2009/01/21

Quick notes on blocking;

Hi all,

I'm late on this, (not my usual MO!) but I thought I would cut and paste a few relevant pieces of info from my blocking report that I had to do for Masters Level 1. (to which I am still waiting word back on how I did...)

Just add this to your info on blocking things...there is NO one right way, nor is there a standard rule. This is just what the books say to do...take what works for you and leave the rest!

I hope this helps.

CHEERS to those finished scarves!

****

Blocking Basics


Wool and most wool blends require shaping and stretching into shape. Shetland wool types will “plump up” when washed and care needs to be taken when drying it. Most wool can be blocked by pinning into shape and then misting with cold water.

Alpaca, camel, cashmere, angora and other ‘hairy’ animal types can be wet blocked, being careful not to wring, stretch out or twist. Gently supporting the garment while transferring it wet so it doesn’t stretch with the weight of the water in it. Suggestions for stockinette stitch garments in alpaca fibers include “beating” the piece with a ruler, or yardstick, to relax the fibers. They will fall into place evenly and dry uniformly after pinning or shaping it into place.
Silk requires special care and label reading is important. Silk commonly needs more water when blocking other than a light mist.

Some stitch patterns can be enhanced by blocking them. Lace patterns will be defined, points made sharper, and overall shape can be improved. Shawls beautify with blocking after they are completed and are a must. Draw out points in the lace, pinning all the corners.
Materials needed for blocking includes, but aren’t limited to;
a flat surface that is water safe, non-rusting pins, blocking wires (for lace) absorbent towels or a thin towel, portable fans, spray bottle, wool wash or soak, and a ruler for measuring, a steam iron or steamer. Don’t forget the pattern with size requirements.

Methods used for blocking includes wet blocking, damp towel, steam blocking, and spray blocking.

In wet blocking, the item is completely saturated in tepid water with or without a brand name wool wash or soak, and then the water is gently removed by pressing into absorbent towels. Never twist or wring to remove the water. Care must be taken when removing your wet items from the water so excessive stretching from the water weight isn’t an issue. Pinning the item starting from the center and working out, on a flat surface to specific measurements given and then drying would finish this process. Portable fans may be used in high humidity to speed drying.

Damp towel method includes laying out the pieces of a garment and laying a damp towel over them for a few hours. Towels should be dampened or wet lightly, not to soaking. Rolling the knitted piece up in a heavy towel and then run through a rinse/spin cycle in a washing machine, placing it in a plastic bag for a few hours will also achieve a uniformly damp piece ready for pinning and shaping. This method also works well to “freshen” a sweater or take away bagginess at the elbows.

Steam blocking involves pinning out your pieces first to the sizes and measurements desired. With an iron set on steam, gently move iron over the knitted pieces without touching the fabric. This would flatten the knitting, leave a slight shine and for some fibers, melt the piece. Using a thin damp towel over the piece to prevent burning or touching the garment is suggested as well. This would also create more steam. Do not remove knitting until completely dry.

Spray blocking (or pin blocking) uses a spray bottle and non-rusting pins or T pins. Laying out the pieces flat, right side up, begin pinning out the desired width and lengths to match the measurements given in the pattern. Never pin out the ribbing unless directed. Mist heavily with water and allow to dry completely before carefully removing pins. Holes left by the pins need to be considered, so remembering to place pins carefully in the edges without separating the yarn fibers is a good rule to follow.

Things to remember or keep in mind when pinning your garments; lace can stretch out generously to open up a stitch pattern, gently pinning, patting, and re-pinning is sometimes necessary, always starting in the center of your garment pinning, and remembering if you stretch too much on one side, it may cause the other side to pull-so adjustments may be needed. Measure once, measure twice is a good thing to do EVERY time.

5 comments:

Hobbygåsa said...

Oh, thank you! I will take my time and read this thoroughly. I have blocking wires and will use them. Im not sure if to damp or soak the scarf. Have to read and think. It will take some time before I can show a photo - this will take time to decide lol:.

twistedinstitches said...

I think the spray method would work best for my scarf. The total immersion into water is tricky because your risk stretching it out too much because of water weight on the soaked garment.

Rolling the scarf in dry towels would help removed some of that before laying it out though...

The fibers relax and soften after blocking...so that is a plus too.

I have never blocked a full lace garment though (swatches don't count in my book)...this will be new territory for me too.

varun said...

nice stuff!!Shawls and Scarves

Beth said...

I have tried 3 times to find out how to join this KAL but no one answers me.
I am on Day 6 but would love to jump in.
I am on ravelry.
My email is dandballan@ns.sympatico.ca
Thanks
Beth

twistedinstitches said...

Hi Beth!

I have NOT finished my scarf yet as my mother is seriously ill. But I do know that the others have finished their scarves. I am not the administrator of this blog, Hobbygaasa is, please PM her and see if she can add you in as a partcipant. If you already own a copy of the pattern and have yarn ready to knit up, we would love to see your progress and post pictures if you'd like!