Learning to knit is quite straightforward; you simply need to understand how to cast on, create kit stitches and then cast off. With a little practice, you can be doing this in your sleep!
However, this is only the very basics of knitting; there are hundreds of different patterns and techniques which can help improve the look and feel of your finished product. This is in addition to choosing high-quality knitting yarns; you will find they are easier to work with and provide a much higher quality feel to your product.
One technique that is useful to learn is blocking.
Blocking is designed to help your garments retain their shape. There is little more disappointing than creating a fabulous sweater only to have it stretch and lose its shape after just one or two washes.
By incorporating blocking into your knitting you can prevent this from happening and wear your new favorite sweater as often as you like!
How To Block
It is actually a very simple process! All you need to do is get your new garment wet. You need to wash the item by hand in either a mild shampoo or with a dedicated wool washing liquid. You should not use hot water, warm water is fine.
It is important that this process is done gently; you are not scrubbing your new jumper, just getting it wet.
After about five minutes remove your garment and empty the water, refill with cold and rinse the item. You will need to repeat this until all the soap has gone.
Now lay a towel on the side and lay your garment on top of the towel. Do not attempt to squeeze the water out of it but do lay the garment roughly how it should look. Slowly roll the towel up allowing the water to come out as you do so. If necessary repeat this with a second dry towel.
After it is nearly dry lay it on a fresh, dry towel and arrange it exactly how it should look. The measurements should all match the original look; you can pull on it to adjust it. You must then leave it in place to dry. You can use drying pins to help hold it in position if necessary.
It is also possible to do this process without water by using hot steam.
Why Blocking Is A Good Idea
Blocking can stop your new garment from stretching out of shape. It can also be a great way to remove any lumps and bubbles in your item. However, it cannot make up for any stitches you have missed or parts of your pattern which didn’t go to plan. It is very hard to hide these.
But blocking can make sure your item continues to look good after you have worn it several times and for that reason, it is essential that you do it to every item that you knit. A little care can make a huge difference.