How to Block Your Knitting

Blocking is a simple but vital step which will greatly improve the look of even the most beginner knitting. If you have made the effort to hand-knit something, it deserves to be blocked.

Check out our Knitter's Block kit and our Sweater Care Kit for all the tools you'll need. 

What is Blocking?

Blocking is the process of wetting or steaming your final pieces of knitting to set the finished size and even out the stitches.

You could use any flat surface to block your garments (I'm partial to the Knitter’s Block), just be sure that your knitted piece lies flat and fully dries so that its shape sets. Don't forget to check that moisture doesn't soak through and damage anything underneath it. (This has happened to me, which is why I developed the Knitter's Block — the blocks are backed with waterproof EVA so you can safely block on a bed, table or floor.)

Always block your finished pieces before seaming. By flattening and setting the shape of your pieces, you will be able to more easily line up your stitches to seam them together.

The fiber content of the yarn and the stitch pattern of your knitting will often determine how you block your finished pieces. Below you’ll find instructions on wet blocking, which is my preferred method.
 

Instructions for How To Block Your Knitting

1

Step 1: Wetting

Soak your knitted item in gentle wash per the yarn label instructions. If you have a Sweater Care Kit, you may choose to use the Eucalan Fabric Wash that comes with the kit.

While your item is soaking, set up the surface that you will using for blocking. If you’re using the Knitter’s Block, configure the tiles to accommodate your knitted item.

Drain the water, then gently squeeze (don’t wring) your knitting and roll it in a towel to extract as much moisture as possible.

2

Step 2: Blocking

A

Lay your damp knitting right-side up on the your blocking surface and gently nudge the piece to your finished measurements.

If you’re using the Knitter’s Block, place the gingham cloth onto the assembled tiles so it will be under your knitting. Each check measures approximately 1" square. Lay your damp knitting RS up onto the checked cloth and use the checks as a guide to get your correct finished measurements.

Pin the knitted item around the edges, placing the pins at an angle, with the top of the pin pointing away from the garment. Place the first pin in the top center, moving to the bottom center as you pin the piece to the correct length. Next, pin your work to the correct width (if blocking a sweater, start with the bust width). Fill in around the edges, always referring to your finished measurements.

Allow to air dry.

B

Arrange your damp knitting on your blocking surface and gently nudge and smooth the piece to your finished measurements.

If you’re using the Knitter’s Block, the tiles will gently grip your knitting so that the sweater stays in place. Place the checked cloth over the knitted item to check sizing if necessary.

To help hold rolling edges down either use a few T-pins or dampen a cloth and use its weight to hold down your knitting.

Allow to air dry.

3

Step 3: Steaming (optional)

  • Set the temperature of your iron to the lowest setting that allows steam.
  • While the iron is heating, saturate a cloth with water and squeeze out the excess so that it is no longer dripping but still very wet (not just damp).
  • For very heavy blocking (thick, coarse wool that you are trying to soften up, for instance) you can spray the whole piece with water from a clean spray bottle. This step is not necessary for medium/light blocking.
  • Lay the wet blocking cloth over the top of your pinned piece.
  • Gently use the iron to steam the entire piece in an up and down motion (never side to side) without any pressure. Using pressure may ruin your knitting.
  • Just barely touch the pressing cloth with the iron and hold it there a few seconds. Move on to the next spot until the whole piece has been steamed. The moisture of the steam is what does the blocking.

For light blocking, you can now lift the cloth and allow the knitting to dry.

For medium/heavy blocking, leave the cloth in place until it has dried. If your knitting is still damp, allow it to dry before removing.

Regardless of whether you block with or without steam, make sure your pieces are dry before moving them.

4

Seams

After you have sewn your garment together you may wish to steam the seams, especially if they are bulky or stiff. For shoulder and armhole seams, use a terry cloth hand towel folded and then rolled to the size and shape of your upper arm. Turn the garment inside out and fit the rolled towel into the shoulder and armhole openings. Steam the seams gently by using the wet pressing cloth and steam iron, and just barely touching the pressing cloth with the iron. Let the steam do the work.

Comments

Cocoknits

You’re welcome! This will work for your blend. Always check your ball band and follow the instructions given for the yarn so that you don’t get any surprises.


E Hird

Hi thanks for the article. Does this work for all types of yarn such as silk blends. I have a yarn made up of linen silk super fine merino and baby alpaca


Cocoknits

Hi Claudia,

So glad you find the article helpful!

You really can’t use too many pins, so go ahead and pin on each side of the cable top and bottom if you’d like. On the other hand, if you lay it out and the cable looks fine with just the pins on the rest of the sweater, then that is fine, too. Just follow the instructions and you’ll do great!


Claudia

Thanks the article is so helpful. I finished a sweater in stockinette stitch that has in the center a cable motive, Do I need to place T-pins at each side of the cable in addition to the T-pins that place around the sweater? In order to make that cable looks well. It will be my first blocking and I’m a little nervous. Thanks si much for your answer


Cocoknits

Hi Susie,
Not in general. If it is made from natural fibers, it is good to wet block to clean it. If pieces are put away dirty, they can be more susceptible to insect damage. But a week or two shouldn’t be a problem.
If you are steaming it, as long as you aren’t storing it in a way that would cause difficult to remove creases, it should be fine.
Hope that helps!


Susie

I just finished knitting a shawl. Is there a time frame that I should block my shawl after I binded it off and take the shawl off my knitting needles?


Cocoknits

Hi Barb, If the sweater is blocked, you should block the edging before you sew it on. You’ll have a sense from the blocking process whether to account for any change in gauge so you can knit the edging to the correct length. Enjoy!


Barb

I am knitting a baby sweater that has a decorative knit edging added around the neckline (it’s a ballet style wrapped sweater so the edging extends down the top of the fronts. I plan to block the pieces before I sew them together. Should I then block the edging after I knit it but before sewing it on? Or just sew the edging on and then block the sweater again after the edging is attached? I do need to know how long the knit edging has to be by measuring the sweater pieces so I’m thinking I’ll need to sew the sweater together to get an accurate measure for the edging. Does this seem reasonable or is there a better way to do it?


Diana

Great Questions and answers. Thank you


Cocoknits

Hi Hua,
It depends what yarn your blanket is made of. Often “blocking” your piece can be done in whatever way you will be laundering the piece in the future. So if your blanket is made of wool that needs to be hand washed, you will need to hand wash it in the future and lay it flat to dry, and you’ll pat it into the approximate correct shape then. If your blanket is made from a yarn that can go into the washer and dryer, then you’ll be able to do that and the initial blocking will be to even out the stitches. Check your yarn label for information on how you should treat your blanket after you finish it. Enjoy!


Hua

Hi, I’m making a baby blanket and I’m definitely going to block it, but I have a question: since the blocking involves wetting it then letting the project dry, what happens the next time I wash it? Will washing it after use ruin the shape of the blocking? Would I have to block it everytime I decide to wash it? Thanks! Will be glad to know


Cocoknits

Hi Aoife, Yes, you can rip it out and reuse the yarn. You would definitely want to block the garment again. We also suggest swatching again and blocking your swatch to be sure you know how the reknit yarn will behave. Good luck!


Aoife

If you’ve blocked and decided the garment is too small, can you pull out the yarn and reuse? Would you then need to block it again the second time round? Thanks


Cocoknits

Hi Susan,

While you won’t change the size of an acrylic hat when you block it, the process will even out the stitches and make it look more finished. You have to be careful not to get it too hot if you use steam. Hope that helps!


Susan

Is blocking recommended when using acrylic yarns for hats? Are there any benefits?


Cocoknits

Hi Rita, Since the Knitter’s Blocks are made from eco-friendly EVA foam, they do not smell. However, they are shrink wrapped in plastic, which may have given them an odor. We think that if you lay them out to air, the odor will dissipate quickly. Please email us at knit@cocoknits.com if you continue to have issues.


Rita

Hello…I just purchased your Cocoknits knitters blocks and when I removed them from the package, there is a strong odour in the blocks. What can be done about it and can it transfer to my knitting project?


Cocoknits

Hi Debbie, When Julie uses I-cord edgings, they are incorporated in the knitting, so she blocks after the piece is done. In general blocking helps even out stitches and smooths the piece, so it is always good to do, though not always completely necessary.


Debbie

I knit a scarf using mitred squares. It requires an ichord edge. Should I block the scarf before or after the ichord edge is knit? Oh and someone told me mitred square knit items are not blockable and won’t make a difference. Is that true?


Cocoknits

Hi Louise, Glad you like the article! For a metallic yarn, you will want to be gentle and not expect it to stretch, otherwise follow Julie’s instructions here. Good luck with your project!


Louise

Thank this was very helpful. When using two strands of yarn one a blend and one metallic how would you block?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published