It’s confirmed: blocking works magic. As you know, I was skeptical a simple soak and stretch could fix my mess of a garter-stitch scarf, but it did. The Lori Scarf by Carrie Bostick Hoge is a smooth, soft, beautiful finished object!
Blocking knitting is easy, really. I filled my bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a little Soak wool wash, and put the scarf in. The important thing here is to get the piece totally submerged and completely wet. So I squeezed the scarf a few times to make sure it had absorbed the water, and let it soak for an hour or so.
Then I squeezed out as much water as I could, and “squeeze” is the operative word here. Do NOT wring out your knitting, ever. When the fiber is wet, it’s fragile, and you can really stretch it out of shape, or even damage it, if you wring it out.
What I like to do for this step is drain the water and let gravity do its work for awhile, and then gently squeeze the knitted piece until no more water runs from it.
In the case of this shawl, that did the trick because it’s such a light and relatively small item. If you’re working with a sweater, you’ll probably need to roll it in some clean, dry towels after you squeeze out the water. I do this for almost all of my sweaters, and it works great to absorb most of the excess water. You’ll have some wet towels to deal with, but we must suffer a tiny bit for the beauty of our knitted garments!
Now comes the fun part: The stretching and pinning. I use blocking boards that I got from KnitPicks (link below), which I love. They’re like those interlocking play mat squares that kids use on floors; in fact, I know many people who use those mats for blocking. Why not? (I have two sets of blocking mats, and they’re slightly different colors, so that explains the checkerboard effect in the photo below.)
Normally, and especially when I’m blocking sweaters, I check the measurements that I need the finished object to be and block the item to those measurements. This time, though, I wanted to see how big I could make this scarf, and since garter-stitch S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S, I knew I could make it pretty big. So I pinned the two right corners and used Knitter’s Pride’s awesome Knit Blockers (link below) to pin the larger end of the scarf in place so I wouldn’t pull it out of shape. Then I stretched that sucker out!
It’s now about 52 inches long and 36 inches tall at the tallest point, and I think that’s the perfect size. I can wrap it loosely around my neck or bunch it all up.
The bunching option is what I’m going for today, since it’s 10 degrees out! And the cashmere (Habu Textiles N-86 Pure Cashmere) will keep me nice and cozy.
So that’s the scoop on this FINISHED OBJECT. I love it so much, and all my worry was for naught. Thanks to those of you who reassured me that blocking would indeed fix my problems—you were right!
If you have any blocking knitting tips, or if you block your knits differently than I do, leave a comment and share your wisdom.
Have a wonderful day, and stay warm.
Links to Cool Stuff
Madder: Anthology 2—Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge contains the Lori shawl pattern, plus gorgeous sweater and accessory knitting patterns.