Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Importance of Blocking

People often ask me what blocking is, and why it's necessary. I used to rarely block my projects, so I was definitely one of those people that didn't think it was very important. And really, a lot of projects don't need to be blocked ... but there are also a lot of projects that do. Lace projects almost always need blocking to show the pattern correctly, for example.

I'm certainly no expert on blocking, but it's hard not to see the importance of it when you compare the two pictures below:

The picture on the left is a "slouchy" hat straight of the needles -- no blocking. As you can see it just looks like a regular beanie, maybe a little too long. The picture on the right is the same hat after blocking. You can see how the cables have spread farther apart and the shape is completely different. The purl stitches between the cables have a natural tendency to give the hat a ribbed appearance. After blocking, the hat takes on a completely different look -- no more ribbed appearance. And you can see how blocking the hat around a small plate gives it the shape necessary for a slouchy hat, as opposed to the tubular style it takes on while it's on the needles.

There are several different methods of blocking, as each fiber and project requires it's own specific technique to ensure you don't ruin your yarn or mess up your project while you're blocking it. For an overview of some of these techniques follow this link: "How to Block Knitting". (If anyone has a better link they recommend, leave it in the comments, please!)

Hopefully the pictures make it easy to see the importance of blocking. It's a hard concept to explain (especially to non-knitters), but it makes a big difference in a finished project.

(P.S. - The pattern for the hat shown above will be available within the next few days! Stay tuned!)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Devin. I needed to know about blocking.