I know. I know. Blocking takes time. Blocking is a pain in the you-know-what. Blocking is as tedious as friggin’ swatching. Or weaving in ends. Ugh.
Oh, but my dear, blocking is where the magic happens. It’s where all your stressed-out knitting moments and your 3-drinks-in knit nights even out. It’s where you get that extra inch of bust room or that extra inch of sleeve length. Because, well, swatching. Who had time for that? It’ll all even out in the blocking. #famouslastwords
Everyone has their favorite method of blocking: steam, a spray bottle of water, Flatter, full-on soaking… Each has its perks. Today, we'll be soaking.
I tend to be a soaker when time allows. After hauling a cardigan around for a month or two – or sometimes a year or two in the UFO pile – I figure it needs a bath at that point anyway. And who am I kidding? Call me crazy, but the smell of wet knits is (usually) something I like. Especially if it’s been hand dyed and has that vinegar-y smell. Mmm.
After the wash/soak/spray/steam, it’s time to hold that project in place as it dries. I’ve tried pins, I’ve tried weights, I’ve tried circular needles woven through the edges, you name it. Why I took so long to finally try out blocking combs, I have NO idea. These things are great! Let’s block a scarf and see how they work.
Because you’ll ask – or at least I would – the scarf pattern is Stephen West’s Clockwork, and the yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Turner and Eggplant.
It’s one of my favorites to wear – and to knit – because it’s kinda like knitting a shawl with shaping and curves, but it’s still narrow enough to not feel like I’m wearing a full-on shawl. The details are just enough to be challenging (engaging?), yet super easy to do while bingeing a show.
So… let’s freaking block it, Holly!
I started with a warm bowl of water and a dollop of Eucalan Grapefruit Delicate Wash. I flip flop between Eucalan and Soak. You can’t go wrong with either, really.
I plunged the scarf into the water and squeezed the water into it for a minute or two, then let it soak for ten-ish minutes. Well... ADHD girl here, so honestly, it might have been an hour. 🙋🏻♀️
After a good —potentially long — soak, I squeezed the excess water out of the scarf and grabbed my set of Knitter’s Pride Blockers. Let’s stab something!
Now, you have a few options when it comes to your blocking base.
You can get the pretty foam mats that coordinate with your blockers. You can grab a few tiles from your kid’s puzzle mat or the big black ones from the hardware store.
If you’ve made a recent trip to IKEA 🇸🇪, chances are good that you have a thick slab of cardboard or styrofoam leaning by the front door and waiting for trash day. (If you're wondering if I've lost it because cardboard will get all crappy when wet, I have had totally fine success with a beach towel on a cardboard slab. If you're squeezing your garment out well, you should be fine. And it's likely going to the recycling bin afterwards, anyway!)
Or there’s foam board. If you’re into photography, you probably have some lying around already. Or if you have older kids, you may have a spare one from the last science fair project. Or just grab a few pieces at the dollar store if nothing else.
I opted for foam board this time because – well – photography nut. 🙋🏻♀️ There's foam board for days here.
I started by laying the scarf out in its basic shape. Then I stabbed away with my blockers along the edges of the scarf. There’s something satisfying about when the needles break through the top layer of the foam board.
Then… we wait. And admire the pretty blockers.
Voila! All done! I’ll let it dry overnight, and then it’ll be ready to wear again for the season! (she says as it’s currently August in the south-central U.S.)
How do you block your projects? DO you block your projects?