What is "Block"

Okay, Im new at this stuff and have never heard of Block until I joined this site. Now Im worried because whatever block is, I have not been doing it. I am knitting gifts this holiday and need to know if every knitted item, such as wash cloths and hand towels, needs block or just certain ones. What is the purpose. Thanks for your help!:hug: Oh yeah, where do I get it?

Generally only natural fibers need blocking, but some human made fibers can benefit a bit. Here’s an article on it.

http://knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html

Cotton is natural, it needs block as well? Im planning on knitting some wash cloths hot pads and hand towels.:knitting:

Well, normally I would say not to bother since the type of use these objects get requires that they be washed often. However, maybe as a first time to make them look beautiful for gifting it would be a nice thing to do. Not required though. I toss mine in the washer and dryer. :wink:

blocking is a way of treating finished items to ‘set’ the stitches and final shape. It helps to even out tension across the whole piece and straighten out edges. It can be ddone in a number of ways, he simplest being to gently wash or soak in warm water, squeezy out any exess water and then lie flat on a specially made blocking board or somthing absorbent (i use a couple of bath towels) pinning the edges to the proper shape if necassary, and leaving to dry. other methods include lightly dampening a peice with a spray of water or steaming.

It isn’t always necassary, especially for things
that get washed often or do not need to have a particular shape or fit (so a wash cloth as opposed to a sweater) but if you are gifting thing, it can realy make the difference in how they look and make any pattern knitted into them look that much better.
there are a few threads, particualrly in the ‘watcch knitting’ forums that show items before and after blocking and there is often a dramatic difference in how they look.
(examples of a lace scarf the first couple of pictures are after and during blocking the 3rd picture is before blocking, see how it goes from being bunched up to all open and flat?)

Thanks to you both for your help. I understand now and do see the difference in that scarf, thanks for the example.

Also, acrylic yarn won’t block (very well), but you can wash and dry it and get nice even sts. Not everyone blocks even woolish items either, so it’s up to you.