Ways to Block Your Knitting Project

Ways to Block Your Knitting Project

Blocking is an essential step in finishing a knitting project. It helps to shape and perfect your final piece, giving it a polished and professional look. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced knitter, learning how to block your project properly is crucial to achieving the desired outcome.

Blocking involves manipulating and shaping your knitted fabric using water and sometimes heat. It allows you to even out stitches, open up lace patterns, and help your project retain its shape. This process is particularly important for items like sweaters, shawls, and blankets.

In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of blocking a knitting project. We will cover everything from preparing your work for blocking, to choosing the right blocking method, to properly drying and finishing your piece. By following these steps, you will be able to transform your knitted masterpiece into a beautifully finished work of art.

So, whether you’re about to block a lace shawl, a cozy sweater, or a delicate baby blanket, this guide will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to take your knitting skills to the next level. Let’s dive in and learn how to block a knitting project!

What Is Blocking in Knitting?

Blocking is an important step in the knitting process that helps to shape and set the final size and appearance of a knitted project. It involves wetting or steaming the finished knitted piece and then allowing it to dry while in a stretched or pinned position.

There are several reasons why blocking is necessary:

  • Size and Shape: Blocking helps to resize the knitted piece to the desired measurements. It can help to even out any uneven stitches and ensure the project is symmetrical.
  • Finishing Touches: Blocking can smooth out the fabric and give it a more polished look. It can also help to define stitch patterns, lacework, or cables, allowing them to stand out more.
  • Durability and Wearability: Blocking can help to relax and soften the fibers, making the fabric more comfortable to wear. It can also improve the drape and flow of the fabric.

There are different methods of blocking depending on the type of fiber and the desired results. Wet blocking is commonly used for natural fibers, such as wool, while steam blocking may be more suitable for synthetic fibers.

Before blocking, it is important to read and follow the care instructions for the yarn used in the project. Some yarns may require specific blocking techniques or temperature settings to avoid damage.

Overall, blocking is an essential step in the knitting process to achieve a professional and finished look for your project. It can transform a piece of knitting into a beautifully shaped and well-finished garment or accessory.

Why Is Blocking Important?

Blocking is an essential step in the knitting process that can greatly improve the final appearance and fit of your project. It involves gently reshaping your knitted piece using water or steam to relax the fibers and set them in the desired shape.

Here are some reasons why blocking is important:

  • Evening the stitches: Blocking helps to even out any irregularities in your stitches, making them more consistent and balanced. This is especially beneficial for lace or cable knitting projects where stitch definition is important.
  • Correcting the size: Blocking can help adjust the size of your finished project to match the intended measurements. This is particularly useful for garments or accessories that need to fit properly.
  • Giving shape and drape: Blocking helps to give your project a more professional and polished look. It can enhance the drape of a shawl or scarf, and add structure and shape to garments like sweaters.
  • Opening up lacework: Lace patterns often appear scrunched up or compacted before blocking. Stretching and pinning them during the blocking process helps to open up the lacework and showcase the intricate design.
  • Setting stitches: Blocking can help set stitches in place, particularly when working with natural fibers like wool or alpaca. This ensures that your stitches maintain their shape over time.

By blocking your knitting project, you can achieve a more professional finish and bring out the true beauty of your work. It is an essential step that adds the final touch to your handmade creations.

Preparing Your Project

Before you begin the blocking process, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials and make sure your project is clean and free from any loose threads or knots. Here are the steps to prepare your project for blocking:

  1. Wash your project: If your project is made from natural fibers like wool or cotton, it’s recommended to wash it before blocking to remove any dirt or oils. Follow the washing instructions for your specific type of yarn.
  2. Remove excess water: After washing, gently squeeze out any excess water from your project. Avoid twisting or wringing the fabric, as this can cause stretching or distortion.
  3. Spread out your project: Lay your project flat on a clean towel or blocking mat, making sure it is in the correct shape and dimensions. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases.
  4. Secure the edges: Use T-pins or blocking wires to secure the edges of your project. This will help maintain the shape and prevent it from stretching or shrinking during the blocking process.
  5. Pin out any lacework: If your project has lace or intricate stitch patterns, use pins to open up and define the lacework. This will enhance the overall look and drape of the finished project.
  6. Measure your project: Use a tape measure or ruler to check the dimensions of your project. This will help ensure that it is blocking to the correct size, especially if you are following a pattern.

Once you have completed these steps, you are ready to move on to the next stage of blocking your knitting project.

Gather the Materials You Will Need

Before you begin blocking your knitting project, you will need to gather the necessary materials. Having everything prepared ahead of time will make the process much smoother and more organized.

Here is a list of the materials you will need:

  • Pins: You will need a set of blocking pins to secure your knitted item into place while it dries. T-pins or blocking wires are commonly used for this purpose.
  • Blocking Mats: These foam or cork mats provide a soft surface for pinning your project. They also allow air to circulate, aiding in drying.
  • Tape Measure: Use a tape measure to ensure that your project is blocked to the correct measurements.
  • Spray Bottle: Fill a spray bottle with water to mist your knitted item before pinning. This will help relax the fibers and make them more pliable.
  • Towels: Lay down several towels to absorb excess water while your project is drying.
  • Blocking Wires: If your project has long straight edges, such as a shawl, blocking wires can be helpful for achieving even tension.
  • Blocking Pins: In addition to T-pins or blocking wires, you may also need regular sewing pins to secure any loose or intricate areas of your project.

Note: The specific materials you need may vary depending on the size and type of your knitting project. It’s always a good idea to read through the blocking instructions for your particular pattern before starting.

Clean Your Knitting

Before blocking your knitting project, it’s important to clean it first. Cleaning your knitting will remove any dirt, oils, or chemicals that may be on the yarn and could affect the final result of your project.

1. Read the yarn label: Check the yarn label for any specific washing instructions. Some fibers may require hand washing, while others can be machine washed.

2. Hand wash: If the yarn requires hand washing, fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics. Gently agitate the water to mix in the detergent.

3. Soak the knitting: Place the knitting in the soapy water and press it down gently to submerge it fully. Let it soak for about 15 minutes to allow the detergent to penetrate the fibers and lift any dirt or oils.

4. Rinse: Drain the soapy water and refill the sink or basin with clean lukewarm water. Submerge the knitting again and gently rinse it to remove any soap residue.

5. Squeeze out excess water: Carefully press the knitting against the side of the sink or basin to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the knitting, as this can stretch or distort the fibers.

6. Absorb moisture: Lay the knitting flat on a clean, absorbent towel. Roll the towel and knitting together, pressing gently to absorb more moisture.

7. Air dry: Lay the knitting flat on another clean, dry towel or blocking mat, shaping it to the desired dimensions. Allow it to air dry completely, away from direct heat or sunlight.

8. Steam blocking (optional): If you need to shape your knitting or eliminate any unevenness, lightly steam it using an iron or handheld steamer. Hold the iron or steamer a few inches above the knitting and move it gently across the surface. Be careful not to touch the knitting directly with the iron or steamer.

Following these steps will ensure that your knitting is clean and ready to be blocked. It’s important to avoid skipping the cleaning process, as it can affect the final appearance and longevity of your project.

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is a technique used to shape and stretch a knitted project by wetting it and then laying it out to dry in the desired shape and dimensions. This method is particularly effective for natural fibers such as wool, as the water helps to relax the fibers and allow them to be reshaped.

To wet block your knitting project, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water, as it can cause the fibers to shrink or felt.
  2. Gently place your knitted item into the water, making sure it is fully submerged. Allow it to soak for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. After soaking, remove the item from the water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the fabric, as this can distort the shape.
  4. Lay a towel on a flat surface and place your knitted item on top. Roll up the towel, pressing down gently to remove more water.
  5. Unroll the towel and lay your knitted item on a clean, dry towel or blocking board. Use pins to secure the edges and shape the item as desired.
  6. Leave your knitting project to dry completely. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or more, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the humidity.
  7. Once the item is dry, carefully remove the pins and admire your beautifully blocked knitting project!

Wet blocking can help even out stitches, open up lace patterns, and give your knitting a professional finish. It is an essential step in the finishing process for many knitting projects, especially those that require a specific shape or size.

Remember to always check the care instructions for your specific yarn and project before wet blocking, as some fibers may require different methods or temperature settings.

Soak Your Project

Before you begin blocking your knitting project, it is important to soak it first. Soaking helps relax the fibers and removes any dirt or oils that may be present.

Here is how you can soak your project:

  1. Fill a basin or sink with cool water. Make sure the water is not too hot, as it can cause the fibers to shrink or felt.
  2. Add a small amount of gentle wool wash or mild detergent to the water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the fibers.
  3. Place your knitting project gently into the water. Gently swish it around to ensure that the fibers are completely soaked.
  4. Let the project soak for about 15 to 30 minutes. This allows the fibers to absorb the water and become fully saturated.
  5. After soaking, carefully lift the project out of the water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the project, as this can misshape and stretch it.
  6. Place the project on a clean towel and roll it up to remove even more water. You can gently press the rolled towel to help absorb the water.
  7. Unroll the towel and remove the project from it. Lay the project flat on a blocking mat or another clean towel.

Note: If you are working with a delicate fiber or a project with colorwork, it is advisable to test for color bleeding by placing a small section of the project in water and gently agitating it. If the water becomes discolored, you may need to take extra precautions when soaking your project.

Remove Excess Water

After soaking your knitting project, you will need to remove excess water before blocking. Start by gently pressing on the project to squeeze out as much water as possible. Be careful not to wring or twist the fabric, as this could damage the shape of your knitting.

Once you have removed as much water as you can by pressing, lay the project on a clean, dry towel. Roll the towel up with the project inside and gently press down to absorb the remaining moisture. Repeat this process with a second dry towel if needed.

If you are blocking a larger project, such as a sweater, you may need to use multiple towels or even a blocking board to help remove excess water. Lay the project flat on the towels or blocking board and gently press down to absorb the water.

It is important to note that you should never try to speed up the drying process by using heat sources such as hair dryers or heaters. This can cause the fibers to shrink or become damaged.

Once you have removed excess water, your knitting project is ready to be shaped and pinned into place for blocking.

Pinning Your Project

Pinning Your Project

Pinning your knitting project is a crucial step in the blocking process. It helps to shape your knitted piece and ensures that it dries in the desired form. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to pin your project:

  1. Lay out your blocking mat: Start by setting up your blocking mat in a clean and flat area. This will provide a stable surface for pinning your project.
  2. Prepare your project: Gently soak your knitted piece in lukewarm water and wool wash. Remove any excess water by rolling it in a towel, being careful not to wring or twist the fabric. This step will relax the fibers and make them easier to shape.
  3. Pin the edges: Begin by pinning the edges of your project. Use rustproof T-pins or blocking wires to secure the fabric in place. Start at one corner and work your way around, placing pins or wires at regular intervals. This will help to straighten and stretch the edges.
  4. Shape the rest of the project: Depending on the pattern and desired outcome, you may need to shape certain areas of your knitting project. Use pins or wires to define and stretch the stitches, creating the desired shape. For example, if you have lacework, you can use pins to open up the lace and show off the pattern.
  5. Leave it to dry: Once your project is properly pinned, leave it to dry completely. It is essential to let the project dry fully to maintain its shape. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the ambient humidity.

Remember to follow the instructions provided with your knitting pattern or yarn for specific blocking recommendations. Happy blocking!

Choose a Surface for Blocking

When it comes to blocking your knitting project, one of the first things you need to consider is the surface you’ll be using. A proper blocking surface can make a big difference in how well your project turns out. Here are some options to consider:

  • Blocking Mats: Blocking mats are specifically designed for knitting and crocheting projects. They are usually made of foam or cork, and they come in various sizes and thicknesses. Blocking mats are ideal for blocking small to medium-sized projects, as they provide a flat and stable surface.
  • Towel or Blanket: If you don’t have blocking mats, you can use a towel or blanket as an alternative. Make sure the towel or blanket is clean and smooth, and lay it on a flat surface like a table or floor. Keep in mind that towels or blankets may not provide the same level of stability as blocking mats, especially for larger projects.
  • Blocking Board: A blocking board is a flat board with gridlines that can help you measure and block your knitting project more accurately. They are usually made of foam or wood, and they come in different sizes. Blocking boards are a great option if you want precise measurements and consistent blocking results.
  • Ironing Board: An ironing board can also work as a surface for blocking, especially for smaller projects. Make sure to cover the ironing board with a clean towel or fabric to protect your project from any residual heat or steam.
  • Pinning Surface: If you’ll be using blocking pins or wires to shape your project, you can choose any large flat surface like a carpet or bed. Just make sure the surface is clean and free of any sharp or rough objects that could damage your project.

Remember, the surface you choose for blocking should be clean, flat, and non-slip. It’s also a good idea to keep pets and children away from your blocking area to avoid any accidents or damage to your project.


What is blocking in knitting?

Blocking in knitting is the process of shaping and setting the final dimensions of a knitted project by dampening it and then allowing it to dry in a specific shape.

Why is blocking important in knitting?

Blocking is important in knitting because it helps to even out the stitches, open up lace patterns, and give the project its finished shape and size.

When should I block a knitting project?

You should block a knitting project after it has been completed and before it is seamed or worn, as blocking can help to ensure that the finished project looks its best.

What materials do I need for blocking a knitting project?

You will need a large clean towel or blocking mats, rust-proof pins, a spray bottle with water, and sometimes a ruler or measuring tape depending on the dimensions of your project.

How do I block a knitting project?

To block a knitting project, you should first soak the project in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes, gently squeeze out the excess water, then lay it flat on a towel or blocking mats and shape it to the desired dimensions using rust-proof pins. Let it dry completely before removing the pins.

What if my knitting project is made of delicate yarn?

If your knitting project is made of delicate yarn, you should be careful not to stretch or pull the yarn too much during the blocking process. You can also use blocking wires or gentle blocking techniques to ensure that the project retains its delicate qualities.

Can I block a knitting project that is already sewn together?

Yes, you can block a knitting project that is already sewn together. Just be sure to block it in the shape you want it to be in, and be careful not to stretch or distort any seams.


Knitting Tutorial – Wet blocking a knitted blanket

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