Summer Sweater Knit Along - Blocking Party with guest Rebecca of Nook!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

if you guys are anything like me blocking may seem like a strange and wondrous world.  having ever only blocked items like baby sweaters and hats/shawls doing a giant adult sweater seemed a tad on the scary side for me.  i'm a bit nervous...i'll admit it.  this sweater has taken me forever to finish and now that i have i really don't want to mess anything up.  so to help us wander through the world of blocking i turned to my knitting extraordinaire pal rebecca from the blog/shop "nook".  she's going to give us the rundown & the lowdown for blocking our precious new sweaters.


i've mentioned rebecca here just the other week when she guested on versus for her jardain coaster tutorial but i'll dare to repeat it again - this girl is the fastest knitter i have ever seen.  she can also simultaneously knit and.....type, cook, bake, chat on the phone and i suspect do anything whilst knitting.  she's a machine and i love her for it.  her spirit for knitting is super contagious and she always has the biggest grin on her face when she's doing what she loves.  
if you guys want to catch the knitting bug too and you live in victoria make sure you sign up for some of her classes at "the cloth castle" - this fall is about jane richmond.  you can learn how to make hats, sweaters, cowls...you name it...becca's got a class for it all using jane richmond's awesome, kick ass patterns!

now let's get those sweaters ready for a dip...here's rebecca....


thanks soo much shannon, for having me here! i have so enjoyed this KAL as i know we all have, and have learned much along the way. bonus... we've got ourselves a sweater for the fall and winter season! woohoo! no better way to kick off the knitting season with one of our own handmade lovelies wrapped around us :)  and with that being said...

hurrah!!!! you've done it! you've chosen your pattern, you've researched your yarn.. swatched and swatched again... and after hours and hours of knitting, ripping, knitting again.. it's done!!! but not quite...  this last step (or next to last step) is quite important, and i'm always surprised to find that many don't want to bother with it. or don't know what it is, or how to do it...

but blocking your knitting will make your life easier! trust me.

basically, what blocking does for your knitting is this.. it flattens your stitches, making your knitting even. it will help to hide any little blips in tension that you may have had, and will give your fabric drape. (depending on how it's knitted). basically, what blocking does for your knitting is what ironing does for your clothes. note... DO NOT IRON your knitting.. no no, i'm just making a comparison. it just smooths out the wrinkles, and gives your knitting a beautiful finished and completed work of art.


honestly, you worked so hard on your project, this last step is maybe a tiny bit time consuming, as you have to be patient for it to dry, but it's oh so worth it.
so now that i've convinced you to take that final step and block... here's what you need to know:)

one thing i'd like to mention is if your sweater is knitted in pieces, before joining the sleeves, sides, etc.. you should block your pieces beforehand. your edges will lay flatter, and joining your stitches, or picking up sitiches are much much easier to do.

Source: flickr.com via Rebecca on Pinterest

your blocking tools

Source: google.ca via Rebecca on Pinterest
  • blocking pins (it's probably recommended to get a rust-proof kind, as then you won't be surprised with little rust marks after many uses with your pins... and you can get them at your local yarn store)
  • towels (nice big ones)
  • spray bottle (depending on the method of blocking you choose to do)
  • blocking boards (also optional)
  • measuring tape
  • steam iron
blocking methods

ok you've got your tools, now what? well the fiber that you chose to knit with will determine the method you should block. why? because if you think about it, wool is sturdier and can handle a much stronger blocking, like a wet blocking, where as silk should never be wet blocked because it is so fragile when wet, and a spritz blocking would fare better...


so here's the dish. there are three basic ways to block wool garments:
  1. wet-blocking. this is achieved by pretty much soaking your garment in water. i use either the sink or the bathtub, depending on how large the project is. in this case, sweaters... well in the tub it goes! to press the water out of the fabric, gently squeeze the sweater. do not wring it.. as wool is fragile when wet, and you can damage your hard work! i like to roll it gently in a towel, and then step on it. change towels and then do it again if needed. you can get a lot of moisture out that way! then you'll pin your sweater to the proper dimensions (why you needed your measuring tape) and let it dry. you can pin it to a blocking board, or like me.. i just use a towel on the carpet..  because you totally soaked your sweater, this method takes the longest to dry.. usually a couple of days. 
  2. steam-blocking. what you'll do here is pin your garment out to the desired size and shape wrong side up, then grab a pillowcase that you've made damp. set that on top of your knitting. then using a hot iron, on a steam setting.. gently press down on the pillowcase, forcing steam out. continue to do so until your pillow case is dry.
  3. spritz-blocking. this is best for fine-gauge wools. pin your beauty out to the desired dimensions, then using your spray bottle, spritz it until it's damp.. but not soaking.

ok. you've got it wet....now what?!

just make sure you've got your pins ready, and your measuring tape. you now want to pin your sweater to the size that you've been knitting it to. i use a towel on the carpet, and pin it to that. some people also like to put down a garbage bag, it's really up to you.. you just want to have your knitting pinned to the right measurements, and then left alone. remember, if you've fully soaked your sweater (wet blocking) this will take the longest to dry... a couple of days, probably. I also like to grab a fan and just have it blowing on the sweater. i check it every once in a while too... just to make sure it's drying evenly.

got it? easy peasy! now want to know which method will suit your lovely sweater best? look no further, dear friends! i have found the most helpful and wonderful article on knitty.com. it's great! it goes into wonderful detail on which blocking method is best for which fiber you have knitted with. fibers touched on here include linen, cotton, silk, wool, cashmere, merino, alpaca, mohair, 100% human-made fibers, and blends. there's a great chance that the fiber you've knitted your awesome sweater with has been covered in blocking techniques, so go on over and take a peek.

click here for more info on blocking! and once you've blocked your lovelies, wear with pride! congrats!  thanks soo much shannon, for having me here as your guest! and thanks so much for hosting this kal! i had a blast, and can not wait until the next one!

thanks for helping us out rebecca! you rock girl!  i'll be blocking my new sweater today...cross your fingers for me peeps!  

 you can find all things rebecca (nook) here:



here's to the last week of the KAL ladies! i cannot wait to see all of your sweaters next week!  we've got some awesome prizes for you guys to win so make sure to enter your pics to the luvinthemommyhood flickr group with the tag "KAL" to be eligible for prizes.  

*all conversations about the KAL can be found in our luvinthemommyhood ravelry group thread here.  you can find all the previous KAL posts here.  it's never too late to join in!  you can also friend me on ravlery.com under luvinthemommyhooddon't forget to email me if you blog about your KAL project, i love seeing how yours is going.


and don't forget to show our lovely summer sweater knit along sponsors some love!!

the lovely elisa is offering luvinthemommyhood readers 20% off in her gorgeous shop!! use code LTMH2011 at the checkout of her etsy shop.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the blocking tips! I am going to be blocking some time this week, my Stephen West KAL is finally finished! Just need to make some room and do it. How perfect with your tips.

    Thanks, Arika

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  2. Ohhhh, I cannot wait to see the cowl on Sat!! It's gorgeous Arika! You did such a great job!

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  3. Arika! I'm soo excited to see your cowl! can't wait!!! I promise not to steal it ;)

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  4. i'm a big fan of steam blocking - i don't have the patience to wait for my project to dry.

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  5. Vanessaverbeeck@hotmail.comSeptember 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Tomorrow I will start blocking! Thanks for these tips and I will show you the result soon. This has been my first KAL, and I really really enjoyed it!
    Vanessa

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  6. YAY for blocking!! This is exactly what I needed... not that I'm anywhere close enough to done on my sweater... Just really good to know! YAY for crafty tips!

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  7. What a great post, Nook! It doesn't sound like such a big deal anymore.

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