It’s that thing that you hear about but usually can’t be bothered to do. But I am always impressed with how much of a difference it makes to my garments.
There are some knitted projects that won’t even fit without blocking, lace comes to mind.
This is how I like to do my blocking, I have shown photos from Mossy.
Step 1: Wet garment thoroughly, making sure the fibers are completely wet, but don’t be rough with it you don’t want to stretch it out.
Step 2: Lift garment out of water without dragging it and squeeze out without ringing it.
Step 3: Lay it on an old towel and roll it up
Step 4: Put it in the washing machine on spin
Step 5: Lay it out on some kind of surface that you can stick pins in an leave it for a couple of days. I use some thin foam cushions with a towel on it.
Step 6: Pin out the garment according to the finished garment measurements.
Step 7: Wait for it to dry, this will depend on where you live and what season it is. If you get impatient try a hair dryer, works for me.
Ok I confess I can’t BO ribbing. I have tried a host of different methods and while some are better than others I just can’t get it to look as good as my ribbing CO is.
So I don’t BO ribbing anymore, I work around it. I knit my ribbing separate to the garment and then I attach it via a three needle BO.
For the little bit of extra time it takes it gives a few extra benefits:
- I get a far superior looking ribbing.
- It tapers nicely from the join to what would normally be the BO so I don’t need to downsize needles or decrease as I go.
- The edge of the ribbing looks neat and is stretchy
- The 3 needle BO used to join the ribbing creates a neat seam, a good place for weaving in ends.
- The 3 needle BO seam also gives added structure to necklines and armholes.
If you too struggle with ribbing BO looking the way you want this is worth a try.
Step 1: Pick up the number of stitches you need on the main garment, write it down. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail for weaving in.
Step 2: On a new set of needles CO required stitches (I use long tail cast on) and knit the ribbing you need. Don’t cut yarn.
Step 3: Turn the main garment inside out. Leave the ribbing with the right side facing out.
Step 4: Insert the ribbing into the main garment so the right sides of each piece are touching.
Step 5: Line up the beginning of the ribbing round with a good starting position. For a sleeve this would be the bottom of the arm hole.
Step 6: Using a needle one size larger than what the ribbing is worked on joining the pieces with a 3 needle BO. For a tutorial on a 3 needle BO click HERE.
Step 7: Weave in ends.
It’s true, my knitting is so much more enjoyable and professional looking since I learnt Judy’s Magic Cast On. I have a series of pictures below that demonstrate how I do it, but words are yet to be put to it.
If you would like to learn this technique Google Judy’s Magic Cast On. I think I found you tube especially helpful when I learnt it.
I use 3 needle BO’s a lot, it is my favorite way to seam shoulders, it gives a neat, small and strong seam.
On top of how great it looks it also saves time, instead of binding off two sets of stitches per shoulder and them seaming I only need to do one 3 needle BO!
Step 1: Turn your garment inside out so the right sides face each other.
Step 2: Put both sets of shoulder stitches (or what ever stitches you are binding) onto the needles. and hold them one in front of the other.
If there is no working yarn attached, attach some to the right hand side, it doesn’t really matter which set of shoulder stitches you attach it to
Step 3: Get a third needle one size larger than the other 2 needles.
Step 4: Insert the larger needle into the first stitch of the front needle and the first stitch of the back needle as if to knit.
Step 5: knit the two stitches together.
Step 6: Repeat steps 4 & 5, so you have two stitches on the right hand needle.
Step 7: Pass the first stitch on the right hand needle over the second stitch so one stitch remains on the right hand needle.
Do you like weaving in hundreds of ends when you work with stripes? Me neither! I almost always carry the yarn up the side.
Here is how I do it. I have found that by wrapping every row the alternating colour creates a smooth and invisible way to avoid cutting and weaving.
Here I am knitting Charlotta, it requires 8 of the yellow stripes and then 2 purple.
My next row is yellow, so I need to carry the purple up the side. I happen to be up to the sleeves and I don’t want the carried yarn to hang out the side of the work so choose to carry it up on the second stitch.
I knit the first stitch.
Then I insert the needle into the second stitch.
I wrap or twist the two yarns around each other, the yellow goes over the top, then underneath.
How on earth do I do a gauge swatch of lace and be able to count it??? I used to think this, till I came across this nifty trick for marking off stitches as you knit the swatch. When it comes to measuring the stitch gauge you don’t have to do any counting, just measure.
Why go to all the trouble of knitting a lace garment only to find it is blocks out to be two sizes too big or small enough for your 3 year old niece??
Materials you need:
- Sample of Yarn – I am using cascade Ultra Pima Buff.
- 1 m (3ft) Contrasting Colour Yarn that is slippery – I am using cascade Ultra Pima in Deep Coral
- A Tapestry Needle – I use 2, one on each end of the Contrasting Colour Yarn.
- Needles in recommended size/s for pattern, remembering I may need to go up or down a size if my gauge swatch is too small or big.
How big a swatch do I need?
It is always better to have a bigger swatch than a smaller.
I would like a 20cm (8″) or so swatch so need to CO roughly 17st x 2 = 34sts. Remember it must be a multiple of 2 + 1. 34 is a multiple of 2, so I need to +1.
CO35 st for my Gauge Swatch.
Knitting the Gauge Swatch
I am not going to knit a garter border on this lacy Eyelet Moss Stitch because it will interfere with blocking.
So straight into the pattern.
Work Rows 1-4 of Eyelet Moss two times through.
Get the scrap Contrast Yarn ready with a tapestry needle on each end.
Work Row 1 of Eyelet Moss
Next I use the contrast yarn to mark out the number of stitches and rows I need to have over 10 cm (4″). So in this case 17 sts, 28 rows. I weave the contrasting yarn through every 2 stitch till 17 st are marked starting 7-8 stitches in from the edge.
Continue working the Eyelet Moss Rows 2-4.
Next row, work row 1 of eyelet Moss St. When finished row carry contrasting yarn up and thread it through to mark 4 rows.
Continue working the Eyelet Moss and carrying the contrasting yarn up every time you finish a row 1.
When you have 28 rows knit you can bring the contrasting yarn back across the row to mark the 17 stitches again. Finishing with a rather ugly, yet well marked swatch.
The ugly swatch must be blocked. For a tutorial on blocking click HERE.
When stretching out the damp swatch you need to make the ugly rectangle into a 10cm (4″) square.
If you can achieve the 10cm (4″) square then you have reached gauge. If you can’t stretch it out that far then you will need to try again on larger needles.
If you find the fabric stretches out too much and ends up bigger than the 10cm (4″) then you will need to try again on smaller needles.