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Hand knitting

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For all knitters

Hints and tips for machine knitters
For machine knitters

Hints and tips for hand knitters
For hand knitters

Blocking, pressing and all that boring stuff !

(in other words, if I just sew it up it's bound to be alright ... )

It's such a shame, when you've spent so much time knitting something beautiful, not to spend a little more time giving your garment that perfect finish.

Blocking is the name given to the method of pinning out knitted garment pieces to size before pressing or steaming.

The picture on the right is a hand-knitted tension square - taken straight from the needles!

Here are 5 good reasons for blocking and setting your knitting:
  1. Blocking out means you can check your final garment measurements before sewing up
  2. The 'wavy' edges on the pictured tension square would make it very difficult to measure accurately
  3. Sewing up is so much easier when the knitting has flat edges
  4. 'Setting' the stitches improves the look and gives a professional finish
  5. Grafting is much easier with 'set' stitches
sample of unblocked knitting
After knitting
Here is the same hand-knitted sample, pinned out on a blocking mat and ready for finishing.

There are 4 main methods of 'setting' your knitting:
  • Pin out, spray with cold water then leave to dry. Acrylic yarns will need more water spray than natural yarns. This is called cold blocking.

  • Wash the knitting as recommended on the cone or ball band and pin out while still damp and leave to dry

  • Pin out, steam and leave to dry. The sample on this page was steamed by hovering a steam iron over the top about 1 to 2 cms away from the knitting

  • Cover the knitting with a clean cloth and press with an iron. Only use the temperature setting recommended on the yarn label. If there is no recommended setting, start with cool and progress to warm. Gently lower the iron on to the knitting, then lift up without moving the iron backwards or forwards.

knitting pinned out for blocking
After pinning After blocking
Finished work
Instructions for knitting this stitch pattern

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