The Importance Of Blocking

Blocking knit work — is it important?  Not everyone blocks their work and not every piece of work needs to be blocked.  I’m going to show you why I block some of my items and how and you can decide if this is something you need to be doing with your creations!

If you’re coming to this page as a photographer who has purchased my (or anyone’s) knit items then you can learn how to keep your handmade props looking like new for years to come.  It’s best to treat all hand knit items as hand wash only – this does not mean running them through a delicate cycle or a dryer.  See ‘washing notes’ below for proper handwash instructions.  But if you’ve washed and dried them in the machine don’t fret!  A good blocking will return your knit item back to like-new condition!

First, common rule-of-thumb is that natural fibers require wet blocking in order to properly set the shape and detail.  Acrylic and other man-made fibers can be blocked but it’s mostly unnecessary.  Blocking is typically done by the maker but sometimes issues arise (shipping deadlines or an accidental machine wash) that require the buyer to block their purchase.

What You’ll Need:
– a sturdy foam board (I use large foam puzzle squares from the dollar store)
– pins
– shallow container or sink
– conditioner (there is a product called Soak specifically created for things like this, but you can also use inexpensive, unscented/undyed conditioner)

Fill the sink or container with 1-2 inches of warm (not hot!) water and add a teaspoon of conditioner or Soakwash.

Submerge the knit item(s) and gently squeeze out the air.  If the item is soiled and requires washing then see ‘washing notes’ below; if you’re blocking, take out when saturated.

Gently lift the item from the basin and carefully squeeze the water out – the weight of the water may put stress on the fiber in larger items so do this with care.  To remove excess water roll the knit item in a towel.  Item should be damp just prior to blocking.

13533255_10157149499905565_2355624544268253548_n

straight off needles

TO BLOCK:  Lay your item flat on the foam board and pin to dimensions.  Note:  Newborn bonnets should be blocked to 5″ x 5″

13466026_10157149499195565_4282600875488916838_n

Leave overnight to dry completely.  If you’re against the clock then you can run a blow dryer over it (set on cool).

13516236_10157149499460565_2288797677814719711_n

Don’t remove pins until completely dry.  Item should retain pinned shape (shown above).

And viola!

13516303_10157149499945565_7709257980486261803_n

blocked

Your item is shaped and ready to use!

 

Washing Notes
Fill the sink or container with 1-2 inches of warm (not hot!) water and add a teaspoon of conditioner or Soakwash.

Submerge the knit item(s) and gently squeeze out the air.  If the item is heavily soiled then allow to soak for up to 15 minutes.  If soiled area does not lift out then you can rub against the area with your fingers — refrain from rubbing the fibers together.

Gently lift the item from the basin and carefully squeeze the water out – the weight of the water may put stress on the fiber in larger items so do this with care.  To remove excess water roll the knit item in a towel.

IF YOU ARE NEEDING TO BLOCK THEN FOLLOW DIRECTIONS ABOVE.
IF YOU ARE SIMPLY HANDWASHING, CONTINUE BELOW.

Lay item flat and allow to air-dry.  Unless previously washed in a machine then you do not need to re-block.

Advertisements

Pumpkin Hat — FREE PATTERN

pumpkin1

Pumpkin Hat

You’ll need
– approx. 50 yards of worsted weight yarn
– approx. 5 yards of two alternate colors worsted weight yarn
– 6mm needles (straight) or 14″ 6mm circulars
– scissors
– 4.25mm crochet hook
– stitch marker

Cast on 44 stitches, leaving long tail for sewing.  If working on circs, place st marker and join for round 1 below.  If working with straight needles, continue down to ‘straight needle’ instructions.

Circular Instructions:
Round 1 – [k, k, k, p] repeat around.

Continue repeating Round 1 until hat measures 5″.  DO NOT BIND OFF.  Continue to ‘finishing’.

Straight Needle Instructions:
Row 1 (WS) – [p, p, p, k] across
Row 2 (RS) – [p, k, k, k] across

Repeat Row 1 and Row 2 until hat measures 5″.  DO NOT BIND OFF.  Continue to ‘finishing’.

Finishing:
If worked on straight needles, it’s up to you whether you sew up the side seam prior to or after this next step.  I’ve done it both ways and really don’t have a preference but one might be easier for you than the other.  Use beginning tail from cast-on to sew side.

Pull working yarn tail through all 44 stitches; do NOT pull taught.  Only pull until it tightens as much as it can without putting strain on the yarn.  You’ll have an open space, see photo.
pumpkin3

 

 

Join alternate color 1 (I use brown) to the working yarn by knotting it together.

With crochet hook, you’re going to put one sc around in each purled stitch; you’ll have 11 single-crochets around the top.  You can either join and ch1 to work in joined rounds or continue on working in the round.

Sc around for three more rows (44 total sc).  Then, dc5tog, dc5tog, and finish off.  Sew any open hole at the top closed, weave in end.

pumpkin

With alternate color 2 (I use green) chain 15.  (2sc) in second ch from hook and each ch after — this makes the curly vine.  Then, ch 7.  (sc, hdc, dc, dc, hdc, sc) back down the chain — this makes the leaf.  Fasten off.

Pull both ends of the curl/leaf through the top of the hat near the stem, tie them together on the inside.  Viola!

If you’d like to purchase a pumpkin hat, please check out my Etsy shop!  www.sophiechic.etsy.com