You've spent weeks knitting/crocheting/weaving/stitching a beautiful pattern, but the finished piece looks a little lackluster. How do you make it look as gorgeous as you'd envisioned? BLOCKING!
What is blocking? It's the process of using heat and water, and maybe some pressure or stretching to bring out the beauty of the finished work. There are a few different ways to block, and we'll be talking about them over the next few weeks.
Today we'll talk about the most common type of blocking: gentle wet blocking.
Gentle wet blocking is suitable for knit and crochet pieces made from yarn that is at least 80% natural fiber* and for weaving, needlepoint, and embroidery projects that are also mostly natural, but where you want to retain some texture. If you want to keep some texture, gentle wet blocking is the right choice.
Knitted and crocheted lace, woven fabrics that need a flat finish, and other stitchery requiring wrinkle-removal are not suitable for gentle wet blocking, but it can be a good first step, since you can clean the piece at the same time. Wet blocking will not have any effect on oil-based fibers like acrylic, nylon, and polyester.
Gentle Wet Blocking
1. Inspect the finished piece for visible soil and try to pinch or flick as much off as possible while it's still dry!
2. Make sure all ends are woven in.
3. Fill the sink or a tub large enough to completely hold the finished item with lukewarm water.
4. If desired, add a cleanser. We suggest a no-rinse gentle cleanser like Soak or Eucalan - both suitable for nearly any fiber.
5. Place your finished work in the water and gently push it under the water (or allow it to sink in, if you're more patient than we are).
6. You can give it a gentle swish with your hand, but do not rub or agitate. (If there's a really dirty spot, you can give it a gentle scritch to try to clean it better, but be CAREFUL, since most fibers are weaker when wet)
7. WALK AWAY and let it soak for at least 15 minutes (if you forget to get it out until the next day, that's okay)
8. Remove from the water, lifting carefully from underneath so that you don't stretch the piece.
9. Lay it loosely on a clean towel, roll it up, and press down to remove excess water. You can repeat this step with a fresh towel if it's still too wet.
10. Lay the towel-dried piece flat somewhere that it can lay fully flat. You can put a clean towel or sheet down first, especially if you need to lay it on the floor.
11. Gently tug/pat/nudge it into shape. If there are stitches that look uneven, you can use a spare double-pointed needle or laying tool to nudge it into place. Knit & crochet pieces will almost always grow, becoming larger than when they were worked. Use a few pins to hold corners square or straighten wonky edges.
12. Let it dry completely! All done!
Yes, you can also do it in the washing machine!
Bigger items like sweaters and blankets that are too big for the sink can go in the washer, but with the following changes:
-To use the washing machine as your sink, fill the machine with cool or lukewarm water FIRST, then TURN IT OFF!
-Put in cleanser and your finished item and swish by hand! Do not turn the machine on!
-When you walk away for the item to soak, double check that the machine is OFF and the lid is UP. If you have "helpful" housemates (or you're forgetful), tape a sign on the inside of the lid telling people exactly how angry you'll be if they turn the machine on.
-No need for a towel: When you're done soaking, set the machine to "spin only" (if it sprays while spinning, you'll have to shut off the water valve) and set it to a slow spin. If its' still too wet after spinning, you can spin it again.
-Lay it out as above.
Next week, we'll discuss steam blocking. See you then!
Be safe, be well, be kind!
Featured Pattern & Yarn
How gorgeous is this wrap!? The Fairy Leaves Wrap by Noma Ndlovu of Bigger Than Life Knits is an absolutely stunning knit! It starts with a provisional cast-on and is worked outward from the center on both sides in aran weight yarn. We suggest sticking with a gentle tonal like Malabrigo Rios in #RIO688 Yerba, or a heather like Cascade 220 Superwash in #42 Celery Heather.
The pattern is $7 and is available in-store, on Ravelry, or on LoveCrafts.com.
Want to support the designer, but this particular pattern isn't your thing? Check out her other work on Ravelry or LoveCrafts!
Save the Date!
Zorn Junction will be coming back to Yarnivore for a Trunk Show on Saturday, March 12!
Hours - We’re open 7 days a week!
In-store and online private lessons are available! Please call 210-979-8255 to schedule a lesson! Wendy, Dawn, Moses, and Nancy M. are all available to help you with your projects! Private Lessons can be scheduled outside of regular hours at the discretion of the teacher.
The Tip Jar
Do you like to snack while you're working on yarny stuff? Us too! Do you then get bothered because you got Cheeto dust on your yarn? US TOO!
Fortunately, there's a solution! Chopsticks! Use chopsticks to pick up chips or other snacks to keep your yarn clean. Not good at using chopsticks? No worries! Look for training chopsticks! Our Wendy says these are her favorites: Edison training chopsticks for adults (no affiliation - we get nothing if you click)
All regular classes are currently on hold until we can safely seat up to 6 students in the classroom. We'll let y'all know when we can offer them again. Until then, we're offering most of our class material in private lessons.
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