blocking: why and when to do it

Hi knitters,

I’ve just completed a project and I’m going to block it because that’s what all the experts recommend! Is this something that you do all the time? Does it make a big difference to your garment? When do you do it, before or after the garment is assembled?

Thanks a bunch!

The how depends on the yarn you use. For acrylics, washing and drying according to the yarn label is enough. You might use steam blocking if appropriate for the yarn.
For wool, I like to block pieces before assembling. It evens out the sts and gives everything a professional finish. Either wash, spin and pin out or pin out and spritz.

Normally the things I make with acrylic or acrylic blends i wash and dry. They are usually for toys or babies so they need to be able to wash easily. I do lightly block even acrylic for gifts just to make them look nice, but they don’t need to be really.

Wool shawls and sweaters do get blocked.

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Thanks very much, Jan and Salmonac!

What about cotton?

Most of the cottons I’ve used I’ve just washed and dried. Always check labels.

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I saw an article on YouTube that said acrylics can and should be steamed blocked if it is a garment. The only caution given was to make certain the hot iron does not come into direct contact with any fiber containing acrylic.
So I clean the item, usually in the washer, spin gently to remove most of the water . Then I pin it and cover with a damp towel(s) and use my iron to go over the entire item until the towel(s) are as dry as I can get them.
I allow the knitted garment to finish air drying after I remove the towel.
I have a lot of compliments because my gift doesn’t look hand made.
Of course I never bother with toys or knitted towels.
So, with acrylic, try both blocking and not blocking. You may feel blocking acrylic is not worth the time and effort involved…or maybe some things are.
Good luck and keep knitting.

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Blocking is only effective if you have used a natural fibre to complete the project. there are tutorials online that say and show you how to steam block projects made with manmade fibres, what they don’t tell you is that in order to steam block acrylic type fibres is that you are in fact just stretching the fibre and if you over block the yarn is damaged and in some cases melted. You should only block projects that instruct you to do so, and follow the instructions to do it to the letter, to avoid damaging all your hard work.

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Thanks very much!