Let’s start with why you should block your knitting. “The Knitting Answer Book” by Margaret Redcliffe summarises it into five reasons:
- Reduce curling, straighten edges and make sewing up easier.
- Get rid of slight variations in length or width between two pieces that should match.
- Open out a fabric, such as lace, to show off the patterning.
- Smooth the surface of the knitting and make the stitches more even.
- Adjust the shape of the finished garment or reshape it after washing.
You can see how this is demonstrated in my before and after photos of the my Asherton Reversible scarf below.
There are many ways to block knitting depending on the item you’re blocking and what yarn you use. The most common ways are misting, steaming and wet blocking. The method below is wet blocking. I’m by no means an expert but I have successfully blocked several knitted wool scarves and shawls this way. I hope this tutorial helps beginner knitters overcome the fear of blocking and guide them through the procedure . It really isn’t that hard! :)
HOW TO BLOCK A KNITTED SCARF
You’ll need wool detergent, a sink, washing machine, pillow case, a large flat surface like a bed and rust-proof pins.
Fill tub or sink with warm water and add a little wool detergent. (Check the bottle label for exact measurement.) Soak scarf in warm soapy water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, roll the scarf gently while still in the water and pick it up in your hand. Make sure to support it well. Place aside.
Get your pillowcase ready. Roll the scarf underwater and pick it up in your hands. Squeeze as much water out as possible. Place rolled-up scarf into a corner of the pillowcase (I use a bolster case). Tie a knot so that the scarf is squashed into the corner and will not move around. Set washing machine into spin cycle. Spin on fast speed.
Carry the pillowcase to a large flat surface like a clean bed. Take the scarf out and unroll it onto the bed. Carefully stretch the wet knitted scarf out onto the bed to about the width and length that you want. You may wish to stop at this point if you are satisfied with the way it looks and leave the scarf to dry completely.
However, you may need to pin the knitted scarf in place to really show the pattern and get the right size. This is especially so in lace knitting. Using rust-proof or dressmakers’ pins, pin along the edges of the damp scarf. Use as many pins as needed to keep the edges straight and even. Dry the scarf completely before removing pins. You have successfully blocked a scarf!
Asherton Reversible Scarf
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