emily explains

Emily Explains: Blocking Your Sweater

My Helen cardigan is finished, and now it’s time to block the sweater! Today I’m going to share some tips for blocking your knits. In our office we have a top-loader washing machine we use to soak and spin our knits. Before I began working here, I was hesitant to put anything hand made into a washing machine, but overtime I have learned how to use them to my advantage. You can really only do this technique with a top-loading washer—the front-loading washers don’t let you stop the cycle in the middle, which is how we manage to soak things for a good while before spinning out all the water.

Pick Load Size and Water Temperature

With our washing machine, the water does not get “hot” at all. So choosing hot is okay for us. It is a good idea to feel the water before putting your sweater in to soak just in case. If you are at all worried go with cold or warm water. We choose a small load size because today we are just washing Helen so we don’t need too much water.

Turn knob to light and pull knob out to START


Lift the lid to see water filling in. You can close the lid and wait until you hear the water stop filling. If you want to use a drop of your favorite wool wash – throw some in now while the water fills up.


Feel water to make sure it is a gentle temperature.  When the basin is full of water, at least enough to cover the knitting, push the knob back in to STOP the washing cycle—you don’t want to agitate the knitting. Place sweater in water and let SOAK. Come back in an hour or so.


Without pulling the knob out, turn the knob to drain and spin (or the equivalent on your washing machine). Pull knob out to start. Listen to make sure that no water is being added to the wash (just in case).

It is amazing how the spin cycle really gets all the water out of your sweater! Washing your sweaters by hand is fine—of course—but when a sweater is really wet it can get heavy and distort in shape. Spinning the water out in the machine is such a great trick to avoid this!

Lay damp sweater out and gently pat into place on towel.


Now the hardest part is waiting for your sweater to dry so you can wear your it!

Happy Making,




8 thoughts on “Emily Explains: Blocking Your Sweater

  1. I am so glad you posted this information piece. I just finished Helen and was wondering about how to get all the water out without stretching it down to my knees. I have only knitted one other piece and blocked it (a small cowl) and when I soaked it in the sink and tried to block it was so stretched out. I took great care in picking it up out of the sink and laying it on towels but it still really grew. Great info. for a new knitter! Thanks a bunch.

  2. Machine spinning is great for knits! This is how I wash my quilts too – soak in the washer and spin out the water. If they really need soap, add a tiny bit and agitate by hand to mix, let soak and then spin. Repeat with clear water. No agitation.

    1. Hi Pamela! You sure can use the washing machine to wash your Remix yarn. You can do this with any yarn, actually—the part where washing machines and yarn don’t mix is if you agitate them. But if you follow the instructions on Emily’s blog post to make sure that your washer doesn’t get to the agitation cycle, you can wash any project using this technique.

      Donna, who runs our pattern support department in the office, loves to knit with Remix and will even throw her Remix projects through the regular washing cycle with other clothes and has no problems. You can always use a swatch to test out a knitted fabrics durability in the washing machine. Hope this helps!

  3. I am making the Evrenden shawl using Berroco Summer Silk yarn. Are there any special instructions on how to block this project when complete?

      1. Thank you. I was unsure how the silk worked out. I think I will pin the lace border but not the main body.

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