Thursday, December 4, 2008

Knit Blocking for Folks Who Sew

I like to knit. I go through periods where I like it more than others, but in general, I always have something on the needles. I especially like to make sweaters. Scarves and hats are okay, but I really enjoy the thrill of a new cardigan, even when making something for Io.

Here is the newest masterpiece (not only does my camera hate taking pictures of knits pinned to a plastic-covered grid, but it totally hates this color):

I enjoy the blocking process, because that is what turns the wonky, wadded up thing that I just knit into a beautiful, fine fitting sweater. (This particular sweater is Loppem by Norah Gaughan; more info when it is finished blocking.) Sweaters that are knit in pieces are blocked in pieces and then assembled into the sweater shape. Knit-in-one-piece sweaters are blocked before I weave in all the ends. Here's how I work my magic:

  1. Finish knitting all the pieces of a sweater. (Actually, if the sweater is really big, I knit and block the body, and then knit and block the sleeves.)
  2. Get the pieces damp. I do this one of two ways: 1. Roll the pieces up in a wet towel (or towels) that have been through the washer and let set over night. (I coordinate doing my laundry with this one.) (This tip is courtesy of Bonne Marie Burns.) 2. Fill a large bowl with lukewarm water, put the pieces in to get completely wet, and then throw them in the washer on the spin cycle for a few minutes to get all the water out. (I only do this when the piece is going to need a lot of blocking help. It is also how I wash my knits, with the addition of a little Eucalan.)
  3. Because I sew, I have one of those big one inch-gridded cardboard thingies than many of us lay on the floor and cut our patterns on. (See picture above.) I also have large plastic sheets lying around because that is just the kind of person I am. I lay the plastic over the cardboard and pin the knits to the cardboard using the grid to help me lay the pieces out in the proper dimensions. It's not fancy, but it always works and I didn't have to buy anything new to do it.
  4. Let the pieces sit until dry and then sew together (If applicable,) weave in ends, and do whatever finishing needs to be done. Ta da. The End.
In sewing news, I was very lazy while Io was down from college for Thanksgiving, so I have nothing to show. I am working on a new tweed A-Line skirt (what else?) and I have some new patterns and fabrics that will be making their way to this blog shortly.

1 comment:

Tany said...

Thank you for sharing this very useful info. I also block my sweaters on my dress form (when I'm using natural fibers and knitting on the round - no seaming). I damp the entire piece using wet towels and I let it rest on the dress form overnight.