On The Benefits of Blocking

I rarely post here on the General Forum, but this time I just had to share:teehee:. Recently, there were several discussions here whether blocking is really necessary and for what kind of garments and fibers. Well, I just finished my Ivy League Vest (all links to the pattern and yarn pages on Ravelry are in my thread in Whatcha Knitting) and took photos of before and after blocking to share with those who are still hesitant about this useful process that allows you to wear a fitted and good looking garment. This vest is a Fair Isle knit, which makes blocking even more essential, since it helps to even out the stitches and get rid of puckering areas. It’s also knitted in wool, that has the best potential for blocking, IMHO.
[B]1[/B]. I washed the finished vest in Fiber Wash by Unicorn (thank you, Artlady, for recommending, it’s great:thumbsup:) in warm water to clean it from all the dirt that it had from my sweaty hands:teehee:.
[B]2[/B]. Rinsed a few times with warn water, paying attention not to handle it too much.
[B]3[/B]. Soaked it in Fiber Rinse by Unicorn, squeezed the excess water.
[B]4[/B]. Laid the vest flat on a towel, pinned to desired sizes and covered with another towel.
[B]5[/B]. After a few hours, I pressed it through the wet towel till i saw that the puckering disappeared and the rib bands looked flat and nice.
[B]6[/B]. Let it dry, making sure the cat won’t be sleeping on it:teehee:.

I also made some [B]“before”[/B] (first 2 photos) and [B]“after”[/B] (last 3) photos:

It’s beautiful! You can def. see the difference between the two. It gives me hope for the hat I’m knitting as part of the March KAL! It’s my first stranded knitting and it’s looking a bit “rough”. Plus, I’ve never really blocked anything since I’ve mostly knit with acrylics, so your info was very helpful.

I never did the blocking before because I didn’t think it was [I]that[/I] important but now I see the ways of how important it is. I think I shall do that with my kids mittens so they stay the size I knitted them. (they’re wool and the last pair shrank a LOT)

Thank you! For Fair Isle/stranded knitting it definitely makes a huge difference, that’s why i decided to share. With acrylic you can usually wash and dry in the machine and it’s enough to make the garment look better, but with wool blocking is really the thing.

Blocking helps wool to even out, that stitches become more straight and even and the whole appearance is better looking.

I never understand why people say that blocking isn’t necessary. Anyone remember ArtLady’s wonderful visual from a while back? This is a great visual too and it really helps show why blocking is necessary. I think it’s sort of like a gauge swatch- people just want to get on with it and skip critical steps. People just want to use their knitted item and get on with it!

Tell me about skipping critical stages - I HATE swatching and I still make myself do it, because i still have that huge first sweater from a few years back, waiting to be frogged:teehee:

That is beautiful and definitely a good endorsement for blocking. When I get good enough at knitting to make something for myself, I will definitely block it.