Knitting a blanket can be a labor of love, requiring hours of time, effort, and skill. Once your blanket is complete, it can be even more rewarding to see it fully finished and perfectly shaped. This is where blocking comes in. Blocking is the process of shaping and evening out your knitted fabric, and it can make a world of difference in the final appearance of your blanket.
Blocking a knitted blanket may seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques and a little patience, it can be easily accomplished. In this essential guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of blocking your blanket, from preparing your materials to putting the finishing touches on your work of art.
One of the most important steps in blocking a knitted blanket is selecting the right blocking method for your material. Different yarns and knitting techniques may require different methods, so it’s essential to choose the one that will yield the best results. In this guide, we’ll explore several popular blocking techniques, including wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking, and discuss the pros and cons of each.
So, whether you’re a seasoned knitter looking to perfect your latest creation or a beginner eager to learn the art of blocking, this guide has you covered. With these essential tips and tricks, you’ll be able to transform your knitted blanket into a masterpiece that will be cherished for years to come.
Choosing the Right Blocking Method
When it comes to blocking a knitted blanket, there are several methods you can choose from. The right method for you may depend on factors such as the material of the blanket, the size of the blanket, and your personal preferences. Here are some popular blocking methods to consider:
- Wet Blocking: This method involves soaking the blanket in water and then gently shaping it to the desired dimensions. Wet blocking is great for natural fibers like wool, as it allows the fibers to relax and reshape. However, keep in mind that wet blocking can take longer to dry.
- Steam Blocking: If you’re short on time or have a synthetic fiber blanket, steam blocking can be a good option. Using a steam iron or garment steamer, hover over the blanket without applying direct pressure. The steam will relax the fibers and allow you to shape the blanket to the desired dimensions.
- Spray Blocking: Spray blocking is a quick and easy method that is great for blocking small knitted items. Simply mist the blanket with water until it is damp and then shape it to the desired dimensions. This method is ideal for delicate materials that may not withstand wet blocking.
- Pinning: If you prefer a more precise blocking method, pinning can be a great choice. Lay the blanket out on a flat surface and use blocking pins to secure it to the desired dimensions. This method is especially useful for lace or intricate stitch patterns that require precise blocking.
It’s important to note that not all blocking methods are suitable for every type of knitted blanket. Always check the care instructions for your specific blanket and test a small inconspicuous area before fully blocking. Remember that blocking is an essential step to make your knitted blanket look its best and achieve the desired size and shape.
Preparing the Blanket for Blocking
Before you can begin the blocking process, it’s important to prepare your knitted blanket properly. Taking the time to prepare the blanket will ensure that the blocking results in a professional-looking finished product.
Here are the steps to follow when preparing your knitted blanket for blocking:
- Wash and dry the blanket: Start by washing your blanket according to the yarn manufacturer’s instructions. Use a mild detergent or wool wash to gently clean the blanket. After washing, gently squeeze out the excess water and lay the blanket flat on a clean towel. Roll up the towel with the blanket inside and press down to absorb more moisture. Unroll the towel and allow the blanket to air dry completely.
- Inspect and mend: Once the blanket is dry, carefully inspect it for any loose stitches, holes, or other imperfections. Use a yarn needle and matching yarn to mend any issues you find. This step is crucial to ensure that the blanket looks its best after blocking.
- Measure and mark: Use a measuring tape to measure the dimensions of your blanket. Mark the corners and any other relevant points using stitch markers or safety pins. This step will help you ensure that the blanket is blocked to the desired size and shape.
- Prepare blocking supplies: Gather all the necessary blocking supplies, including blocking mats, rust-proof blocking pins, and a spray bottle filled with water. Make sure you have enough space to lay out the blanket for blocking.
Once you have completed these steps, your knitted blanket will be ready for the blocking process. Taking the time to properly prepare the blanket will make the blocking process easier and ensure that your finished blanket looks its best.
Wet Blocking vs. Steam Blocking: Which is Best?
When it comes to blocking a knitted blanket, there are two main methods: wet blocking and steam blocking. Both techniques have their pros and cons, and which one is best for you depends on your personal preferences and the type of yarn you are working with.
Wet blocking involves soaking your knitted blanket in water and then shaping it to the desired dimensions. This method is especially effective for natural fibers like wool, as it allows the fibers to relax and settle into their final shape. Here are some key points to consider:
- Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and a small amount of gentle detergent.
- Immerse the blanket in the water and gently squeeze out any air bubbles.
- Let the blanket soak for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the blanket from the water and gently squeeze out the excess moisture. Do not wring or twist the blanket.
- Lay the blanket on a clean, dry towel and roll it up to remove even more moisture.
- Unroll the blanket and carefully shape it to the desired dimensions, pinning it in place if necessary.
- Let the blanket dry completely before unpinning or moving it.
Steam blocking involves using steam to relax the fibers of your knitted blanket and shape it to the desired dimensions. This method is generally faster than wet blocking and is particularly useful for synthetic or delicate yarns that may be damaged by water. Here are some key points to consider:
- Fill a steam iron with water and set it to the appropriate setting for your yarn. Make sure to read the yarn label for specific instructions.
- Hold the iron a few inches above the blanket and release bursts of steam onto the fabric.
- Using your hands, shape the blanket to the desired dimensions. Be careful not to burn yourself with the steam.
- Let the blanket dry completely before moving it.
Ultimately, the choice between wet blocking and steam blocking depends on the type of yarn you are working with and your personal preference. Wet blocking is ideal for natural fibers and allows them to fully relax, while steam blocking is quicker and more suitable for synthetic or delicate yarns. Whichever method you choose, blocking your knitted blanket will give it a professional and polished finish.
Blocking Supplies You’ll Need
When blocking a knitted blanket, you’ll need a few essential supplies to ensure the best results. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:
- Pins: Stainless steel pins are commonly used for blocking. They should have a smooth surface to avoid snagging the yarn.
- Blocking Mat: A blocking mat is a large, flat surface that provides a padded and stable base to block your blanket on. You can purchase pre-made blocking mats or use an old mattress protector or foam puzzle mat.
- Tape Measure: A tape measure will help you measure the dimensions of your blanket and ensure its shape and size meet your desired specifications.
- Spray Bottle: Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water to lightly mist your blanket before pinning it down. This will help relax the fibers and make the blocking process easier.
- Towels or Absorbent Cloth: Have a few towels or absorbent cloths on hand to gently remove excess moisture from your blanket during the blocking process.
- Labels or Pins: Optional, but useful for labeling different sections of your blanket or marking points for measurements. They can easily be attached to the knitting or pinned onto the blocking mat.
- Sturdy Surface: Ensure you have a sturdy surface, such as a table or the floor, to place your blocking mat on. This will provide stability for the blocking process.
By gathering these blocking supplies, you’ll be well-prepared and equipped to block your knitted blanket effectively.
Step-by-Step Guide to Wet Blocking
Wet blocking a knitted blanket is an essential step to achieve a professional finish and to ensure that your blanket retains its shape. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wet block your knitted blanket:
- Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can damage the yarn.
- Submerge your knitted blanket in the water. Gently press it down to ensure that all parts of the blanket are fully soaked.
- Add a mild detergent or wool wash to the water. Use a detergent that is suitable for hand washing delicate garments or specifically designed for wool products.
- Let the blanket soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow the detergent to penetrate the fibers and help remove any dirt or oils.
- Gently squeeze out the excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the blanket, as this can cause it to lose its shape.
- Lay out a clean, flat surface. A blocking mat or an old towel works well for this purpose.
- Place the blanket on the surface. Smooth it out gently, making sure that it is in the desired shape and size.
- Pin the edges of the blanket to the surface. Use rust-proof T-pins or blocking wires to secure the edges and corners of the blanket.
- Leave the blanket to dry completely. This can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, depending on the thickness of the blanket and the humidity of the room.
- Remove the pins or wires. Carefully lift them up, making sure not to disturb the shape of the blanket.
By following these steps, you will be able to wet block your knitted blanket effectively and achieve a professional finish. Remember to always check the care instructions for your specific yarn and adjust the blocking process accordingly.
Step-by-Step Guide to Steam Blocking
Steam blocking is a popular method for blocking knitted blankets because it is quick and effective. Follow these step-by-step instructions to steam block your knitted blanket:
- Gather your materials: You will need a steam iron, a clean towel, and a flat, heat-resistant surface such as a table or ironing board.
- Prepare your blanket: Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly mist your knitted blanket. This will help the steam penetrate the fibers and make the blocking process easier.
- Set up your work area: Place the clean towel on your flat surface to protect it from the steam and moisture.
- Start steaming: Turn on your steam iron and set it to the appropriate temperature for your yarn. Always check the yarn label for proper care instructions.
- Lay your blanket: Gently lay your knitted blanket on top of the towel, making sure it is flat and even. Smooth out any bumps or wrinkles with your hands.
- Steam the blanket: Hold the steam iron a few inches above the surface of the blanket and move it slowly across the fabric. Steaming the blanket will help relax the fibers and allow them to reshape.
- Focus on problem areas: Pay extra attention to any curled edges or areas that need shaping. Use the steam iron to target these areas directly, applying gentle pressure with your fingertips if needed.
- Continue steaming: Move the steam iron across the entire surface of the blanket, making sure to cover all sections. Take your time and be thorough.
- Let the blanket dry: Allow your knitted blanket to dry completely on the flat surface. This will ensure that the fibers set in their new shape.
- Enjoy your blocked blanket: Once the blanket is dry, remove it from the towel and admire your beautifully blocked creation. Your knitted blanket is now ready to be used or gifted!
Note: Always double-check the care instructions for your specific yarn and take extra precautions if working with delicate fibers. Steam blocking is generally safe for most knitted blankets, but it is best to err on the side of caution to avoid damaging your project.
Tips for Successful Blocking
Blocking is an essential step in the process of making a knitted blanket. It helps to even out stitches, relax the fibers, and give the blanket its final shape and size. Here are some tips to ensure successful blocking:
- Read the instructions: Before you begin blocking, carefully read the instructions provided with the pattern or yarn. Different fibers and stitch patterns may require different blocking techniques.
- Choose the right tools: Invest in blocking tools such as blocking mats, rust-resistant T-pins, and a tape measure. These tools will help you achieve accurate and consistent results.
- Prepare your workspace: Find a clean and flat surface where you can lay out your blanket for blocking. Make sure the area is well-ventilated and away from direct sunlight, as some fibers may be sensitive to heat and sunlight.
- Wash and soak your blanket: Before blocking, wash your blanket according to the yarn’s care instructions. After washing, soak your blanket in a basin of lukewarm water with a mild wool wash or detergent for about 15-30 minutes to relax the fibers.
- Remove excess water: Gently squeeze out the excess water from your blanket without wringing or twisting. Roll the blanket in a clean towel and press down to absorb more moisture.
- Pin the blanket: Lay your blanket flat on the blocking mats and use rust-resistant T-pins to secure it in place. Start at the center and work your way outwards, pinning the edges first and then the interior. Make sure the blanket is evenly stretched and the edges are straight.
- Use measurements: Use a tape measure to ensure that your blanket is blocked to the desired dimensions. Measure the length, width, and other relevant areas to make sure they match the pattern’s specifications.
- Let it dry: Leave your blocked blanket undisturbed until it is completely dry. This may take a couple of days, depending on the fiber and humidity level in your area. Avoid moving or touching the blanket while it is drying to maintain its shape.
- Finishing touches: Once your blanket is dry, gently remove the T-pins and admire your beautifully blocked creation. If necessary, you can lightly steam iron the blanket on a low setting to smooth out any remaining wrinkles.
Following these tips will help you achieve professional-looking results when blocking your knitted blanket. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the blocking techniques that work best for you and your project.
How to Care for a Blocked Knitted Blanket
Once you have successfully blocked your knitted blanket, it is important to take proper care of it to maintain its shape and appearance. Here are some tips to help you care for your blocked knitted blanket:
1. Hand wash or gentle cycle
It is recommended to hand wash your blocked knitted blanket using a mild detergent. If you prefer to use a machine, make sure to choose the gentle cycle with cold water.
2. Avoid harsh chemicals
Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or fabric softeners when washing your blocked knitted blanket. These can damage the fibers and affect its overall quality.
3. Dry flat
After washing, gently squeeze out excess water from the blanket and lay it flat to dry. Avoid hanging or wringing the blanket, as this can cause stretching or distortion of the blocked shape.
4. Avoid direct sunlight
Avoid exposing your blocked knitted blanket to direct sunlight for extended periods. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the colors and weaken the fibers.
5. Store properly
When not in use, store your blocked knitted blanket in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it in plastic bags or containers, as this can trap moisture and lead to mildew or odors.
6. Avoid sharp objects
Avoid placing your blocked knitted blanket near sharp objects or rough surfaces that can snag or tear the delicate knit. Keep pets with sharp claws away from the blanket as well.
7. Spot clean when necessary
If there are small stains or spills on your blocked knitted blanket, spot clean them immediately using a mild detergent or a stain remover specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Blot the area instead of rubbing to prevent spreading the stain.
8. Brush gently
If your blocked knitted blanket becomes slightly fuzzy or pills over time, gently brush it with a soft-bristled brush or a lint roller to remove any loose fibers or pills. Be careful not to pull or tug on the knit.
By following these care tips, you can ensure that your blocked knitted blanket remains in top condition and lasts for many years to come.
What is blocking in knitting?
Blocking in knitting is a process of shaping and finishing a knitted piece by wetting it, stretching it to the desired dimensions, and letting it dry in this form. It helps to even out stitches, relax the yarn, and give the piece a professional and finished look.
Why is blocking important for a knitted blanket?
Blocking is important for a knitted blanket because it helps to open up the stitches, straighten the edges, and give the blanket a smooth and polished appearance. It also helps to resize the blanket if needed and ensure that the overall dimensions are consistent.
How do I block a knitted blanket?
To block a knitted blanket, you will need to soak it in cool water with a gentle wool wash, then gently squeeze out the excess water without wringing or twisting the blanket. Lay the blanket flat on a clean towel and shape it to the desired dimensions, gently pulling and straightening the edges if necessary. Allow the blanket to air dry completely before removing the pins or weights used to hold it in place.
Can I block a knitted blanket without soaking it?
While soaking the knitted blanket is recommended for best results, you can still block it without soaking if desired. Instead, you can mist the blanket with water using a spray bottle or steam it lightly with an iron on a low heat setting to relax the fibers. Proceed with shaping the blanket and allowing it to dry as usual.
Do I need special blocking tools for blocking a knitted blanket?
Special blocking tools such as blocking mats, T-pins, and blocking wires can be helpful for blocking a knitted blanket, especially if you want to achieve precise dimensions and straight edges. However, if you don’t have these tools, you can still block a knitted blanket using a clean towel, rust-free pins, or weights such as books or cans.
How long does it take for a knitted blanket to dry after blocking?
The drying time for a knitted blanket after blocking can vary depending on various factors such as the thickness and fiber content of the yarn, the ambient humidity, and the airflow in the drying area. On average, it can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours for a knitted blanket to dry completely after blocking.