Smooth Operator

DSC_8859

Don't you just love it when your knitted item looks smooth and well finished? I always strive for that and this means that the job is not done when your item comes off of your needles.

This morning I pulled out a bunch of Lana Gloves I had finished knitting a few weeks ago. I could have just seamed them and be done with it if it weren't for my compulsive need to deliver a smooth and slick looking item. Call me the smooth operator.

Take a look at my Lana gloves right off the needles. See how "frumpy" they look? As if they just woke up and rolled out of bed?

DSC_8788

The stitch pattern used in this item, makes it "frumpy" like that. Nothing I did wrong, or nothing you did wrong. The allocation of ktog, ssk and kfb stitches will pull the knitted fabric into this "frumpy" state. Lace knitters out there are nodding their heads right now.

There is a way to whip those babies into shape and that is called "blocking". There are several methods of blocking and the one I always use is referred to as "wet blocking".

Wet blocking

Wet blocking means that you submerge your knitted piece entirely in water. Let me show you how I do it. 

You've got your towels and finished items ready? Let's go...

DSC_8794

Fill your sink with cold water and submerge your piece entirely. Very gently squish your piece around. Careful now! VERY GENTLY... We don't want our piece to felt.

DSC_8796

I usually leave them in the water for about 5 minutes. That way I am sure the whole piece is soaked. 

Take your piece very gently out of it's bath and squeeze as much water out as you can. Do not wring.

Have a towel ready to lay your piece on. It looks so pathetic like that. Don't despair. Soon enough it will show its full beauty.

DSC_8801

Lay your piece flat and gently pull it into shape:

DSC_8802

Your piece is still pretty wet and we are going to press the excess water out by enveloping it entirely in the towel:

DSC_8806

Press really firmly! Use both your hands and your weight. See the imprints of my gloves in the towel? 

DSC_8811

Transfer your pieces to a dry towel and lay them flat to dry:

DSC_8815

Mind you, this is just a little simple piece. When you knit a lace shawl, you will have to use pins in order to fully show the pattern:

FSB2

The before and after

Before, my pieces looked like they just rolled out of bed:

DSC_8788

and after wet blocking they look neat and smooth:

DSC_8859

What is your favorite blocking technique?

Wet blocking is not the only blocking technique. Some knitters steam block, others just spritz some water on their piece and there are techniques I am not even aware of.

Do you have a certain blocking technique that is your favorite? Share with all of us, we are dying to know! 

Thank you for reading and until the next entry...

Photoshoot Lana5

 

 

Comments

Wet blocking with wires is

Wet blocking with wires is the best thing ever. Especially for lace3. But my current item only wanted a light steam blocking. Different items require different finishing, and you just have to figure out which one needs which...

So true...

I agree, different items require different finishing... Hmmm... those blocking wires are really a hot item!

I agree with Jellidonut that

I agree with Jellidonut that blocking wires are the best thing invented in a long, long time. Like you, I looked in yarn and craft stores for them to no avail. When my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I took him to the computer and showed him, and he said "Order them." :-)

The website is www.customknitsmfg.com and then click on "Blocking Equipment." I purchased the large blocking board and the packet of the blocking wires.  I love the blocking board and the wires were like magic when I blocked the shawlette I recently finished! There are also flexible ones in the packet that can be used for blocking curved items, like sleeve caps, etc. It's a small family owned business and the service was great and the woman pleasant to deal with. FYI: If you order both the board and wires, they are paid for separately and there are two shipping charges because they are shipped from two different places. The large board is large, and heavy, but folds up and slips into crack for easy storage. Can't encourage you enough to consider both. :-)

Oh wow!

Judi, thanks a million for this information! It's great to share our sources :)

I ♥ blocking wires

They are one of the best things I ever purchased for my knitting. I wet block with Soak (http://www.soakwash.com/), then let the wires do all the work.

Blocking wires

Susan, were did you buy your blocking wires? In the yarn store?

You know, I have never come accross those in yarn stores so I wondered if knitters get it some place online.

I usually apply a drop of Eucalan in my water but ran out!

It's magic!

The magic of blocking is one of my favorite parts of knitting!  I often dread the task on complex lace projects, but then the results are so amazing I forgive the achy back and the hours of pinning. =)

It sure is magic...

Hi Amy, 

Yes, it sure is magic. I take my time with blocking and really see it as a part of my creative process. To see a pattern fully reveal itself after blocking, takes my breath away. 

And then to realize that it came from your own two hands...empowering!

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.