Knitters like to knit. We like to make stuff. Actual stuff. That we can wear. That's the part we like. Knitting. Everything else is kind of a waste of time, or so it seems. Swatching, finishing, blocking. Especially blocking. We all admit that a lace shawl needs blocking to open up the yarnovers and even out the decreases, but a sweater? Why would you want to spend time blocking sweater pieces or scarves? What's blocking ever done for you anyway? I hear you. But if you'll give me five minutes, I'll give you five good reasons to block your knitting.
Blocking evens out your stitches and . Amazing, but true. Your knitted fabric is not at its best right after it's rolled off your needles. Some stitches lean this way or that, and some may be a smidge looser than their neighbors. During blocking, you saturate the fibers with water which allows the tension to relax and redistribute itself more evenly.
Blocking tames the edges. Stockinette fabric curls, and blocking makes it stop -- for a time anyway. Blocking forces the edges to dry flat in place, and they remember to stay that way for a good long while. Steam blocking provides a more long-lasting solution, if your fabric can take the heat
Blocking allows you catch mistakes. Blocking is your last look at your sweater pieces before you seam them. If you've knit two left fronts, or done one long sleeve and one 3/4 sleeve, you'll see it when you block. I know it seems impossible to have that happen, but trust me, it does. And if you find a mistake, it's infinitely easier to fix before your pieces are neatly sewn together
Blocking ensures your pieces are the size and shape you want . Blocking is an opportunity to adjust any small variances in your sweater pieces. Don't like the look of ribbing pulling in around your hips? Stretch that section out to be the same width as the rest. Wish your fronts were a bit larger? Stretch the fabric and pin it to where you want. You can block your sleeves a smidge longer, or correct a gauge that's slightly too tight.
Blocking makes finishing better. When your finished pieces are nice and flat, with edges that match up neatly, the actual seaming is going to go so much more smoothly. Not to mention reasons #3 and #4
I know I said 5 reasons, but here's a bonus. Blocking makes your fabric nicer. The warm water encourages the fibers to bloom and become softer and more lovely. But you already knew that because you blocked your swatch, right? Of course you did.
Blocking can seem like a big undertaking but like everything, the right tools make it a snap. I'm super excited to have new and improved Cocoknits Knitters Block. This great kit has everything you need to block anything you knit. They're coming in next week, but if you pre-order or purchase by 31 July, you'll save $10. Read more about it here, and order your kit so you'll be sure to get one!
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table - you are always welcome here.