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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Blocking give a finished piece the extra "wow". I've heard of people who "press" or iron finished garments..but honestly nothing beats blocking. When I make a "pieced" sweater..I block each individual piece to the measurements, given in the pattern. As I finish each piece I block it, it makes seaming so much easier, and really shows the stitch definition of every item I have ever knitted.

There are blocking boards that you can buy..and will pay dearly for..but you don't have to!

Two very inexpensive alternatives are available. Foam tiles (that fit together like puzzle pieces to make an exercise mat) these are available at most sporting goods stores and even come with a nifty little carrying case. You can also find these tiles at toy stores...yes they are wild colors (to form a play mat - they work just as well and you can pick them up on sales pretty cheap). Yoga mats are also great! When not in use you just roll it up and hold it into a roll with a velcro strap. When "in use" you can actually slide the whole thing under a bed!

While you can do the mat "on the cheap" don't be cheap when it comes to blocking pins! Only "non rusting" stainless steel should be used.

Blocking is a very important step when it comes to hand knit garments. As your garment/items or pieces dry on the board, you can start another project or another piece of your garment.

Don't skip this step though. For Christmas I sent my Godmother (don't forget that I'm in my mid 50's) a hand knit Alpaca scarf in a lovely pattern called "Brook's Column of Leaves". I obtained the yarn from a woman that raises Alpaca, and process' the yarn herself (from shearing to spinning to dying). She created this lovely color called "Hawaii" and I knew my Aunt would love it.

My Aunt didn't wait for Christmas day to open the package..she immediately emailed me to thank me and ask how to care for it. I told her, "just measure it now and when you wash it by hand, roll it in a towel to remove the excess water and block it to the original measurements"...my Aunt has been knitting longer than I have been alive and never blocked a single thing. She called me and said she realized that the blocking really makes the knitted pattern "pop".

Most of us love to knit/crochet and are "impatient" to finish an item...take that extra step to "block". Rolling of edges can be greatly controlled by blocking and as my Aunt said it really makes the stitches/pattern "pop".
 

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I love having this information on blocking. I've crocheted for years but am new to knitting. (having a ball with it!) But, like your aunt, I've never blocked one thing. Even though I knew it would help the project look nicer it always seemed like such a troublesome thing to do. But the way you describe it sounds "do-able" When I finish the baby sweater I'm knitting now, I'm going to do exactly as your post suggested.
Thanks for the info-
 

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Okay, now I'm looking for stainless steel blocking pins. But I can't find any. Can you tell me where to look? I live "in the sticks" and do alot of online shopping, so perhaps you can give me a link?

Thanks again-
 

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My newbie ignorance is showing again. Do you use anything special to wash or wet the item when blocking? I think since I am just learning to knit it would be a good habit to get into from the get go, so I appreciate all the info on this I can get.
Thanks, Kim
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I generally do not machine wash hand knits, with the exception of superwash wool socks.

Wash the item by hand with wool shampoo, rise thoroughly, squeeze out as much water as possible DO NOT WRING! Lay the item on a heavy bath towel and roll up, then gently squeeze the roll so that the towel absorbs the water out of the knitted item (for heavy items you may need to do this twice). Then lay the item(s) on your blocking board and carefully pin to the measurements. Simply allow it to "air dry".
 
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