do you need to block or will a little soak work?

I a little famous in local knitting circle for saying “it’ll block out!” But I really believe that. You would be amazed how many knitting imperfection will just block out. Now blocking is not going to move a yarn over two spots over so it will line up with it’s other yarn overs but the look and feel of many hats, shawls, sweaters, any knitted fabrics can me improved by blocking.

When I say blocking, what I really mean is soaking the item in a sink of tepid water rather than hard blocking with wires and pins. There is a time and place for hard blocking (very fine lace patterns come to mind) but most of the time a little relaxing bath make everyone happy.

So here is my method of blocking (or soaking).

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1. Start with a sink of tepid water. Not too hot but not to cold either. You can soak with or without a wool wash product like SOAK or EUCALAN. Some times I do. Some times I don’t. 
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2. Add item to water.
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3. You will probably have to push it down in the water making sure it is completely soaked.
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4. Then let it hang out in the sink for about 15 or 20 minutes. The water will usually change color. Don’t worry it’s not fading the color.
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5. Let the water drain pulling the item to the front of the sink away from the drain. You might want to repeat steps 1 through 5 again. One school of thought is that water should be clear. If you used a wool wash, you will want to make sure all the suds are out of the item. Push out a much water as possible. Think of kneading bread – just gentler.
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6. Gently remove item from sink and transfer to a towel. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to keep the item in a ball. If you open it up, the weight of water can misshape the item until it is much drier.
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7. Lay it out on an old towel. It is still going to have a lot of water in it.
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8. Roll it up in the towel. Make sure the room has good air circulation. I usually add a fan. And make sure the cat or dog or toddler can’t get to it.
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9. Let it hang out like this until almost dry – very lightly damp. You might have to change towels so the item dry and releases more water. 

Once it is almost dry, you can work with it. I usually take it to the guest room and lay the item out on the bed, shaping it to the exact measure of the pattern. Oh who are we kidding??? I just make sure it looks close to a square or rectangle or triangle or whatever shape it is supposed to be. And with a fan turned to low and the door, I leave it until it’s good and dry. Then wear and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “do you need to block or will a little soak work?

  1. Cathy Slater

    thanks for the tips…I’ve never thought about leaving the item all rolled up until it’s almost dry….does it take forever????

    Like

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