30 July 2010

How to Block Out Your Knitting

As I have mentioned before I love starting a knitting project and finishing it, the bit in between can sometimes be a "when will this finish so I can get on to the next thing?" So I recently finished the 40s jumper (mentioned in an earlier blog) and thought this would be a good time to walk you through finishing and by that I mean blocking out the garment so that you achieve the best finish after all the hard work you've put in to the project.
The first thing to do is weave in those ends, not my favourite bit, but it makes for a neater end product. Then it's to a flat surface, I use my table in the kitchen, with enough room to fit the biggest piece of the garment. You will need:
An iron
A wet tea towel (or other such piece of material)
Measuring tape
I usually start with the front piece. The first thing you need to do is pin one side (at the armhole decreasing) then stretch the piece to the size you want it to be (see the final measurements in your pattern) and then pin the other side at the armhole decreasing. This will mean that the chest size is now correct. You then work down from your first pin straigthening out the seam and pinning at frequent intervals until you have pinned down both sides seams to the beginning of the rib. NB you never iron the rib. I'm not sure why but I'm guessing it's because you don't want to lose the elasticity (but that's just a guess, I should probably find out why shouldn't I?). You will also need to measure the length of the piece and make adjustments with your stretching and pinning as needed.
Once it is all pinned and measured take your wet tea towel and cover the piece (avoiding the rib) and iron. I usually iron until the tea towel is almost dry, this gives the sticthed more time to flatten and set in place. Be extra vigilant on the seams because the flatter these are the easier it will be to sew up.
When you are happy with your work remove all the pins and repeat with all the others pieces.
This is the method I use but you can also do this by hand (pulling up, down and diagonally until the piece reaches the size you want) and also by soaking the whole garment in water and re-shaping while wet. I find the above method easy and effective. You would probably use the soaking method for pieces that really need heavy duty re-shaping but hopefully your knitting is so good you won't ever need it!

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