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.

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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″

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

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

And viola!

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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.

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