Not going to lie just the thought of washing a knitted item terrified me a week ago, but after a lot of reading and asking friends on Instagram I decided that I really wanted to give it a go and now that is done I am so glad I decided to try this! The only requirement you need for this is patience, I know the temptation to wear your finished knitted item its too great but the end result its really worth it!
I have put together a step by step illustrated guide of my experience hopefully this can help you start your own blocking process!
What is blocking?
Blocking is a technique that consists in washing/wetting/steaming your finished knitted garment to even out the stitches, set finished size and to give an overall finish glow! Choosing the correct blocking method depends on what the item is and what type of yarn you have used. In this basic step by step guide I will explain my experience with washing method only.
Wool wash from Eucalan (non rinse delicate wash- grapefruit)*
Blooking mats & Pins from KnitIQ .*
The eucalan non-rinse delicate wash was a great choice, I used the grapefruit essence and the only negative comment is that I couldn't sense much the fragrance, I would probably try another Eucalan wash in the future, maybe Eucalyptus next!
The KnitIQ blocking mats are an excellent purchase, the blocking mats come in a pack of 9, with reusable storage bag and 100 T-Pins included. So it's a great kit overall, good value, easy to use and store! @KnitIQ also provides non-rinse delicate wash, might try as well now that I am going to be washing and blocking all my knitted garments!
Step by step WASH&BLOCK:
-Prepare a clean basin, sink or recipient to fit garment and fill up with lukewarm water.
Approximate Temperature 100 to 110 F or 36.5 to 40.5 C.
-Add wool wash- Follow bottle instructions for quantities. **Upon reading some other reviews I decided to use a non-rinse wash to remove another step in this process. If you don’t chose a non-rinse wool wash you will need to rinse the product from the garment a few times.
-Submerge garment in the lukewarm water with the wool wash, softly ensure all garment is submerged and let it rest (follow bottle instructions). In my case I left it there for 20 minutes. TIP: <do not place garment under running water, that can felt or deform the stitches>
-Pick up the garment delicately, you want to use both hands to lift out of the water, support weight evenly (it can be unexpectedly heavy!) squeeze very softly to try remove excess water, have 2 towels handy (you can do this with 1 towel but due to the size of the cardigan I chose to use two). TIP: <This is probably the most important step: Do not wring or twist to remove excess water this will stretch the garment>
-Move the garment from the sink to the towel. Place garment on the towel and very gently roll to try and remove any excess water. TIP: <always on a flat surface>
-Prepare the blocking mats to fit your garment. TIP<think of the size of your garment and where you are going to place it to block, please consider that your washed garment might take few days to dry up depending on your location and time of the year, you will need a flat surface so avoid places like the bed and also the floor if you have pets!> Then place garment on the blocking mats and start pinning away ensuring shape required is maintained, especially if you are aiming to set finished size (NOT Re-size) - In my case for this cardigan I wanted to extend the sleeves and overall length. Note: For bigger items you can use different PINS like Knit blockers from @knitproeu. Important: always check that you are using stainless steel pins! TIP:< Don't overstretch the garment and use your measuring tape alongside the pattern instructions!>
-Once all pins are secured just let it dry. Reminder: minimum 24h and until it is dry. Time will vary depending on geographic zone and season. The #emeicardigan took 3 days!
After this process you can wear you item normally and wash when required, you don’t need to block again the garment- it is a one-off process!
Lastly I would recommend you to do your own research, read more blogs about this process to ensure you feel confident about it. Some wools can differ and always test it first with your swatch! (haha the swatch that I never used to do!)
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and encourages you to take the first steps towards blocking! If you have questions or found this article useful leave a comment below or DM me :)
**Disclaimer- I will not take any responsibility for any damaged knits during this process, this is my personal experience only. This was done on the petite wool from #weareknitters- for other materials please check manufacturer handling instructions.