Once your knitting is finally off the needles, you may think that you’re completely finished. Some people do choose to leave it at that. However, for a truly professional-looking, well-shaped finished work, the next step is to block the knitting.
Blocking knits is a process wherein you slightly dampen and reshape the piece until it matches the shape you first intended to create. It is especially useful in garment knitting, when you want each piece to match properly and create a properly-fitted product. Blocking can correct or at least help alleviate a number of problems, including stockinet curling.
To block knitting, first dampen the material. This relaxes the fibers and makes them easier to stretch into place. The best method for dampening the project depends on what type of fiber your project is made from.
For synthetic fibers, a thorough dampening until they are wet, but not soaking, is the best method. However, synthetic fibers do not respond as well to blocking as natural ones do.
For natural fibers, try steam blocking – let steam from your iron get into the work without touching the iron to the fabric. This method should not be used with synthetic fibers as they will melt in the heat. Extremely delicate objects do best with water from a spray bottle.
Once your material is damp, you can block the knitting by pinning it into place. For this, your knitting should be resting on a stable surface that will be undisturbed as the piece is drying. Place a towel underneath the knitting since it is wet. A good surface for blocking smaller pieces is an ironing board. There are also special blocking tables just for this purpose, usually with a measurement grid to ensure your project will be finished correctly.
Reshaping the work into the correct dimension is easy. For areas where it is too wide, just push the fabric in slightly until it is closer to the shape you want. To make certain parts wider, stretch them to the correct width and pin into shape. After drying, the knitting should remain in the shape in which it was pinned. It will look significantly neater, straighter and more professional.