Blocking Tutorials to Make Your Knitting Look Spectacular
Take your knitting from good to outstanding thanks to these blocking tutorials
I believe most knitters have one thing in common: we’re not fans of the parts of knitting that don’t actually involve knitting needles.
To wit: we’re not fans of swatching, seaming, weaving in ends, or blocking.
However, these processes are the most important techniques you can master in order to take your knitting from looking homemade to looking handmade… with quality!
The Utter Magic of Blocking
Blocking is a method by which a knitted item is dampened in some way — by a light misting of water, a full immersion into water, or a lot of steam — in order to make the stitches relax and bloom and give the knitted piece its proper shape.
While not every piece of knitting necessarily needs to be blocked, virtually every piece could benefit from it.
A blocked piece of knitting tends to look more finished. The stitches look more even, the resulting fabric looks smoother and less wrinkled or puckered, and the edges lay flatter.
As an impatient knitter, I am frequently tempted to skip blocking. I want to start using my knitted lovelies, or I want to quickly get my project to the person for whom it is intended. But when I resist that temptation and block, it always makes a difference.
Take the photos above for a great example of this. The photo on the right are some of my Mindless Bonding Hearts and my Pocket Prayer Cloths pre-blocking. The photo on the right are those same finished projects post-blocking.
The difference is pretty striking, isn’t it? They’re no longer a rumpled mess. They’re flattened out and much neater.
If you want to start blocking, or if you wonder if there are better methods for blocking, I hope you’ll read or watch the tutorials linked to below!
Blocking with Water: All the Tutorials You Need
Blocking by Purl Soho: This tutorial focuses on spray blocking, and it includes a handy set of instructions for making your own blocking board, if you don’t already own one.
To Block or Not to Block by Knitty: This tutorial also offers a set of instructions for making your own blocking board (check at the very end of the article). In addition, it gives instructions for blocking a variety of fibers, from wool to cotton to human-made to everything in between.
Why Block Hand Knits? Here’s Why (and How!) by TECHKnitting: Two things I love about this tutorial. One, it offers TECHKnitting’s excellently detailed and descriptive explanation of how to wet-block a piece of knitting. Two, she tells you how to do it without a blocking board.
As another added bonus, you’ll find a link at the beginning of the article to her steam-blocking tutorial, too.
Yes, You Can Block Acrylic!
I have heard for years that trying to block acrylic doesn’t work. However, I can assure you that not only does it work, it also makes a tremendous difference!
Once I discovered the magic of steam blocking, I was enchanted. I spent an entire day blocking every single thing I had knitted with acrylic yarn. I couldn’t resist after discovering how well it worked and how much better it made my handknits!
So let’s get to the tutorials!
This tutorial from BeadKnitter Gallery provides an extensive explanation of how blocking helps acrylic knitting, as well as how to do it.
Do you need more of a visual? The video tutorial below from Crochet Ever After will help.
These two acrylic-blocking tutorials, when taken together, will make you a steam blocking expert!
I can guarantee that once you get the hang of blocking, you’ll become a believer. There’s nothing you can do for your handknits to make them look more professional than blocking!
Do you need to block again if you launder a knitted and blocked item?
That depends on a lot of factors–the type of fiber, the heat of the dryer (assuming you machine dry rather than drying flat or hang-drying), and so on. I’ve read that acrylic retains its blocking after laundering, but I confess I’ve never tried it myself. I would say that if you use delicate cycles for your blocked knits, most of the time they will retain their blocking.