but i would like it more with blocking wires!!! to use on my to be flow and aubrey , yarn purchased today. it’s a berroco day!!

  88. Add me to the rank of blockheads! my mom showed me the fine art of blocking, and I made my own blocking boards, and am always amazed at the befores and afters. I’ve pretty much only done wet blocking, so am curious to try Soak. Can’t get it here (I’m at present in Central Asia), but I have a mini-sample of it… unfortunately, only one, so I’m hoarding it for the “perfect” project to try it out on… 🙂
    Great gift pack… would love it!:)
    Thanks for the article, and thanks for getting me very very interested in knitting the Jubilee Scarf!:)

  89. I absolutely LOVE Soak products. My favorite scent (so far) is Aquae. I am always suprised how much blocking even helps the garments you don’t think need it. Blocking really does give it that “edge” that makes the item truly pop.

  90. Thank you for the photo tutorial. I recently finished my first lace piece, and I was so happily surprised with the wonder of blocking out my lace! Ahhhhh – lovely!

  91. Haven’t tried Soak or blocking wires yet, but I am always amazed by the power of blocking…my LYS owner says “blocking hides a multitude of sins!”

  92. I’d been wondering what to do with my stash of Ultra Alpaca Fine, thanks for the pattern!

    I always add add soak, or dish washing liquid when I block, but I don’t know the reason for it. Is there one aside from cleaning?

    Thanks.

  93. My blocking lightbulb moment happened with a shawl I finished recently. The rough garment that went into the water, after a 15 minute bath, came out feeling soft as butter. It doubled in size and is now one of my favourite pieces I have ever made.

    Thank you for having this contest. I don’t have blocking wires yet, which recently went on my “to buy for knitting” list, but i’ll wait just a bit longer in case I win this awesome prize.

  94. My main wish with regards to blocking is a bigger flat space (off the floor to be away from pets) that I could use. But, some extra wool wash is always a big plus too!

  95. I use my design wall (3×4 art board covered in batting held with double sided sticky tape) as a blocking board. Blocking is truly magic especially with lace….I love it! One can never have enough blocking wires or stainless steel pins! 🙂

  96. I started a lace scarf before I had heard of the wonders of blocking. The scarf looked so blah to me as I knit that I just frogged it. I wonder if my knitting path would have changed had I known about blocking lace. Now I alternate between socks and chunky projects. Could it be time to try lace again? Thanks for the tutorial. It doesn’t look so hard when you do it.

  97. The greatest gift I give the people I teach is instruction on blocking. I now hear many of my friends saying “Wait until you see it blocked.” when people compliment their knitting.

  98. My cats think they are good at blocking as well- I try to lock them out of the room as not everyone wants cat hair on the finished product!

  99. Good morning! I’m with you, I love to block. When I give anything lacy, like scarves, shawls, sweaters, and even mitts, I always offer to do an annual wash and re-block. My preference is to block outdoors, maybe it’s a past-life memory or something. You give excellent advice when you say to choose the best blocking method for your garment. For anything in lace, I swear by my blocking wires. I run them through edges and then peg the wires into the ground using pointed dowels or pencils or whatever is handy. Terrific fun! For sweaters, I like to use a screen (dedicated for blocking and fleece drying only!) set on the arms of two lawn chairs. The air circulates well and the garment dries smooth and even.

    It was my handspun yarn that sold me on blocking. I steam every skein, wash it, and lay it flat to dry. While that isn’t blocking at all for yarn, it taught me that finishing procedures make a world of different. I got out my books and magazines and taught myself about blocking (that was pre-Berroco Design Studio blog – ‘way pre-!). It’s a good skill to have.

    Thanks for the tutorial and photos. Keep up the good work.

    Meg

  100. Thanks for the info. I have always been intimidated by blocking. I hope to try it on my next project! Didn’t know there was a product that could help. Would love to try Soak.

  101. Is it possible to *shrink* a garment at all using blocking? I made a Pinot cardigan (http://www.berroco.com/264.268/264/264_pinot_pv.html) using Peruvia and am so pleased and proud of it, BUT I think my measurements were slightly off and the finished product is a bit too big for me. Any blocking strategies for this (or other strategies)?

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  102. I’ve only been knitting for a few months, lots to learn! I have found the whole idea of blocking pretty scary, but your article really made it understandable. Thanks for breaking it down so simply. I’ll definitely have to start trying it! I’ll have to pick up some Soak and boards as soon as I get a chance. I just finished a sweater for my daughter and I’m sure blocking would help its appearance. Thanks for the great article!

  103. Blocking really can transform an object. I’d like to try wires someday since pins can take forever.

  104. I would love to try blocking wires, it looks so much easier than pinning
    and blocking. I don’t do a lot of blocking but I would love to do this project.

  105. great information for blocking I need to block a few things I never did it before

  106. I’ve experienced the joy of blocking on my Woodland Shawl. But that was with the meeeeillion little pins (and my helpful daughter to hand them to me). I’ve been itching to try blocking wires … fingers crossed!

  107. Well written explanation of blocking … if I can ever clear my dining room table of its clutter, I have two scarves waiting the blocking process. I especially like the suggestion of using a salad spinner, and will be trying that soon!

  108. I love blocking results. It’s like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon! It makes all the difference. Great article, thanks. And I love the Jubilee scarf. Another great pattern from my favorite designers. Thank you for writing such clear, concise, well fitting patterns. It makes knitting a pleasure.

  109. I’m so excited at the prospect of knitting lace, now that I know how to finish it! I’ve tried blocking before, with varied results, but your tutorial gives me hope. Now if only I could find some Soak and those cool wires… well, maybe I’ll win the prize package:)

  110. I always dread blocking, but when it’s done and so much better, i always swear that NEXT time i’ll do it right away. Repeat. 🙂

  111. Excellent tutorial. I was looking for this kind of tutorial for a long time. Thank you!
    Frida

  112. I didn’t realize what an amazing difference blocking makes. It is very apparent in the photo with the before and after scarf photo. Thanks for the clear directions. Are the directions basically the same for all fibers, i.e. wool, blends. bamboo, cotton…

    1. I think we’ll need to do some more blogging to answer questions like this one. We’ll get on it.

  113. Blocking seems like such a mystery to me. I would like to know more about whether blocking a swatch is essential when making a sweater or other garments.

  114. Thank you for this great article on blocking and introducing me to “Soak Washes”. I was using another product and wasn’t very pleased with it so I will definitely try this next.

  115. Thank you for the lovely tutorial. I’ve just started my first lace project, so I sure could use some blocking wires.

  116. Blocking is fun (it’s the seaming up I hate). Thanks for the tip on adding a bit of Soak to the spray bottle. That was one I had never heard before. I assume it would work with Euclan as well? I haven’t used Soak yet.

  117. Great advice on blocking! I always do. It’s a tedious chore but makes such a huge difference in the finished project. Unfortunately my cats love it when they spot a project pinned to the floor and I have to close doors to protect it. I haven’t used the wash but am anxious to try it. Good fragrances are wonderful.

  118. One of the difficult decisions for me is which method to use for the garment and fiber used. I am always trying a different method to gain knowledge on what works best and when.

  119. I enjoyed especially learning about adding a touch of Soak (which I love, too) to the spritzing water. I look forward to trying that idea.

  120. Wow! All this time I’ve been using my Mini-Schnauzer as the Site Inspector. What a great heads up! I’m off to the Humane Society before my next soak!

    Best,

  121. Jubilee scarf is beautiful…I’ve never blocked anything–mainly because I have lots of UFO’s laying around. But would be willing to try it with the Jubilee scarf, is there a kit available? I’d also like to be considered for the prize pack. Never tried Soak, either…

  122. I love knitting lace and have tried several different wool washes to soak the lace before blocking, I think Soak is great! While laying the lace out to block is time consuming, the miracle it works on a scarf or shawl is always worth the effort!

  123. This is very helpful.
    I have two questions remaining: How does one block a roundish item, like a baby bonnet? Are there any fibers that should not be blocked with the damp or wet methods?
    Love the dog! My dog helps me, too.
    Carol

  124. I never know what method to use for what fibers, or what rinse to buy….blocking is the most confusing part for me so I end up never doing it or doing it and wondering if thats what I was supose to do??? I don’t have any “tools” yet, there are so many things to choose from. (I do however have a gigatic collection of needles and a yarn stash to be jealous of lol) Your blog was helpful, I just need to take the time to learn a little more, thanks for the inspiration.

  125. I think about blocking like I do about making gauge swatches – drag me kicking and screaming into it, but o so worth it! I usually resist blocking because I’m so anxious to wear it, but this blog-bit really helped. And I never thought about the great side effect of the article smelling so cool too!! Another reason to block ! Yeah!!

  126. The tip of using the colander is new to me. I usually squeeze or wring the wool in my hands and this is a gentler method. Thanx so much.

  127. I would like to try soak. Haven’t seen it in our local shops. Love the newsletter! Thanks much.

  128. I’ve always wanted blocking wires! The tpins work but scallop the edges so the wires would be great!

  129. Just discovered “Soak” and love it. I’ve been toying with the idea of blocking wires and think I may have to invest!

  130. Thanks for the great information! I’ve been knitting for many years – I learned the basics from my grandmother and have mainly been self-taught since then. In the last few years I’ve started taking some classes at my LYS, but have also found tutorials like yours to be invaluable. There’s been a real improvement in my finished objects!

  131. Thank for the information about blocking. I have done it before but am still confused as to whether to do it to the pieces before seaming, or after putting a garment together. Also, I suppose it depends on the fiber. Right now I am finishing a cardigan knit out of bamboo – do I block or not?? I have never used a blocking wire -an interesting idea!

  132. Those blocking wires sure would make blocking a lot easier! Thanks for the info. I agree with Becky that information on blocking different fibers (as well as different types of garments) would be very helpful, especially those new fibers, like bamboo and corn-based fibers……thanks for having such a great website!

  133. Very informative blog!! I am knitting a lace scarf now and I can see that blocking it will bring out the beauty of the stitches and show all the openwork I hae worked hard to achieve.

  134. Thanks for the blocking instructions. All very clear what to do with a flat item, but I’d love to see the next installment show how to deal with blocking a lace sweater. I had such a hard time getting the pattern to open up on the sleeves. Ended up filling each sleeve with an arm-sized plastic bag of batting. There must be a better way?

    1. I recommend blocking the pieces of a sweater before you put it together, while all is still flat. If your sweater is knit circularly, sewing rolls or hams can help if you are using steam. I love my steamer!

  135. I’m a big fan of blocking, but have never heard of Soak before. Thanks for all of the great information!

  136. you know, i’ve heard about blocking before but didn’t really take it seriously. i just knitted a lightweight sweater using ultra alpaca (i really love the feel of this yarn!) didn’t come out as i expected. i will now try blocking and see if that works! i guess i just didn’t think about changing shape that way before! thank you ladies for the blog and keep me in mind for the kit!

  137. This scarf is beautiful and I think it would make a great shawl too. I recently visited Florida and used a friends cashmere shawl to cover up in a restaurant that was blasting air conditioning. I am trying to imagine how wide it should be. Any opinions or this one or any other great pattens for shawls?

  138. Thanks for the great information on blocking. Would love to try blocking wires instead of a bazillion pins.

  139. Wow, what a great blocking board inspector! Great inspiration to get all of those languishing things that need to be blocked done. It would help a lot if I won the prize!

  140. I always enjoy the process of blocking. I liken it to washing a quilt after it has been quilted…it’s not really done until then! I have so enjoyed the little series of tutorials and videos. You guys are great!

  141. I love Soak. I have only used the sample packs so far and am waiting to find it in my LYS.

  142. It wasn’t until I started knitting lace that I came to appreciate the wonders of blocking, now it is one of my favourite parts.

  143. I have knitted lace scarves and only blocked them the best I could using mild dishsoap and towels. What a wonderful gift to be able to block the proper way with wires! If I win, I want my first project to be the Jubilee scarf in ultra Alpaca Fine. 🙂

  144. I am close to finishing a beautiful lace scarf in a variegated alpaca – I really need the blocking wires 🙂 Have been blocking other knit items for a few years and am really impressed with the difference that it makes.

  145. I’m new to knitting, so this information is great! I’m knitting myself a sweater – when it’s done (January, maybe?!??! LOL), I’ll have to try the soaking and blocking. Thanks so much!

  146. Wow — this is a great contest! I LOVE blocking and have been meaning to try Soak, esp. now as it’s finally time to put woolens away for the summer!

  147. I started knitting 3 years ago and have added lace knitting to the list of things I want to work on this year. I like the assistant and am glad he declared the board “up to code”, assistants are nice. Nice prize pack.

  148. The lacey scarf if beautiful. I can’t wait to try it, and the blocking kit is great! I would love to win it. Thanks for the info.

  149. Thank you for the tutorial on blocking. I do not block right now, because I’m lazy and it is not so pleasant when all I have is my ironing board. What is that blocking board made of that you can pin into it? And does it fold up for storage.

  150. I used to be very lazy about blocking my pieces before seaming, but knitting lace totally converted me. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing that finished product all flattened out and beautiful. Blocking is an essential step if you want to have knits that look handmade, not homemade.

    Lovely scarf, Norah!

  151. I followed a blocking tutorial using heat on a wet acrylic scarf I’d made as a practice piece and it transformed into such a silky, drapey piece that I can’t belive it’s acrylic. I love blocking! I’m working on my first lace piece and would love the opportunity to try another technique using blocking wires (which I don’t have yet). Thanks for the info & the contest.

  152. I’ve just recently (last four months) have gotten into knitting. I don’t have the blocking supplies or the knowledge so this is VERY helpful. I can handle the wires. I’ve seen blocking kits that look so complicated that I’ve avoided the whole idea. How do you block things that don’t have a straight edge like sweaters and socks?

  153. Oh wow, blocking looks so much easier using the wires. I’m new to knitting and hadn’t heard of blocking wires before. Very cool.

  154. I don’t understand people who say they never block. Its the finishing step in knitting…the icing on the cake…the step that takes it from looking like you slept in it to WOW, this looks good!!

  155. I’m scared to death of blocking and messing up what I’ve taken sooooo long to knit. I wet a sweater once to block and it felted! Your advice has given me confidence to try again. Something I need to add to my life’s skills.

  156. I am going to be in the process of blocking my first lace project soon. You make it sound so simple, I am actually looking forward to it now.

  157. There is something magical about blocking. As exciting as I find finishing a project, the results after blocking always gives me the greatest satisfaction. Thank you for this entry and for demonstrating the importance of this often skipped step in knitting and crochet.

  158. Thank You for the tut. I kind of view blocking as a necessary evil, hate to do it, but really needs to be done. You emphasized that it makes your knits look better and I needed to hear that, again!

  159. This was a great help – especially the pictures. I had heard of blocking wires, but wasn’t sure of how they worked. SOAK is a great product for caring for our fine knitted items!

  160. I am in love with lace. I love to see it transformed after blocking. It’s amazing!!!!

  161. I’m finishing a lace project and was really hesitant to block – as I’ve never blocked my knitting- This tutorial was so helpful and friendly that now I know I can do it!! Thanks.

  162. I’m looking forward to trying the technique. I have a piece on the needles now that will need a good blocking.

  163. May have advice on blocking items that we knit in the round? e.g., a seamless cardigan from the neck down?

  164. What about blocking those new fibres, tencel, seaweed or bamboo? How much stretching do you recommend for those?

  165. Learned about blocking from my mother who was the family knitter. Everyone marveled at the perfection in her baby sweaters – couldn’t get over how even her stitches and how professional her work looked. Aside from the fact that her work was always meticulous, the transition from unblocked to blocked was remarkable.
    I’ve recently started knitting again after many years. Thanks for the reminder about blocking! Since I’m working on two pieces to give as gifts, sure could use that blocking kit!

  166. While the blocking board shown looks like a nice tool, you can make your own. I used a scrap piece of drywall (about 3’x3′) and drew a grid on it with a Sharpie. If the surface of the drywall seems a little powdery, you could cover the piece with clear contact paper.

  167. This was a most interesting article to read. I am just getting into knitting (usually crochet) and am amazed at the photo of the unblocked and blocked scarf. One can really see the difference. The blocked scarf looks like a much better knitted scarf even though they are one and the same. When I get to this level of knitting, I will definitely want to be a “blockhead”. Thanks for the clear and instructive information.

  168. I appreciate all the instructions that I find on your site. My concern is how to block acrylic blends. I steamed a sweater with acrylic once and it ended up four sizes too big!

  169. Thanks for the tutorial! I’m a new knitter so this was terrific for me. I especially enjoyed pictures of your “inspector”!!!!! Linda

  170. Having done blocking with pins! The wires sound easy and magical.I am just wondering if the knitting mistakes leap out at you after blocking.

  171. Love blocking, haven;’t tried the soak, so look forward to the opportunity. Blocking wires would make things soooooo much easier!

  172. I have managed to avoid blocking for the 4 years I’ve been knitting! Right now, though, I’m knitting a simple lace shawl. Your advice is right on time. As I’ve researched blocking, wires are clearly the way to go.

  173. Beautiful scarf-maybe a Christmas gift ? I use small wires for blocking my knitted doilies Ina

  174. I needed to read this because I don’t block very well. Thanks for the tips!

  175. Wonderful piece on blocking and just what I needed. I am about to finish a sweater for my grand daughter and it will certainly need to be blocked.
    Thanks so much.
    Barbara Joan Grubman

  176. It is always great to read/see great tutorials and you guys never disappoint.
    Blocking lace has always daunted me and now I know why….blocking wires!
    Thank you for all the good information

  177. My “inspectors” (all feline) usually curl up on my knitting – so wet blocking is a necessity for me 😉 !

    Seriously, it is wonderful to see how a crabbed, scrawny, lumpy piece of work turns into an exquisite lace article. I love the Jubilee scarf; with the lacework accenting the cables (or is it the cables accenting the lace?); it’s a perfect way for a southern gal to wear alpaca!

  178. I love the steam function on a professional press bed, like at the dry cleaners. I used to work at a department store that had tailoring services and they would press everything afterwards. I loved using the steam bed to make my knitting look perfect. I was anti-hardcore-blocking for a really long time, but once I started knitting lace I became a convert. The pinning is a drag, but I imagine the wires make it soooo much easier =)

  179. Blocking is not my favorite thing to do, but it makes such a difference in the final product….any advice I can get helps., thanks….also would love to try the soak in celebration….

  180. An art teacher once told me that the frame is a gift to the picture. I like to think that blocking is a gift to the knitting. It declares “finished” and “look at me!” Thank you for the tips.

  181. You’re right! You can’t appreciate lace knitting unless it’s blocked. I don’t have wires, pins or blocking board. I Just lay my project on a table cloth and either steam or wet block to size.

  182. Thanks for this…I have to admit I have yet to block anything I have knitted but when I move on to sweaters and such, I know this will come in handy. The pics help a lot.

  183. I have several hanks of Ultra Alpaca Fine wound into balls waiting for a project like this one. I, too, would like more information on blocking other types of fibers. Thanks for all the useful information.

  184. What a treat it would be to win this nice package! Thanks for the tutorial.

  185. I’ve starting knitting lace again, and blocking is absolutely essential to making the stitch pattern “POP”. It’s kind of liberating not stressing over making each stitch perfect, knowing it’s going to be put in it’s place when stretched and blocked. Like a butterfly from the cocoon. I sure would like a set of the blocking needles to help!!

  186. I used to block on the floor between 2 large damp ath sheets and a ton of pins. and a metal yardstick. I bought a blocking board,Rowneta steam iron, and a craft table and after I blocked the first sweater I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. No bending over (table was at stand up height), no inaccurate measuring(blocking board has both inch and cenimeter measurements)and the best Rowneta is an amazing iron that gives off a ton of steam. I was really able to shape my sweater to fit. The only thing that I have not ried is the soak method although I did buy Soak and will try it for the next garment.

  187. I appreciate the simplicity of the blocking tutorial. It helped to explain a bunch. I’ve never heard of the Soak things. Joy

  188. I’ve blocked many lace shawls, with hundreds of pins. Wires sound so much quicker. I just finished two estonian lace projects and have put off blocking, so maybe I’ll wait and try it with wires.

    Elizabeth

  189. I always block sweaters but just recently knitted a lace scarf and saw the wonders of blocking lace for the first time, though with a gazillion pins. The transformation is truely amazing. Thanks for the tips. And I love Soak too!

  190. Thanks for the great tutorial. If I don’t win the blocking kit may I please have the doggie? Pretty puleeeeeeeze!

  191. Thanks for the tutorial. I have only used wet blocking (not as often as I should). Weaving in ends and blocking are my least favorite things to do as once I am done knitting, I want to be done. I hope to try this scarf. It is to die for, and try a new method of blocking.

  192. With all the work that goes into a handmade item – blocking is the difference between a so so end product and a spectacular piece. Thanks for sharing such valuable information! I have never used Soak but I will be looking to do so now. In fact, I have one piece in mind that I can’t wait to get home to work on! Thanks again!

  193. Blocking makes a HUGE difference in the look and feel of a finished object. Something about the Soak that seems to soften up the fibers and make a piece so much softer. I borrowed a pair of blocking wires recently from a friend to block a lace wrap I knit. Wow! It went from looking like scrambled eggs to gorgeous lace. Really gave me the knit lace bug! I would love to have a set of blocking wires of my own!!! KNit on y’all!

  194. Thanks for this tutorial. I’ve never blocked before. Hopefully this will walk me through it when it is time.

  195. I never thought of using a colander when wet blocking, and the salad spinner sounds even better for lightweight or fine projects. Thanks for the great ideas!

  196. Except for lace, I almost always do a light steam blocking first before I do an more intenstive block. I find that the steam block is usually all I need for most projects I do.

  197. I loved this tip. I’ve never tried wet blocking, but I’m finishing an alpaca sweater and I think it needs it. I’ll get my courage up to try it.

  198. I have never blocked anything and really didnt understand the reasoning behind it. This article took away the intimidation–you make it look very simple!! Thank you so much!!

  199. Thanks for this tutorial. Great reminder of how important finishing is. I like the products you mention, but could you also tell me where to get a blocking board? And can I get an inspector to go with it?

  200. I’ve never really blocked any of my knitting because I thought it was too much work. Your tutorial has helped me to see the benefits and the ease of this process. Thanks for the needed info!

  201. These tutorials are a life line for me as there are few experienced knitters in my part of the world. Thanks.

  202. Blocking is good.

    I would like to get some wires, as I am determined to knit my first, fine-lace project soon. I need to get ready!

  203. love this pattern, good info here, would love to try soak have not seen it here!

  204. This is great. I have mental block with blocking and find it intimidating. Please enter me in the contest! Many thanks for the tutorial.

  205. I’m knitting my first lace and I’m so scared to finish b/c of the blocking! Maybe that sweet soak schizzle will help…

  206. Pick me! I have not tried Soak. Would love to try it. Blocking with wires is so much better than blocking without them, especially with shawls.

  207. Some knitters seem to reserve blocking just for lace. I figure blocking is good for all hand-knits.

    Except maybe socks ;o)

  208. I have always said the most important thing in sewing was the pressing of the fabric as you constructed the garment. I sure wish I had known about the blocking wires. What a great idea to insure straight edges! I have always blocked the individual pieces before I joined them and the wires would be awesome

  209. I have never used the wires but can understand why they would be so easy. The millons pins are not easy and I end up finding them everywhere! Would love to be the winner………..

  210. I am a believer in the wonders of blocking! Thanks for stressing its importance and showing the various tools.

  211. How do I know if a particular yarn needs to be blocked? Some don’t, right?

    1. Testing your swatch is ALWAYS a good idea. If the sweater pieces aren’t the shape you expected, or it the patten stitch looks sloppy of pulls in too much, you know you’ll want to block. Be VERY CAREFUL with acrylic, heat is not always its friend.

  212. I have never used wires but think it would be must faster than all those pins, probably more accurate too.

  213. Thanks for the lesson. I’m getting ready to have to block my project and have never done this before. PRAY it works! 🙂

  214. I just blocked my first project recently – a rug. Had to do it SEVERAL times before I got it right. The wires would be great – didn’t know such things existed.

  215. This sounds great. I tried to block a headband one time with quilting pins and it came out lumpy all around the edges. I think the wires would help.

  216. This article couldn’t be more timely — I am theeeeesss close to binding off a lacy sock-yarn scarf.

    A question I’d love to have you address is what to do when your item (this seems to be a problem with scarves) is longer than your blocking board. . .

    P.S. I love the little patchworky things after each comment.

  217. Please enter me in the blocking contest. Thanks so much.

    Annmarie

  218. Great info! Kinda nice to see the process and the before photo.

    Thanks,
    Michelle

  219. Thanks for the tutorial. I’m working on my first lace scarf and have been dreading blocking it (also a first!). Hopefully I’ll be able to get it done, perhaps with a little help from you guys 🙂

  220. I really needed this. Finally, I see why so many of my projects have never been just right. Well maybe except for socks. I guess feet take care of blocking those. But, I have knitted so many sweaters that needed that final polish. I can’t wait to try this and intend to start my search immediately for some of that wonderful soak stuff. 🙂

    Thanks a million for the advice and tutorial. I would love to win but the advice I got here is worth more over the long term.

  221. a year ago i knit a beautiful beaded lace scarf that is bunched up in my closet…..i’ve never blocked anything but with your advice, i’ll make the necessary purchases, hold my breath & go for it!!! many thanks!

  222. This is a great tutorial for someone who has not “blocked” before. Thanks!!!

  223. Thank you, thank you for the detailed photos and tut on blocking.
    Now I know how to make my finished projects look terrific.
    Didn’t know about wires and wash product before I read this article. You make it sound so easy .

    I’ve been contemplating buying a steamer and have been peering at the photo of yours trying to see a label. Does your steamer work all the time?

    I can see how lace improves with blocking . Would a simple knit scarf require this method? I can’t wait to try it out.
    Joyce

  224. Thank You… for the info and the instructions on blocking I have been knitting since the age of 4 but never blocked anything, now I think I will try it as it is so recommended not only by you my favourite knitwear designers, but also by the many responses and comments you have received. I have never seen Soak (perhaps it is not available here in Northern Canada) so is it possible to purchase it online anywhere? same goes for the blocking wires. Fact is, if it is good enough for the very cute canine inspector 12 then hey! I’ m in. Have a smiley day and happy knitting to all.

  225. Thanks so much for the great tutorial. I’ve only blocked a few items so far so this was great – I’ve never used Soak – sounds like a great product

  226. I am *such* a blockhead! When I teach my lace class, I tell them that the one thing that absolutely ensures lovely lace is the final blocking. It’s the transformation that’s so thrilling.

    P.S. Especially love the blocking board inspector…

  227. This tutorial is going into my knitting favorites folder. It will
    also be passed to a knitting friend who needs to learn to block!

  228. Blocking does make all the difference, but there’s nowhere around here to get blocking wires. Hint, hint.

    Thanks for a great primer on blocking!

    1. It’s amazing how even a little bit of steam can transform a sweater…how do it do dat?!

  229. Blocking is a magical process. I usually pin mine on the floor with hundreds of regular stick pins. It’s an arduous process. Blocking wires would make it easier!

  230. Among my knitting friends, I’m known for my inevitable question: You are going to block it, aren’t you? So often knitters are told they don’t need to block but it makes a world of difference. Although I’ve been knitting for 50+ years, I always block no matter what the project or fiber. This is a great tutorial for us all. Thank you for an excellent lesson.

  231. Blocking is one of those skills that is so necessary, but so scary to me!!!!! My grandmother was a master knitter…now that I’ve decided to become a more proficient knitter, I really have to conquer my knitting fears and move on. Thanks for the tutorial. I have the perfect yarn for the scar pictured. Can’t wait to try it.

  232. wow this is a great resource – I do love SOAK for laundrying woolies never thought of using when spray blocking.
    Believe it or not there is snow in the forecast today so winning a nice goody bag would make my day!

  233. Wires should be considered an essential part of your knitting supplies. Edges are straight, points on shawl edges are sharp, and you save time in not having to use a gazillion pins. But I must admit, I have a backlog of blocking to do….that has to be my next project so I can wear all of the things I’ve made for the season. Happy blocking, all!!!

  234. I’ve been knitting since ’95 and have never taken the time to block any of my projects. Maybe because I mostly knit hats and scarves I think I can get away with it?? Whatever my excuse, I’ve decided now is the time to reform my ways! I’ve been working on a beautiful sweater for my daughter and decided all the time and effort can’t go to waste — I MUST learn to block. So….I searched for instructions, found your post, and found the contest to boot! Gotta go finish up the sleeves…

    MS

  235. I am relatively new to knitting and anything with a CHART has scared me off, but lace is so pretty and I finally found a lace pattern that was written out and am about halfway through my scarf; but I have to agree with others, right now the lace does not look “pretty” and I realize that I will have to block it. I have read about using blocking wires and that really looks like the way to go. I look forward to finishing and blocking my piece!

  236. Blocking is new to me. I’m amazed at what several simple steps can do to enhance a finished object. The scarf is gorgeous. Can’t wait to knit one for myself.

  237. Thank you for a tutorial well done. I have just wet blocked my first scarf with fear and trembling and was so excited by the finished look. The wires would have made it look even better. Thank you

  238. Oh, My, God!!! I need blocking wires, I really do! Wow, I’m one of those Women With a Hundred Thousand Pins – my blocking boards really deserve a set of wires; they’ve worked so hard and been stabbed so many times. Great article – always good to brush up on the skills. For as long as I’ve been knitting never once did the thought “use a colander” come into my head. Excellent idea, thanks. Would love to try Soak – have been a plain ‘ol woolite user for a million years. Soak sounds like it would make my knitting feel all special and pretty.

    1. Thanks for the valuable info. I will try some of your techniques with my next project!

  239. Fascinating article. Thank you. I have been on-again, off-again knitter. Have enjoyed your website and am inspired again. Have always found blocking to be a struggle. Thank you for the “wires” tip. Look forward to using this technique.

  240. I love this! I have been using different blocking methods for years with mixed results. This makes it so clear.

  241. It’s been years since I learned the basics to knitting. But I lost interest and never finished anything I started. Now having retired, I have become interested in trying it again and am enjoying it very much. I haven’t yet finished anything to block but am steadily working on it. Thank you for the tutorial. You make it sound and look very easy.

  242. Aaaah – I just received my first mini packs of Soak as a present – and I’m in love! Thanks for the tutorial too (loved how you had some help in making sure the blocking board was up to standard!)

  243. Thank you. Blocking is always a challenge for me, esp. finding space to do it and then dealing with all of those pins–I seem to knock the pin box onto the floor a lot! Your hints will be helpful when I finish my next project.

  244. My next learning challenge is to try knitting lace, so the lesson about blocking is timely for me. Are there any more suggestions about where one is supposed to accomplish this pinning and drying process for something like a shawl or long scarf? I saw one comment about using a bed, but I assume it takes a little while for it to dry completely, and my husband would not appreciate temporary sofa residence. Maybe you could compile an “answers to questions” follow-up blog, since I’m sure you’re going to get a lot. Thanks for the info.

  245. My Grandmother taught me to knit. The importance of all the steps for a successful garment. Design, fiber content, color, gauge, and the all important step of blocking. I currently use pins but, the wires sound wonderful.

  246. I never would have thought to block some of my things I have knitted. WOw! Thank you for this blog and email. I can’t wait to try it out on that scarf I made my DH out of ultra alpaca that took me two basketball seasons and a baseball season to do…

  247. How timely! I am just finishing a lace shawl that I know needs to be blocked. Thanks for the complete instruction manual.

  248. I have just completed a lace baby blanket for my friends daughter.
    I have been too afraid to block it. Reading your instuctions made it sound so easy. I will get it square and beautiful this weekend! Thank you for your wonderful inspiration.
    Ruth

  249. Thanks for the great tutorial. I am getting closer to the finish line on a lace shawl, and this is a wonderful reference.

  250. I had never heard of blocking wires before I read this article. Thanks for the info.

  251. thanks so much for the helpful tutorial. As a beginning knitter, it’s invaluable!

    xoxo
    m

  252. Where exactly do insert those blocking wires along the edge? Do you try to go through every stitch? Can you use the wires for something without a straight edge? If so, how would you do that? Thanks for an encouraging tutorial!

  253. Blockhead!!! What a wonderful title and I am wondering……….”what”??? (No, I am not blond, just a goofy old gray haired lady.) I have been afraid to block but after reading your article I do believe I can do it. Right now one of my projects is a lace scarf so when it is finished it will be blocked per your instructions (even though I don’t have the blocking equipment). If I don’t win I will just have to ask Santa for them, he always delivers. I have not gone to your new site tutorial directions yet but am looking forward to testing them. Please add more information articles like this blocking one!

  254. Dear Norah and Cirillia;

    Thanks for the tips on blocking. I very rarely block my garrments, but I haven’t knitted too many lacy ones either. I will definitely give it a try with the next one that I knit.
    Thanks for the info, it is very helpful.
    Edna

  255. I have never blocked a thing, but look forward to trying. I think it will really make a differece in my final product.

  256. I’m the only person I know who still knits and crochets in my area, people are amazed when I admit to it! It’s a bit like admitting to still using a mangle for the washing, or travelling by horse and cart! I love it for its relaxation effects and I get something wearable (usually!) by the end.
    I love the lace scarf and the names of the Soak wash scents seems to be drifting over the ocean – but I won’t be indulging in it, sadly, because I live in Wales, UK! Can’t we have an international competition with a prize that’s available to everyone?

  257. I used to be afraid to block because I was convinced I’d felt my knitting, but now I’m a blockaholic!

  258. My biggest challenge with blocking is where exactly to put the wires through my knitting. Every piece is different I know but what generally is the rule?

    Looking forward to see the follow up articles. Thanks so much! Also, thank you for the chance at the awesome prize. :o)

    B

  259. I’d LOVE to own blocking wires. But here’s a few tricks I, a dedicated blocker, have learned without wires: Roll up a small, very damp (not dripping) turkish-type towel with your knitting, place in a plastic bag and tie tightly. Let sit overnight. In the morning, your project is just right for blocking, yet dry enough that the beach towel you placed on the floor (or guest bed) will not get wet. If you don’t own wires, plan to block on a surface with enough padding to support long pins!

    A variety of straight-sided mixing bowls are wonderful for cap/hat blocking! And steam allows you to stretch synthetic-yarn projects almost to infinity — permanently!!

    If you plan on steaming and are a coward — especially when working with easily melted synthetics — place a very damp, turkish-type towel over your pinned out project. Then, steam away, making sure your steam iron only touches the TOP of the towel.

    Another tool for the dedicated blocker is a PLANT MISTER. For example, place a freshly made tam-o-shanter (tam) on an appropriately sized dinner plate –unbreakable is best!!. Balance on a sturdy water tumbler and mist away. Blot any excess and let dry over night and like magic — a perfect tam! The plant mister also works great when blocking caps/hats on bowls without the use of steam!

    As you all well know, blocking often turns bombs into beauties!! Jo

  260. Great information, and a lovely prize, too! I’m always astounded at what a difference blocking makes, especially to lace knitting. As a blocking surface, I use those “puzzle piece” foam tiles that fit together in whatever configuration you like; I was lucky enough to get a bunch at a dollar store, and they do a great job.

  261. Wow! I’m feeling a sudden surge of “blocking confidence” that I haven’t felt before after reading this info… I’ve always been afraid to block something delicate for fear of mangling it…..thanx for talking a scaredy cat thru it!

  262. I have always dreaded the blocking process, but you have made it look easy with the blocking wires. I am excited to think I may win a set of these!!!

  263. Very informative and helpful refresher for everyone. I am always
    amazed of the results after blocking –
    Glad to see that a kindred knitter has a love for animals also.
    Thanks for the information.

  264. Thanks for the good ideas. I usually block garments by hanging them on my steaming board and using my upright steamer. But this can be problematic – on my last sweater I was trying to push the curved areas flat, and kept steaming my fingers! OW!!

  265. GREAt info…can’t wait to read the follow up post that answers the additional questions!!

  266. I’ve found absolutely every finished item — even felted goodies — benefits from a good blocking. I knit mostly with non-wooly fibers so a good wet blocking is my normal method. Patience in letting the item dry competely and space to do so are the most important investments. If you’re pressed for space for drying, invest in a mesh drying rack and place it over the tub. Make sure you live with someone as willing as you to remove and replace the rack before/after showering. I also do various kinds of felting. A light spritz on a form made from towels or plastic bags for 3-D items or on a towel and board for flat can perk up a felted item.

  267. Where would my knitting education be without you? I’ve learned to join seams, make “b-b-b-bobbles” or whatever those little popcorny things are, and now you’ve expanded my knowledge of blocking. With the help of the blog and the videos I really feel I can handle just about anything. Thanks so much for all your help as I move forward from beginner to intermediate.

  268. Thanks so much for the blocking tutorial! I usually wet block, and would never have thought of adding soak to a water spritzer just to freshen up knits – learn something new all the time!

  269. Very nice tutorial. My question is: is it possible to block smaller? It seems that it’s easy to block bigger, but the smaller thing is what gets me. I’d love to be able to shrink some items (without fulling of course).

  270. First off BEAUTIFUL lace scarf. I am in progress with doing another lacy scarf for my mother. But this one~ I totally want to use for myself!

    As for blocking, this was great information… because I’ve never blocked anything before and Iam going to need to with this lacey scarf… whenever it gets finished. 😀

  271. Thank you making the process of blocking sound so straight-forward and easy.I’ve always felt daunted by the prospect and usually only give my creations a short steam ‘block’, which is not always as effective as it should be. I’ll definitely try to do it as you say.
    Elizabeth

  272. I once dry-ironed a lace wrap (bulky-but seemed like worsted weight acrylic/alpaca). Is that a useless or harmful thing to do? I’ve never blacked anything before…..Does the kind of yarn – wool vs. plant – make a difference?

  273. I’ve avoided blocking as much as possible for many years, but after attending the Stitiches East knitting convention in Baltimore last November I was determined to give my garments the “respect” they deserved. I bought about a years worth of projects, completed two sweaters so far, one each for my daughter and granddaughter, and have to say that blocking them made the difference from “homemade” to “handmade”. No more easy way out for me. Blocking is well worth the time and effort, not to mention the expense involved. Now all I need is the proper equipment to block the items I’ll create with all the beautiful yarn and patterns awaiting my needles.

    Thanks for your wonderful newsletters, patterns and tutorials. You’ve elevated my work immeasurably. Sandy Fleisig

  274. Hi! This is such a coincidence that I opened up this email this morning. I just finished knitting Armay in Latitude and made a mistake and ended up undoing one of the fronts and then reknitted it. When it was finished the front I had reknitted looked all “wrinkly” because I had reused the yarn. I thought, now what do I do??? Then I remembered how my Mother used to block all her knitting – so off to the iron I went – steamed it, smoothed it, and now the sweater all looks to same. I am now making the sweater out of Vogue knitting with the Mother of Pearl Mica yarn for my daughter. She loved the sweater and wants to wear it to her high school reunion this Summer. Hope I can pull it off. I LOVE the Mica yarn!

  275. I must admit that I am almost always too lazy to block anything. Also, I’m never quite shure “HOW” to block a particular item correctly. Your “tips” have convinced me that I should incorporate blocking into all of my finishing. I’ve started my first laceweight project, and it looks like it will take a year to finish, but I will definately block it, as you described. Do you think I can train my dog to effectively check out the blocking board??? I’m sure this is a critical step.

    Jan

  276. I would love to win this prize as I am starting to do lace knitting and I am also go to print this article for my binder as great info.

    thanks

  277. I’ve never used “Soak”. Wouldn’t have an idea where to find it. But, I would be willing to give it a try. My question about it is: I have re-worked a (knitted wool-blend) blanket, found at goodwill, into a cute toddler jumper… and Boyoboy~~ does it ever have the “rumpled” look going on!! Would “Soak” have added benefits than say…woolite…or a fabric softener? Thanks for the pic with the dog… I gave me a better size reference. I had thoughts in my head about the whole “wire set-up” being humongous, clumsy, and cumbersome. Now, I’d love to try (and continue) to use it! Even though I’m in Las Vegas…I do plenty of winter knitting for friends/family back east. And, Christmas is like…… tomorrow!
    Thanks again!

  278. My blocking is rustic – straight pins on the living room rug. This prize would really help. By the way, it is Norah & ME in “if you called Norah & me blockheads…” Thanks for all the good information and free patterns.

  279. Howdy all,

    I have a knit skirt that’s in-progress now and I’m terrified to block it. I think I might mess it up but I’m very impressed by your pictures of the unblocked versus the blocked. I might actually try blocking the gauge sample first and then block my skirt. I do want the chic skirt as opposed to the schlumpy. 🙂 I so love the Berocco website and blog and patterns. You guys inspire all of us to try new things. Thanks for being.

  280. I have never used anything other than plain water for blocking in almost fifty years of knitting. This is the second article in a week that recommends adding a product to the water. What does Soak or any similar product do in the blocking process to make blocking better, easier, or? Would you still use the same product if you are blocking an item for a newborn baby?
    Maria

  281. I love blocking! Thanks for the great tips. I haven’t tried blocking wires, but I really need to. I recently blocked a lace scarf with pins only, and it was so difficult keeping the edges even and not a little scalloped. I’m sure the wires would fix that.

  282. Thank you for the blocking tutorial. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot about blocking since I’m just about done my first big project. This blog post is really helpful!