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Knitting Fundamentals: How to Block Your Knitting Project

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What You'll Be Creating

You've carefully followed your pattern and knit and purled with care. You've bound off your work and weaved in your ends. Still, something doesn't seem quite right about your "finished" knitting project. It's curling up and bulging in places where it should lay flat, and some areas are stretched while others are pulled too tight. What can you do to help your knitting project look more shapely and complete? Block it! I'll show you how.


Supplies

Supplies for blocking finished knitting project via Crafttuts
  • Straight pins (the number of pins you need depends on the size of your project. You should have enough to place about one pin each 2.5cm, about 1 inch, around the perimeter of your project)
  • Current knitting project
  • Bucket, sink, or bathtub (just make sure the container you use is large enough to fully submerge your knitting project)
  • Towel (some projects may only need a small hand towel, while others may require multiple beach towels. Just make sure that your project can lay flat on the folded towel without hanging off of the edge of the towel)
  • Warm water

1. Fill Bucket

Whether you're using a bathtub, a sink, a bucket, or some other container, make sure to fill it with just enough water to fully submerge your knitting project. The water should be nice and warm.

Block Knitting Fill Bucket

2. Submerge Your Project

Block Knitting Submerge

Once your bucket is full, grab your knitted project and give it a dunk. You may have to hold it under the water for a while to prevent it from floating back up to the top. Once it has absorbed enough water, it should stay submerged on its own, allowing you to let go.

Block Knitting Submerge

3. Continue to Soak

Leave your project in the water, letting it continue to soak, for about 30 minutes. Larger projects (such as full length sweaters and blankets) may need more time.

Block Knitting Soak

4. Remove Project From Water

After half an hour, carefully remove your project from the water. You should notice that soaking up water has caused your project to grow and breath, leaving very defined stitches.

Block Knitting Remove From Water

At this point, you will be tempted to wring out the water from your project, but fight that urge! Wringing out your project can cause the stitches to twist, pull, and become misshapen. Instead of wringing, carefully press some of the excess water out of your project. It's okay if it's still very wet, that will be taken care of in the next step.


5. Fold the Towel

Lay your project flat on one end of a towel. Then, carefully start making small folds in your towel, starting on the end your project is on, and moving down towards the other end of the towel. Make sure to press down hard with each new fold.

Block Knitting Fold Towel

When the folds have reached the other end of your towel, spend a minute of two really pressing down hard on the towel. This will remove any excess water from your project.

Block Knitting Press

6. Shape the Project

Once you've removed most of the excess water from your knitted piece, carefully unfold your towel and remove the project. Then, fold your towel back up so that it forms a cushioned surface that is large enough to hold your project when it is laid out flat on top of it.

Block Knitting Shape

Tip: If, at this point, you notice that your towel is more wet than dry, it would be a good idea to switch to a new towel. This will help to speed up the drying process.

Now that your project is laying flat on top of your folded towel, carefully mould it into the shape that you would like it to take. Some areas may require a slight stretch while others may need to be pressed back into place. Work your way around the perimeter of your project, laying everything flat as you go.


7. Pin the Project

Block Knitting Pin

When you've finished shaping and everything is to your liking, it's time to start pinning. Take your straight pins and begin working your way around the perimeter of your project, pinning it down (the pins should go down through your project and anchor into the folded towel). Pins should be placed around the outside of the project about every 2.5cm (1 inch).

Block Knitting Pin

Once you're finished, double check your work to make sure there are no unwanted curls, snags, or bulges. Repin areas if necessary.

Block Knitting Pin

8. Remove Pins

It is extremely important that you don't unpin or move your project until it is completely dry. Doing so could undo all of the blocking work that you've just done. It can be agonizing waiting for a project to finish drying, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

For this reason, I almost always give my projects more drying time than I think they really need (I usually give them a whole day to dry). Drying time for knitted creations certainly varies, taking anywhere from hours to days depending on the project size and the type of yarn used.

Well Done! Your Knitting Project is Complete

Once the project is dry, it will finally be totally completed! Just remove the pins and enjoy your work that has gone from curled and misshapen to even and sturdy.

Block Knitting Before and After

Many knitters block their work, while others simply bind-off, weave in their ends, and call it good. So where do you lie on the spectrum? Are you a blocker, non-blocker, or somewhere in-between?

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