Thursday, 17 July 2014

how to block your knitting

So I have successfully knitted my first cardigan (using this splendid Lion Brand pattern which I really recommend for beginners looking to try out a cardigan) and one of the important things I learned about knitting clothing, if you want it to fit and sew together properly, is how to block your knitting. 
summer is really the wrong time of year to iron knitting
When I first learned to knit two years ago in the USA, my friend O explained the importance of ironing your knitting before sewing it together. Simply ironing does make your knitting more manageable to work with, but that is it. Blocking your knitting however ensures that, as well as being more manageable, your knitted sections are the correct dimensions according to your pattern, in turn ensuring you have a correct fit with the finished project! 

How to block your knitting 

knitting before being blocking - I am using some example swatches
You will need to gather the following; the knitting that you need to block, a large cotton sheet folded in half a few times (to make it nice and thick), pins, a tape measure, a damp tea towel and an iron. 

image source - Lion Brand
Identify how large your section of knitting should be - this should be somewhere on your pattern such as the above image from the pattern that I used to knit my cardigan. Don't panic if your knitting isn't the right size before it has been blocked - that's why we are blocking it :)

Pin your knitting to the correct dimensions according to your pattern. The more pins you use the better to make sure you get nice even edges! :) You may find you are stretching your knitting slightly to match the dimensions (I'm trusting of course your gauge/tension was accurate before you started knitting ... right? ;) ) but don't worry, once you've blocked, sewn, and washed your project it will relax to the correct size according to your pattern.

Lay the damp tea towel over your knitting and proceed to iron your knitting until the tea towel stops the exciting sizzling sound (i.e. it is dry). IMPORTANT make sure your tea towel is of decent quality and is damp all the way through - this will protect your knitting and the steam from the wet tea towel is what relaxes the knitting out of the curly state without burning it. 

Once that is done, remove the tea towel from on top of the knitting and leave them pinned in place. They should feel a little damp so leave them like this until they are dry. This will ensure they set at those dimensions and will stay that way naturally. 

knitting after blocking - looking much more squareish now!
Remove the pins once dry and voilĂ ! You have blocked your knitting :) go forth and sew it all together!

I hope you found this useful! Do let me know what projects you are working on right now :)


  1. Ooh that seems so much simpler than I thought it would be! Right future knitting, watch out! :)

    1. hehe I'm glad I could de-fog it for you :) jenny xx

  2. This is super useful! I'm going to attempt my first jumper this autumn so I'm saving this for later :)

    1. oohh marvellous - hope you can share a picture of your jumper when you've had a go! jenny xx