Saturday, 21 December 2013

Blocking a knitted garment

Hello everybody, are you all en route with your Christmas preparations? 
I sure hope so, and I am sure many of you agree it is quite the race! 

My holiday has officially started, I had my last day at work this year on Wednesday. And if I am honest, I don't know how I would get done with all my shopping and preparations if it wasn't for those two extra days off. It also meant I was able to finish my Knit for Victory cardigan!! Yay!

I cast on November 21st, and I never thought it would be finished this fast! But the pattern was very straight forward, and I had very few problems along the way. Don't you just love it when things run smoothly?
I did however have the nagging feeling of knitting a child size cardigan, the pieces just looked SO small, and there was really no way to tell how it would turn out. Other than knitting the darn thing finished, naturally :)

I knew I had to block it, and having never done it before, it was an exciting new experience! 

So here's how I did it:

You'll need bucket, water, detergent, tape measure, towel, pins, cushion and knitted wool string :)
(a bottle of wine is useful too.)

I first finished all my pieces (obviously), and washed them how I would the finished cardi. I soaked the pieces in lukewarm water, using a mild detergent especially for wool. My yarn is 100% new wool. I was careful not to rub or wring it, I just gently swooshed it around in the water and squeezed what water I could from it with my hands. 

Rock and roll :)

Then, I placed the piece on a clean dry towel, rolled it up into a sausage, and stepped on it a few times. Yes, people, I did, just to get the towel to absorb the water. It works like a charm, and the pieces come out nice and flat and just the right amount of damp :)

Take care with the edges!  If you get scallops like these,
it may help using more pins, and just work the shape til it's even.

Next step is to stretch the piece to the right size and shape. My pattern had an illustration with measurements, so I just got out my tape measure, took some measurements of my own body for comparison and started pinning the piece onto my blocking surface. I used a garden couch seat cushion, but any pinable smooth surface will do. Just be careful your yarn will not bleed any color onto your pinning surface, it can do that when wet. I used large upholstery pins, but I am sure regular pins are just as useful. If they are without heads, pinning them at an angle away from your piece will keep it from slipping off.

Much better even edge.

Stretch and pin the piece into the shape and size you want, but make sure any edges are nice and even. When wet the piece is springy, but once dry it will hold the shape it dried into, so if you don't care for scalloped edges, do spend some extra moments getting it all even.
Also, make sure to match the length of the sides where front pieces and back piece meet, and also the shoulder area, so that sewing together goes smoothly.

Not too shabby:)

Just to give an idea on just how much larger you can make your pieces (Thank Gawd!!), here's my sleeves pre and post blocking! WOW!!

From straight jacket to wearable in a couple of hours :)

When your happy with the result, leave to dry :) Repeat with all pieces.
Now all's left is to weave in all those loose ends, and assemble your garment (which I have), so stay tuned ;)

In the meantime, don't forget to relax a bit and enjoy the Christmas spirit!
Merry Holidays to you all ;)


  1. Wow, what a difference between pre and after blocking!

    1. Yes, I was very happy to see that! I still could have stretched it more, so it is good to know the possibilities ;) Merry Christmas to you!

  2. That is such a lovely shade of blue. It makes me think a bit of certain morning glory flowers I've seen before over the years.

    Happy knitting and the very merriest of holiday season wishes, dear gal!
    ♥ Jessica

    1. I have never really been into blue, I wanted green, but the shades in the store just weren't right. But now I kind of love it ;)

      Hope you're having a splendid, dressed up Christmas ;)

  3. One learns something new and thoroughly interesting everyday and this is mine for today. Not being a knitter myself, I'd only heard of this technique in passing here and there. How lovely to know better understand the process and have a visual of it.

    Big hugs & scores of thanks for your wonderfully nice blog comment today,
    ♥ Jessica