How to Wet Block

Blocking can be such a magical process. Stitches smooth out, fibers fall perfectly in place, and your project seems to suddenly come to life. If you haven’t experienced the beauty of blocking, or feel like you could learn more, this is the tutorial for you! Julie takes you through the process of wet blocking a sweater step-by-step. But you can use this tutorial for any knit item (a hat, scarf, mittens, etc) or with a store-bought sweater that you don't want to take to the dry cleaner. You'll follow the same process if you have a knitted sweater that is already blocked and needs rewashing. In this video Julie makes use of the Sweater Care Collection and Knitter's Block. You'll see how these tools can help make blocking a breeze!


How to Wet Block



Fill a clean sink or tub with lukewarm water and add a delicate soap. (Our favorite is Eucalan wash, a bottle is included in our Sweater Care Kit. This is our favorite because it doesn't suds or foam. So you don't need to rinse it at all after you're done soaking your garment.) Cover your sweater in water and gently squeeze to ensure that the water penetrates the fibers fully. Leave it to soak for 5-20 minutes.


Remove From Water

Lift the sweater out of the sink and gently squeeze (do not wring). Try supporting the sweater from underneath to prevent it from stretching out of shape. It will feel floppy, that's okay. Julie likes to use the mesh pop-up dryer (included in the Sweater Care Kit) here. You can lay it over the sink (flat and unclipped) to help keep things tidy while squeezing out excess moisture. You want to get as much water out as you can, because it will cut down on drying time.


Tip: If you have a front-loading washing machine with a gentle spin cycle, you can put your sweater in a laundry bag (included in the Sweater Care Kit) and spin it on gentle at this stage. But be careful, every machine is different and it won't work well with all models. Take it slowly and check frequently until you're comfortable with your machine. 


Roll in Towel

Next, grab the large super-absorbent towel from the Sweater Care Kit. You could really use any other towel, but this one can hold several times its weight in moisture so it dries much more quickly. Lay your sweater out flat and roll up. Now gently step directly down on the towel, walking back and forth a few times. Unroll and repeat as necessary. 


Grab Tools From the Knitter's Block

Grab everything from your Knitter's Block. Lay the foam tiles out to a size that works well with your sweater. (Side note: we love these tiles because they are made of EVA foam that is formamide and formaldehyde free so it protects the surface you're working on without using harmful chemicals. They also have texture on the top to keep the sweater off the foam, providing more circulation to dry faster.) 

Now, grab a towel with straight edges and place on top of the foam tiles. You can use the Check Your Gauge Cloth (included in Knitter's Block or sold separately). Each square is 1" and the thread is pre-treated before the fabric is woven to prevent stretching, shrinking, or distortion. You could also use the super-absorbent grid towel which has inches and centimeters and is included in the Sweater Care Kit. Both of these towels help to get a straight edge and the correct measurements for your piece.

You may also want to grab T-Pins (included in Knitter's Block or sold separately). Julie doesn't use these for sweaters, but you may want to use them during the next step to be more precise. We recommend using pins with items where fit needs to be spot-on. They can also be helpful to use at the cast-on or bind-off of stockinette if you want to reduce some rolling. 


Lay the Sweater Out

Place the sweater on top of the towel and tiles and gently massage into the shape you want. After wet blocking it may seem really long and skinny - don't worry, that is perfectly normal! Just continue to work it, gently patting into place, and checking the measurements to see that it's where you want it. Remember, measurement is easy with the Check Your Gauge Cloth gingham pattern. Each square is an inch, which makes for quick counting. After everything is laid out as you like, you have the option to pin the edges. Let it sit for at least an hour, but we recommend more like half a day. 


Finish Drying with Pop-Up Dryer

Once your item is set, slide the mesh pop-up dryer from the Sweater Care Kit underneath your garment (do this before you clip it together so the dryer is flat). Once it's on top and in shape, clip the straps together so air can flow underneath. This tool is great because you don't have to flip the sweater and it will dry more quickly. Once it's completely dry, that's it! You've completed wet blocking, how beautiful does your knitted handiwork look now? 

Thumbnail photo of white Sarah cardigan blocking by @ceceis___ using Vegan Yarn Pakucho Original Worsted in Natural.



Hi Susan, yes that is a good idea. It will make seaming easier :)

Susan Church

My pattern asks for the neckline to be made when the sweater is joined at the shoulders. Can I block the front, back and sleeves before joining them together for the neck.? Then perhaps block again with the neck cabling?


Hi Marjorie, Thanks for the feedback. While we are considering selling the pop-up dryer separately, it is currently available only in the kit.

marjorie wolf

Can I just get the pop up dryer, I have everything else.


Great information! Blocking is no longer a complete mystery.

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