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How to wet block your knitting

July 4, 2009

Blocking serves to relax the stitches into a more uniform and flowing fabric. With knitted lace it is almost essential, as it stretches the work open, and reveals the pattern, and once the fabric has dried, it will more or less hold the shape it was blocked out to. But I find even with plain stockinette stitch, it completely changes the finished product, so for me, it’s definitely worth the effort.

I always wet-block my knitting, as I find it most effective.

To do this, I follow a few simple steps:

unblocked stockinette stitch square – curls at edges, not at all flat

1. Cast off your knitted article, and weave in the ends. For the most invisible weaving in of ends, I unwind the yarn into plies, and then with a very sharp darning needle, I skim through the purl bumps on the back of the work (or with lace, I try to work through back side of the most solid parts of the pattern), piercing the yarn to draw the ply through several inches of knitted fabric. Then I trim the ends. Note that on the sample I’m using for this tutorial, I didn’t bother to weave in my ends, but usually I would.

soaking in water

2. Immerse the piece into a bowl or sink of lukewarm water, adding wool wash or hair conditioner if you please. Let it soak there for 20 mins or longer, and squeeze it gently to push all the air bubbles out of the yarn.

squeeze out water

3. Lift the work out of the water, and gently squeeze as much water out of it as you can. Do not wring the piece, as this will put too much tension on it, and could damage your knitting. With very delicate fibres, be even more gentle.

roll up in a towel

4. Lay the damp knitting out on a towel, and roll it up inside the towel.

stomp on towel

5. Stomp on the rolled up towel, until most of the water has been squeezed out of the knitting. It may be necessary to use a second towel if the first gets too wet.

pin out to correct dimensions

6. Pin the damp knitted fabric out on a flat surface. I use a piece of cardboard, but there are products created specifically with blocking in mind. I use regular sewing pins with coloured heads, and haven’t ever had a problem with rusting, however, some people recommend stainless steel pins. Pin the work out to the desired size, and leave it until it is completely bone dry.

finished product

7. Unpin and you’re done!

Further info on other methods of blocking can be found at:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. hollandteach permalink
    March 30, 2021 10:24 am

    I have just had my second bad experience wet blocking sweaters made with superwash yarn. Both sweaters lost their shape and “grew” to my knees when I removed them from the water. I was able to “rescue” one of the sweaters by putting it in the dryer for a short time.
    I will never buy a sweater quantity of superwash yarn again as I now have a better understanding of what the superwash process does to wool. My question is : Is there a way to prewash the rest of the superwash wool that I have so it will still be useable for making sweaters?
    Thank you very much!

    • April 2, 2021 12:54 am

      Hello – Sorry to hear your sweaters have stretched much more than expected! I still love superwash wools for gifting and for kid knits. Once you know how much a yarn may ‘grow’ you can simply knit at a tighter gauge, then when it relaxes with washing it loosens up. If you make a large swatch, block it, let it dry fully, then measure the gauge, then you’ll know what your post-blocking gauge will be.

  2. Corinne permalink
    May 31, 2014 6:40 am

    Thank you for this tutorial. I think I am on a good way drying my lush yoke band thanks to you.

  3. Nicola permalink
    May 23, 2014 1:01 am

    Hi there

    Do you have any tips for blocking mukluks?

    Thanks so much!


  1. GCC: Blocking 101 «

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