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Emily Wessel

Hello - I'm from Vancouver Island, Canada, but I live and work in Edinburgh, Scotland. I am co-founder and designer at Tin Can Knits - www.tincanknits.com

47 Comments

  1. Mary M Thompson
    June 3, 2021 @ 7:51 am

    I am having trouble with finer gauge hand knits becoming too huge after handwashing. No one else seems to have this problem. I do fine with washing and blocking worsted weight and above. I just dont get it.

    • Emily Wessel
      June 6, 2021 @ 10:55 pm

      Hi Mary – I’m sure there are other knitters who have the same problem! You’re not the only one. I think you’d probably do well to do a LARGE swatch in your finer-gauge yarn, block it using the same method you would for a garment, and then measuring gauge. If you knit following your blocked gauge, then the way that the garment stretches / relaxes after knitting will be taken into account.

  2. Linda C.
    February 14, 2021 @ 2:06 pm

    Any suggestions on blocking the lace panel in Bonny? Thanks! I can’t wait to wear it.

    • Emily Wessel
      February 14, 2021 @ 11:33 pm

      It’s easiest to do before you sew up the shoulder seams. Once you’ve seamed it though, you can fold the top in two and block the lace out the front.

      • Linda C
        February 15, 2021 @ 4:44 am

        Thank you!

  3. Sharon Keary
    January 16, 2021 @ 12:57 pm

    Hi, every time I have tried to block a sweater it swells and stretches and ends up way bigger than it was meant to be. What am I doing wrong?
    Thanks Sharon

    • Alexa Ludeman
      January 17, 2021 @ 10:08 pm

      Hi Sharon – It sounds like your sweater is tooooooo wet. You want to use more towels to dry it out and when you lay it out use your handy dandy measuring tape to make sure you aren’t blocking it to any wild dimensions.

  4. Britt
    November 24, 2019 @ 2:44 pm

    Do I have to reblock every time it’s washed? I made a baby stockinette stitch cardigan using Swisher worsted.

    • alexaludeman
      November 24, 2019 @ 9:50 pm

      I just lay flat to dry. Maybe block it once a year.

  5. marj
    January 20, 2018 @ 7:10 am

    I often knit with acrylic yarn – due to wool allergies. Do sweaters made with acrylic need to be blocked? If so, what method do you recommend, and is there anything special I need to be aware of?
    Great tutorial!
    Thank you!

  6. irene
    January 19, 2018 @ 8:38 am

    Do I need wires for a baby sweater?

    • alexaludeman
      January 19, 2018 @ 10:23 am

      I think blocking comes out a little crisper with wires, but you don’t necessarily NEED them.

  7. Dorian Mcclain
    December 6, 2017 @ 3:40 pm

    Hello I really enjoy your very informative tutorials on knitting, blocking. I have a question, I hope to be making “frost at midnight” by Kate Davies,(a lovely cardigan) The yarn is scrumptious lace by fyberspates. It is 55% Merino wool, 45% silk. Kate Davies suggest making a Swatch, and blocking the Swatch. I plan to do this, however I am really looking forward to making this sweater( I have never knitted with any silk at all before this time) when I looked on ravelry , and several Knitters who knitted this pattern commented on how the neckline was so big, and some didn’t seem to fit very well(looking kind of stretched out, some had put what looked like pleats around neckline) How can I have a good outcome, is it the blocking? Do you block differently with yarn with high silk content? I even purchased all the beads, I am really looking forward to making this cardigan. I need all the help, and suggestions LOL. Thank you for your help, Dorian

    • alexaludeman
      December 6, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

      Hi Dorian – I had a look and I think the answer to any puckering issues is blocking, most of them look really lovely, it’s just a few that look like maybe they could use a block. For the neckline I’m not really sure without actually seeing the pattern how to make it a bit smaller, it’s usually just casting on fewer sts and then working an increase after the ribbing (or in this case the picot edge). I don’t think I would block any differently with a silk yarn. The finished garment will have a bit more drape than a wool.

      • Janie Berks
        February 7, 2019 @ 6:40 pm

        This was very nice of you to help her, no wonder I am such of fan of Tin Can Knits!

  8. Claudia
    October 26, 2017 @ 4:49 am

    I use long dowels I buy at Canadian tire to hold my sweater taut & straight, & it eliminates fold marks on the sleeves & sides of my sweaters.

    • Edna Humphrey
      December 21, 2020 @ 5:02 pm

      Brilliant!

  9. Joanne
    August 7, 2017 @ 1:44 pm

    What about covering the garment with a wet dish towel and steaming it through the wet towel?

    • alexaludeman
      August 7, 2017 @ 8:12 pm

      Hi Joanne – there are definitely lots of ways to block a sweater, this is just the method I always use. I’m a little afraid of mixing steam and knitting to be honest, but I know people have been successful with it. I just worry about felting etc.

    • Belle
      March 13, 2019 @ 9:16 pm

      That’s the way my mother taught me to block and that’s the way I have always blocked. I’m not a big fan of completely submerging the garment and playing around with pins.

  10. Hana
    May 13, 2017 @ 6:00 pm

    I am a loose knitter and I wonder when I finish my project will blocking help tighten up the fabric a bit?

    • alexaludeman
      May 16, 2017 @ 11:41 am

      Hi Hana – unfortunately blocking works the other way, it can loosen the sts a little, but it won’t tighten them.

  11. Katie
    March 5, 2017 @ 5:50 pm

    Question-what about sweaters with buttons? Do you suggest blocking first and then seeing on the buttons? Or buttons before blocking? Thanks:)

    • alexaludeman
      March 6, 2017 @ 10:55 am

      Hi Katie – Good question, I usually sew my buttons on after blocking, you want all the stitches to have settled in where they will be so they properly match the buttonholes.

    • LaVerne Gibbs
      April 19, 2017 @ 8:32 pm

      Do I need to block a baby sweater made with Peaches and Cream cotton yarn?

      • alexaludeman
        April 19, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

        Every project needs a little soak (think of the yarn running through your hands), and I would lay it flat to dry

  12. Betty
    October 31, 2016 @ 1:48 pm

    I have just finished my first sweater for my little toddler grandchild. My instructor said to sew the seams etc first. I have soaked and towel dried it. The bottom edging will not lay down. It wants to curl some. What can you suggest I can do for this? Thanks Betty

    • alexaludeman
      October 31, 2016 @ 9:01 pm

      Hi Betty – It depends on what the fabric is, if it is stockinette it will automatically curl up, it’s in it’s nature. You could pick up around the bottom and work some ribbing to make it all lay flat.

  13. Sherry caldwell
    September 27, 2016 @ 7:58 am

    Did a vest in 100% merino wool and love it – did a 3 needle bind-off on shoulder seams – how do I block that/flatten it? It’s the method to bind off that was called for in the pattern.

    • alexaludeman
      September 27, 2016 @ 9:34 am

      Hi Sherry – I would block the sweater normally, but if that isn’t getting the seam to sit quite right it may be because the seam is too tight. Try taking out the bind off an re-doing with a larger needle.

  14. Dlynch
    September 16, 2016 @ 4:54 pm

    I’ve never blocked a knitted sweater before and used a steam iron. Now all the stitches are flattened. Clan this be fixed?

    • alexaludeman
      September 17, 2016 @ 3:24 pm

      Hi – I’m afraid I don’t really have an answer for you, I haven’t blocked with a steam iron before. I don’t THINK there is anything you can do, but you could try giving it a regular block and see what happens. It can’t hurt!

  15. Jennie
    May 27, 2016 @ 10:03 am

    Alexa, Do you block your sweater pieces before or after you sew the seams? I’m working on a basic sweater pullover (my first).

    • alexaludeman
      May 27, 2016 @ 10:37 am

      There is definitely some debate on the issue, but I would say that you want to block the pieces before you sew them together

  16. Laura Walz
    March 13, 2016 @ 10:04 am

    Thanks for this great tutorial. If a sweater grows too much after blocking, would reblocking work to shrink it back to the desired size?

    • alexaludeman
      March 14, 2016 @ 10:41 pm

      It is definitely worth a try!

  17. Gina
    February 17, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

    I recently knit the Lush Cardigan and I’ve got little armpit holes. Is this something that blocking will tighten up?
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, this is my first ever sweater

    • alexaludeman
      February 22, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

      I usually cinch them up with a bit of yarn if I get underarm holes.

  18. julieculshaw
    October 26, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

    Thanks, glad to have found your site.

  19. Sara W (sallyhp)
    October 16, 2015 @ 6:14 am

    Thanks for this! I just bought two sets of blocking wires so that I can get the results I want from lace but I love the idea of using them to give sweaters the right structure! I am so close to being able to finish the 12 in 2015! (Still not a gauge swatch covert :/)

  20. littleblackdogsa
    October 16, 2015 @ 12:27 am

    Thank you for this post. Loved it, and found it very very useful.
    Your sweaters are absolutely beautiful!

  21. mbb
    October 16, 2015 @ 12:00 am

    I love blocking and this is a great tutorial – thanks! But one question. There have been times when my knit has “grown” due to blocking – and suddenly what I knit to size is much too big – any fix for that?

    • alexaludeman
      October 17, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

      One thing is to make sure you block your swatch, that way you will have an idea of how much things might ‘grow’. I would make sure you are stamping out even more water (more towels!) so your knit isn’t too heavy when you start laying it out, and once you lay it out make sure you aren’t stretching it too much. Pat it to the dimensions you want

  22. Andrea
    October 15, 2015 @ 4:39 pm

    Great post! There are so many posts on blocking a shawl but I’ve had a harder time finding good info on blocking a sweater. This is just in time, I cast on for an itty bitty “Prairie Fire” this past weekend.

  23. dhender746
    October 15, 2015 @ 2:45 pm

    HI, I don’t know if you will even see this message but THANK YOU so very very much.  I needed to know who to do this.  But I do not have the wires. Debra From: Tin Can Knits To: dhender746@yahoo.com Sent: Thursday, October 15, 2015 5:55 AM Subject: [New post] How to block a hand-knit sweater #yiv8240001249 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8240001249 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8240001249 a.yiv8240001249primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8240001249 a.yiv8240001249primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8240001249 a.yiv8240001249primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8240001249 a.yiv8240001249primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8240001249 WordPress.com | Emily Wessel posted: “The final step in most knitting projects is blocking, which settles the knit stitches into place, stretches and reveals lace patterns, and allows your yarn to bloom and the collection of knit stitches to become a unified piece of fabric.The steps belo” | |

  24. Tamera L
    October 15, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

    Thanks for this very clear and informative post on sweater blocking! Ironically, I did cast on Flax today, just before reading this!

  25. knittedblissjc
    October 15, 2015 @ 11:35 am

    Such a great tutorial, I love this! I have blocking wires and they were a blocking game changer, for sure.