Hi again! This issue we’re
going to wrap up blocking.
Back in the fall of 2010, we talked about blocking
in general and
last issue I went into a bit more detail
a lace shawl to shape. In
this issue, we’ll touch on blocking knitted pieces to
prepare them for seaming. If you haven’t already read
the previous two, please take a look – I won’t
be repeating myself about:
checking whether the yarn tolerates the
making sure you don’t turn yarns made from animal
fibers into a nice piece of felt
how to remove excess moisture from the fabric
choosing a blocking surface
When you finish knitting something that needs to be seamed
together, you will – if the yarn you have knit with tolerates
being put through the blocking process – want to block before seaming.
We’ve talked about several very good reasons for blocking
in the previous issues – the most obvious reason it that
is just makes the knitting look pretty.
The most important reason for blocking knitted pieces before
seaming is to transform the knitted pieces from lumpy, curling
… into pieces that resemble the schematic of the pattern.
Blocking will ensure that the points of contact
for seaming – the
shoulder and side seams for example – will
be of an equal length. This will make seaming both easier to
do and to do well.
(A word of warning: if your gauge or row count is off and
the finished pieces are more than about one size off from the
measurements in the schematic, blocking is unfortunately not
going to help that much.)
So you’re finished binding off. Grab a ruler, some rust-proof pins and your schematic …
and head to your blocking surface with your damp knitting
or a steam iron if you’re going that route. I wrote more
about types of blocking and a bit about potential
blocking surfaces in the columns I mention
above, so be sure to check those out!
Start by pinning the piece down at one corner, then use the
ruler to figure out where the next corner should be pinned.
Continue inserting pins about every two inches or so between
the two corners. You may want to place the pins even closer
together if the stitch pattern is openwork or lacy or in areas
where the knitting would tend to curl. Then move onto the next
And onwards around the entire piece.
Use a bottle of water to spray the pieces if they dry out
while you’re blocking.
When you finish, you should have all the pieces neatly laid
A special thank you to Laura Prescott for letting me borrow
this last picture! These pieces are blocked
out on an actual blocking board – which has measurements
built in – conveniently eliminating the need
for an old beat-up ruler.
After the pieces are completely dry, remove the pins – make
sure you get them all! – and starting sewing your garment
up. I wrote about seaming using a mattress
stitch way back in the spring
2004 issue. If
you haven’t been conscientious about blocking before
seaming before, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it
is when all the little stitches have been
whipped into shape!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
has recently begun a full time job as a public
health nurse and finds this cutting rather
severely into her knitting-and-watching-the-farm-animals
She did, however, bring home an Icelandic
sheep from the Southeastern Animal Fiber
Festival. He and the alpacas are getting
along fairly well …most of the time.