Blocking and washing

As a new convertee to blocking ( after seeing Ann’s before and after photos) , I am wondering if I and the loved ones who are the recipients of my hand knits, have to block each time the hand knit is washed? Or do the stitches settle permantly after blocking?

I re-block after washing and sometimes steam to re-set the stitches of a wrap, cowl or hat that isn’t in need of cleaning.

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I used to. But this year has been a rough health one for me, so I’ve taken to “fake blocking.” I let it soak a looong time - at least an hour – then lay it out on a towl on the bed. No pins, no wires. It even worked for a lace shawlette scarf. But it was a simple bold lace pattern. It’s not as useful as it would be blockd properly because of size, but it counts as done and is wearable.

Although I’ve read about steam blocking and it sounds great to me, I’ve never tried it.

Before i had wiires I just used pins and thread. Frankly, for me wires don’t seem any easier. Also my blocking skills have deteriorated! It’s all about one’s patience & spirit! Tjen again I’ve been in a 99% finished slump for about a year. Hence the “fake blocking.” It definitely helps! (She says staring at a nice big shawl that just needs icord ends grafted together - since March? And i love that colorful shawl!

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I think the best answer to this question is–it’s complicated and, in many ways, it’s a matter of your personal taste. First of all, it depends on what kind of fiber you are using. You can block acrylic until you’re blue in the face but it will never take. Some plant fibers lose their blocking really easily. Animal fibers love to be blocked. And take into consideration the bloom of the yarn. Some fluff up a bit when washed and although they are not felted at all, the fibers cling to each other a bit more.

Then there is how you define blocking. Guess what? If you knit a little stocking stitch baby sweater, give it wash and then dry it flat giving it loving pats and tiny tugs to straighten it out, you are blocking it! It doesn’t always involve pins, strings and wires. But that laceweight silk/cashmere shawl you made? Yeah, that’s gone involve some time on your hands and knees with pins, a tape measure and a few well chosen swear words. A heavier yarn in a lace pattern could do just as well stretched out on the bed.

Marilyn, I’m sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. Have you called your local dry cleaner. Mine will hand steam things for me when I need him to. He’s a good guy. Yours might as well. Your local yarn store or knitting guild might also have someone who could help you with blocking. My knitting friends and I help each other all the time.

Sandra, if you have a weekend to play with it, you could make a bunch of swatches, block them and then wash them once they’re blocked to see what they do. If you make them all the same size you could end up with a cozy throw at the end of it. A lace sample scarf is fun to learn more about blocking with too.


Thanks do much for you kindness and ideas. Because i live in Manhattan where one can’t really travel by personal car (I don’t even have one because there woykd be no wnere to park it at my destination), those ideas are great, but for me harder to execute (because if travel) thank judt doing it at home. Sadly, I don’t really have knitting friends. I got a dog 7 years ago which cut down on yarn store forays as well as just knitting there. Now I have dog run friends, most don’t knit. I do miss the knitting folks though. Must remedy that.

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Excited to use the advice in blocking Field Guide 15 Tunmbling Lace Scarf! I did a few practice swatches first to get the pattern down. So happy with the results.