Blocking question

Now the least fun part - putting the pieces together. Everything I read says to block before seaming. My yarn is 100% acrylic. Is steam the best blocking method for that yarn? Any suggestions would be most welcome. I really don’t want to mess this up!

Acrylic doesn’t really take to blocking. I would put it together as is, then wash it.

Really? No blocking?

What’s the point of washing it? Like in the washing machine??? That REALLY makes me nervous!!!

Acrylics are generally washable and dryable. Check the label. While they’re in the wash, they stretch out, and while they’re in the dryer, they shrink back. Dry it on gentle, take it out when it’s slightly damp, and you will have essentially blocked the acrylic.

I have some mostly-acrylic washable/dryable sweaters and they turn out lovely.

Wool and other natural fibers stay where you block them. Acrylic may for a moment, but won’t hold the shape.

I have a 75% acrylic 25% wool. How would you treat that?


That’s what my sweaters are made from–two for me and several for kids. They wash wonderfully.

So if a sweater turns out to narrow, for instance, and you steam block it to try to stretch it out, there’s no point doing that if it’s acrylic because it will go back to the original shape when it dries?

Do I need to wash/dry it at all if it’s clean?

PLEASE listen to Ingrid.
Do not steam-block acrylic. Ever.
Nine chances out of ten you will kill the fabric, leaving it limp, flabby or even melted.

Some acrylics mimic wool beautifully, but they are completely different in chemical composition. Wool will stretch somewhat when steamed, and will hold the new shape when dry (at least for a while), but even then, you can’t block a Medium sweater into a Large. Steaming is really done to perfect the fabric – to make it look more even and to fine-tune the shape, not to change the size. It won’t do a thing to upsize acrylic. If you’ve knitted an acrylic sweater that’s too narrow, undo the side seams and add a side panel, or give it to someone smaller.

As for acrylic blends such as Plymouth Encore, which is 75% acrylic and 25% wool, treat them like the dominant fiber. In other words, if it’s mostly acrylic, treat it like acrylic: machine wash and dry, no steam.

And yes, it’s a good idea to wash a newly-knit acrylic sweater before wearing. It may look clean, but all that yarn has been picking up dirt and oil from your hands while you’re knitting (and maybe the cat has been sitting on it, or the yarn has been rolling around on the floor). There won’t be any nasty surprises because you washed and dried your swatch before you began knitting and you know how the yarn behaves, right?

Of course I didn’t wash and dry a piece before I made the sweater!

I can do that now, though!

I’m so glad I asked and got excellent advice from you folks. I really don’t want to mess this up. It’s not too small. I was just asking as an example if you could stretch an acrylic sweater by blocking it. I think this sweater will fit its recipient (my sister) perfectly.

Thanks so much for the words of wisdom.

I knit a cardigan that was too small around the hips. Hrrrmmmph.
Anyway, I caught it before seaming up the sides and arms. Here is what I did to save the sweater: I knit two gussets…the length of the sweater from the bottom edge to the armpit. Started by casting on 20 stitches…worked the border seed stitch pattern as called for…then started decreasing the width as I knit the length…a gentle decrease…not too severe…until by the time the armpit would start…there was only one stitch of the gusset left. Just tied it off like when ending the last cast off stitch!

Then I seamed Side A of the gusset to Side A of the L front…and seamed Side B of the gusset to Side B of the back.

Did the same for the other side seam. So instead of a plain ole seam up the sides… you see an extra span of ‘knitted fabric’. It works!

It really really worked out! Saved the sweater! FYI: and it really really DOES NOT LOOK LIKE A TENT! :teehee: Has a little bit of a "swing coat’ effect. OK by me. Better than frogging the whole thing…or chucking it in my sweater closet, never to be seen again! The yarn was Debbie Bliss SoHo…did not want to waste it as closet decor!

Here is a photo of the sweater, viewing the “new” gusseted side seam!
(used mattress stitch of course, so look closely for the “two” side seams!

What a fantastic save!! It looks wonderful! :notworthy: :notworthy:

Wow! What a terrific job!!!

Beautiful, and beautifully done.

Thanks for the kudos, ladies! I recovered another 3/4 sweater-coat project same way…but the gusset was far less dramatic of an increase. Just needed to add 3 inches around the hips. Knit a 1.5" gusset for each side seam. It worked. I could button the cardigan all the way down without the buttons popping! :eyebrow:

I guess you know…I am a PEAR SHAPED lady. Petite from waist up…not so petite in hip area.

I am always guesstimating about size! If I knit a L or XL…I think it will compensate for my hips…then the garment ends up being so HUMONGOUS I have to scrap it…or frog it. What a waste of time. :pout:

So now I have this gusset trick up my sleeves…can knit to fit my bust…and then hip area can be addressed later if needed.