Friday, August 25, 2006


My dearest Liz and Mo and my fellow knitters, I have a confession to make.

I have a fear of blocking. I rarely do it. When I have blocked, I never believe that I'm doing it the right way. I can felt without fear because that is what happens when water meets wool. It makes sense to me. But blocking? It's terrifying.

So I'm nearing the end of the stole (one skein left) ... it will not be done by Saturday, but maybe Sunday. And I will have to block it. I think I may have subconsciously slowed my knitting to forestall the inevitable.

So help me out with the steps. It's a cotton yarn, so do I need one of the no-rinse soaps? Do I really need soap at all? Do I just get it damp and then stretch it out? Do I pin it and then spritz? I'm even more unsure after reading this knitty article about how cotton has no memory and is inelastic ... how do I steam the whole stole? I'm not usually so flustered!

I read the Knitter's Review articles on the no-rinse soaps and I really want to be one of those experienced knitter's who can handle washing handknits. Someone who actually talks about it casually without trembling with panic (Sure I'll go out for a drink tonight, let me just throw my Aran sweater that took me a year to finish in the wash ... ) . People do this all the time. All the time. It will be okay, right?


Liz K. said...

The first step is admitting the fear.

I definitely wouldn't bother with the whole wet blocking, no-rinse thing, unless you think the stole is really dirty just from being handled by a cook, a gardener, camper, yurt-er, etc. ; )

What I would do, is lay the stole out lengthwise on your bed. Pin one end, and start steaming from there, working down gradually, and pinning as you go. Then, once it has been totally steamed and pinned, leave it alone to dry completely. It shouldn't take too long.

Having seen the stole in the flesh, I think a good steaming will open it up beautifully, but I don't think it will grow substantially. That Jo Sharp yarn has some boing to it.

Be fearless, Ann. It's just yarn. Beautifully knitted yarn. Take pics. I can't wait to see how those little lacy squares block out.

Ann said...

Thanks Liz! It will be a few days, but my friend just called to cancel, so there is no time crunch now ...

Dorothy said...

You can do it. Just jump on the wagon and start steaming.

jane said...

I always wet block with wool and cotton. I put the FO in a lingere bag in my washer, fill with cold water and Euclan and let it soak for about 15 minutes. BE SURE THE CYCLE IS ON SOAK OR IF YOUR WASHER DOESN'T HAVE A SOAK CYCLE (LIKE MINE) LEAVE THE LID UP UNTIL WASHER STOPS FILLING AND THEN TURN WASHER OFF FOR 15 MIN. After 15 min. I spin it out and pin it down to size to block. I use t-pins, blocking wires, and a piece of blue board insullation that I got at Lowes. It works well with just the t-pins and blue board. That's how I do it, but there's lots different ways. Good luck, Jane

Anonymous said...

Good tip Jane had re: the insulation sheets from Lowe's. Another knitter said you can pin interfacing that is measured off in inch increments onto the insulation sheets. That way, you'll be able to measure as you block your garment. Enjoy reading your blog!!

Jamie C. said...

I am with Dorothy. You just have jump in and get your feet, or in this case, stole, wet!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Ann!

Fear of blocking has paralyzed me.

My Mom mailed me a shawl, so I can block it for her. She is from the "old school" where blocking means "steam and iron the heck out of it". I cringed and told her to send it. Now I'm scr*wed. And I've got a back-up of projects, waiting to be blocked! LOL!

I should just bite the T-pin and do it!

I'm sure that your shawl will be lovely and then you'll never look back.