How and Why of Blocking?

I looked first in glossary to find a video on blocking , BUT I couldn’t find one. I’ve heard somewhere you should block lace, what does that mean and why do you do it?

You block items to allow your work to relax a little and your stitches to even out some. It also lets you adjust the dimensions of the work. For instance, I just blocked a sweater sleeve and stretched it so it was longer and narrower. In lace, when you knit the item, the pattern is often not clearly defined when you’re finished, what with all the YOs and decreasing. So you block it to stretch out the pattern you worked so hard on. Here’s a good visual.

How to block: You lay your work out on a large flat surface that is out of the way and won’t be disturbed. You can lay your work out on a towel, a styrofoam board, those kiddie foam mats, an ironing board, pretty much whatever you like and is big enough. (I don’t reccommend cardboard though, absorbs the water and warps.) Then you can either spray it down with a water spritzer, get it wet under the faucet, use a water gun :), however you want to get it THOROUGHLY damp but not really wet or soaking. Then you lay the work out like you want it to end up and pin the edges (with sewing pins, hat pins, etc.) every so often how you want it so that it will dry in that form. Then you leave it until it is BONE DRY.

Best of luck!

The Knitting Curmudgeon also has a good tutorial on her site. (It’s a PDF, so you’ll have to get Adobe reader if you don’t have it.) It’s written in quite an amusing tone (but it does contain a swear-just so you know).

Blocking a Lace Shawl

Instead of “laying” out the item, can you throw in the dryer with a dryer sheet or something to get it softer? Yes, the yarn is washable (checked the label) Thanks

You can do that, but like campbellmom said, part of the purpose of blocking is to adjust the dimensions of your work or “open up” a lace pattern. Blocking can be tedious, but for doing a sweater, for example, blocked sweater pieces are MUCH easier to seam up.

Having said that, you can try it, and see if you like the results. If not, you can always block it later. :slight_smile:

If the yarn is acrylic or superwash wool, it doesn’t block well, so putting it in the washer and dryer substitutes for that. It evens out the stitches, but you can’t really stretch out the piece anyway. If you do knit lace with acrylica yarn on a larger needle, that helps to open up and enlarge the pattern.