Blocking

WMarksII's picture

Ok Gang, let's hear about your favorite ways to block...all techniques...all types. Let's hear from the lace knitters and the sweater dudes.

Personally, (and yeah, I think I'm man enough to admit this in public) blocking has always been something I should do and should know how to do, but probably don't do as well or know as much as I should. Up till now, I've been one to haul out the steamer and steam the living crap out of something, stretching this way and that until I think it's right...only to find out about 40% (OK...70%) of the time I've got to redo it.

My OCD Mother (god love her) bought me a quilter's press pad, and I think I'm in love. More grid lines than you can shake what ever it is you have to shake at. And I've also recently invested in blocking wires and WOO HOO if that's not better than sliced bread.

And pairing the two together almost make for a steam powered, t-pinned, perfect edge love affair of something I really hate to do.

Come on...let's hear about what you do.

scottly's picture

I've only blocked one shawl

I've only blocked one shawl so far and I was really freaking out about it but when I finally did it and saw what a huge differece it made in the look of the garment I was amazed. I actually thought the whole process was kind of fun. I followed the directions from Stitch'n Bitch. It took quite a few terry cloth towels however.

Scott

RickeScott's picture

Working a counterpane

Working a counterpane blanket now. I'm using cotton. Will I need to block the pieces before I stitch it all together? If so, any hints to blocking cotton? Thanks.

MMario's picture

To some extent, it depends

To some extent, it depends on the pattern. For cotton you should be able to get away with washing and drying flat - you might need to pat them into shape a bit. If it is a pieced LACE pattern then you might need some more serious blocking.

MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!
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Dru, It depends on what

Dru,

It depends on what you've knitted up. Everybody I know either has blocking forms for their sweaters, socks, etc. OR they just wash them (in Eucolan please), roll them in a towel, walk on it to get as much water out as possible then lay them out on the bedspread or, if you're animal-less, on the carpet. As they dry, tease them into shape by pulling them.

Shawls and other confections of lace?

Well, depends. If the pattern is one that doesn't call for severe dressing (there ARE patterns that are NOT designed to be tortured but to be left in their poofy wonderfulness) then I wash it and walk on it as above, then lay it out on my dining room carpet and pin it into the size it's supposed to be and let it dry - usually for about 2 days (in Winter) 1 day (in Summer 'cause I have the A/C on.)

If it is a true lace piece, you need LOTS of Weaponry. I have about 4 boxes of T-pins and STILL don't feel I have enough. But, I move the dining room table into the entry hall and lay out my "pretty Damp" shawl/scarf/stole. Then I start pinning the thing to the carpet in a very logical, methodical way. The finished garment will gain nearly 30 - 50% (sometimes more) in size after dressing. When I block, I REALLY BLOCK! I am merciless.

When I give something like this to someone, I always enclose 2 boxes of T-pins for them to reblock when they end up having to wash it every 5 years or so. My shawls don't usually find themselves at Mickey D's.

HTH!

Alles Beste,
~MIke in Tampa (where it is SOOOOOO delicious out that he did a 30 mile bike ride this weekend.)

   आदि लक्ष्मी 

~Der Gefährliche Schal-Stricker

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TomH's picture

When I block lace, I'm also

When I block lace, I'm also merciless. I block (using T-pins) on an 8 foot by 8 foot blocking board that I made from four (2' x 8') rigid insulation panels. The problem I have, at this point, is finding the space for such a huge blocking board in my current, small apartment. So I only block when I'm leaving for the weekend. Kind of a hit and run blocking technique.

kiwiknitter's picture

I blocked my first jersey

I blocked my first jersey and couldn't see any appreciable results. After that, I steamed the jumper pieces and still didn't notice any change so I quit blocking at all. I find that my knitting tension is quite even and that my pieces are spot on for sewing together (not that I do that any longer). What I do now is simply wash the garment (either in the front loader or by hand) and let it dry. This evens up any errant stitches and works beautifully.

My knitting is totally tubular!

Chris Vandenburg's picture

I'm with Klamathsteve.......

I'm with Klamathsteve....... I let the dry cleaner do it for me. That way I get all the crud out of the item that I knit into it and get it blocked at the same time.

For small items I do wet-block them at home. I had a friend of mine make me a custom window screen that fits across the bathtub (plastic mesh of course for the screening) and let 'em dry away!

Howdy from Texas....... Chris

klamathsteve's picture

Blocking can be a drag, the

Blocking can be a drag, the yarn harlot has even pinned a project on the carpeting.
I own a dry cleaners, I block stuff everyday. Some days with an appointment I will block an item with the customer standing right there, that way it turns out perfect. No one has more steam than a dry cleaner, also we have vacuums that take the steam out of a garment.
Get to know a good dry cleaner and ask if they will block.

Steve

MMario's picture

Would dry cleaners block an

Would dry cleaners block an 80 inch diameter shawl?

MMario - I don't live in the 21st Century - but I play a character who does.