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Do you (bother) to block knits?

(26 Posts)
craftyone Sat 06-Jun-20 11:46:47

I never used to block much, the tension square and the finished garment, then we became digital and had all those lovely patterns and new ways from the usa.

craftyone Sat 06-Jun-20 11:49:04

I bought white foam jigsaw squares and blocking wires and blocked any shawls I made, I spread them on the bed, pinned to size, sprayed with water and left to dry. They were lovely and remained blocked because they are so seldom used that they have not been washed since. Then I moved and the foam went

I really cannot be bothered to block a woollen top I have made, fine pure wool in stripes and have still to add ribbing after blocking. The thought put me right off and I consigned the garment to a storage box, handy but still a UFO. I am going back to the old ways and s*d the blocking. I will do the ribbing and do a general block in my usual way ie steam held over the completed garment while gently patting down

Witzend Sat 06-Jun-20 11:59:52

I’ve never made much in the way of jumpers, but I would block anything now if the instructions included it.

In the past few years I’ve made 2 sets of Nativity figures, where the instructions said to block the gowns for the standing figures. I did do it - a small amount of extra faff considering all the time spent - and have seen seen online some other people’s makes of the exact same things, where they very clearly didn’t, since the gowns don’t hang properly.
This was a U.K. origin pattern, BTW, not American.

JackyB Sat 06-Jun-20 12:12:29

Scuse me being stupid, but I haven't lived in the UK for 40 years or more, nor have I knitted much in that time. What is blocking? As I said on the sewing thread, I am a very uneven knitter - would this help me make my work neater?

Wheniwasyourage Sat 06-Jun-20 13:24:43

As I understand it, blocking is pinning the bits of knitting out to the right size before sewing them up, and may involve spraying them with water to make sure they get to the right measurements.

The only thing I have ever done this with is a Shetland lace shawl I started for DGC1 and finished in time for DGC3. Otherwise I've never bothered, and as I will knit practically anything on circular needles if at all possible to avoid sewing up, it probably wouldn't work anyway.

SueDonim Sat 06-Jun-20 13:43:38

I have some very old knitting books of my mother’s and they all tell you to block before making up. I never did, though. I have recently blocked crocheted shawls I’ve made and they do seem to benefit as it opens up the lace pattern.

Steam-blocking shouldn’t be done on artificial yarns, apparently, as it flattens the fibres. I make things for my youngest GD and her mum just chucks them in the tumble-drier anyway, so blocking seems a waste of time. grin

Callistemon Sat 06-Jun-20 14:45:17

Yes, it gives a much better finish.

JackyB you can block before or after sewing up the garment, I've done both.
Immerse the garment in luke warm water, you could gently wash and rinse if you wish, use fabric softener or not as you choose. I use Woolite to wash the garment.

Roll the garment in a clean towel, squeeze but don't twist to get out most of the water.
Then pin out the garment to shape on a board. I had some large blocks of polystyrene which I covered in old sheeting. Allow to dry naturally.

Callistemon Sat 06-Jun-20 14:52:44

Still haven't finished that Nativity set, Witzend, only 6 months to C*******s!
And I didn't block Mary before I sewed her up blush
Perhaps I'll block the others and leave them to dry for a few months.

Ilovecheese Sat 06-Jun-20 14:59:58

I don't block but I do always press the knitted pieces before I sew them together, it really does make a difference.
BUT! sometimes I forget to cover with a pressing cloth and have burnt the piece a couple of times and have had to knit another piece.

GrannyLaine Sat 06-Jun-20 15:22:24

I only discovered blocking when I knitted my first ever baby shawl, a real heirloom piece in 2 ply wool which tested my patience like nothing has ever done before. I don't have any special mats but instead, used the memory foam mattress on the bed in the spare room. I did invest in some blocking pins though. It made a huge difference, evened out the stitches and made it look really good (she says with no trace of modesty blush !) I use it for all my knitting now, always before making up.

Witzend Sat 06-Jun-20 15:45:04

No rush, then, @Callistemon!

I think I did mine 2 at a time, about 24 hours for gowns pinned inside out while damp to the bodies. Had to buy some of those round headed pins for the purpose.
IIRC Mary’s white thingy was pinned to the ironing board.

MamaCaz Sat 06-Jun-20 17:18:05

I had never heard of blocking before Google.
Now, I do it all the time.

It can make a good knit even better, and raise a poor or mediocre knit to very acceptable!

Callistemon Sat 06-Jun-20 17:28:04

I have got those roundheaded pins, I even won some more in a raffle not long ago. There were lots of lovely prizes there, quilted cushions, lovely bags, but I won the packet of pins.

craftyone Sat 06-Jun-20 17:56:52

you can steam block man made yarns. I always did it by holding the steam iron well above the fabric and gently patting

I never blocked complicated patterns, even wool, any other way. You can easily flatten cables if too aggressive. The special blocking wires are good, used with flat headed pins so you can get a nice curve

The current top in the UFO box is knitted in the round with just the sleeve seams to join. I can do a very good blocking job with steam and my fingers, tension was perfect so I will not need to be too perfectionist

Doodledog Sat 06-Jun-20 19:07:34

Word of warning - be very careful with acrylic yarns. They don't block particularly well, as they don't have 'memory', which is what is needed to block successfully (basically, the yarn 'remembers' where to sit in the garment); but if you press them you will remove all stretch, and can ruin the garment. This is particularly important on the rib of a jumper, which you want to be narrower than the body. If you press it, you will end up with a flared rib, which could spoil the garment, as it won't spring back into shape, even when washed again.

Blocking is important - particularly in lace patterns, which can go from looking like a string bag to a beautiful lace shawl.

heath480 Sat 06-Jun-20 19:17:29

No I don’t block,I used to about 40 years ago,but not now.

fevertree Sat 06-Jun-20 19:51:57

I don't block. I roll individual pieces up quite tightly (without stretching of course), right side out, flattening out any curled up edges, and then I leave them overnight. Or longer. Works like a charm.

Witzend Sun 07-Jun-20 10:14:16

They were small items, but as per instructions I blocked the pieces (in acrylic ‘do not press’ yarn) by wetting thoroughly, rolling in a towel to absorb much of the moisture, and then pinning wrong side out to shape, until dry.

craftyone Sun 07-Jun-20 18:59:45

that is why you never put any pressure or a hot iron on man made fibres. I think the word for gently steaming and patting is not really blocking but is more setting the stitches and yes you do have to be very careful. Wool is much more robust. If worried about wool then just iron gently on top of a pressing cloth or in my old days, a large wet hanky

heath480, I am with you. I have been knitting for 67 years and hardly ever blocked to a fussy extent, apart from something like a fine shawl, which becomes finer. More important to get the tension right in the first place

Grannmarie Sun 07-Jun-20 22:13:26

I do what my Mum did, many years ago.
Place each piece of flattened out knitting on a sheet of newspaper on the floor, cover with another sheet of newspaper, leave under the fireside rug overnight to " press" without ironing, nice and smooth for sewing up.

Callistemon Sun 07-Jun-20 22:15:59

My friend puts hers under the rug too, in a sheet or between two tea towels, Granmarie.

CocoPops Mon 08-Jun-20 03:28:54

Yes I block my knits. I pin the pieces out to the required measurements on bath towels. The cover with damp tea towels and leave until dry.

Grannmarie Mon 08-Jun-20 18:35:52

Callistemon, 👍
I'm glad someone else does that, I was beginning to think I'd dreamed it !😂

Callistemon Mon 08-Jun-20 22:20:29

My friend is Scottish, I was wondering if it's a Scottish tip? I think she leaves hers there for longer than overnight though.

Grannmarie Thu 11-Jun-20 20:36:12

I'm Scottish, it might be a local variation!