Hey there knit-alongers! Here’s what clue #5 looks like:
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE OF CLUE #6
Don’t forget to check the the resources section above if you’re unsure how to work a stitch!
Now that we’ve started working with lace patterns, I figure it’s high time we talked about blocking. Knitted lace patterns benefit greatly from blocking. So what is this “blocking” anyway? Blocking is the process of ‘setting’ your stitches in place after completing a piece of knitting. Blocking your knitting can help even out your stitches, stretch-out or shrink-in areas that aren’t the right size and give your piece an over-all ‘finished’ look. Blocking is the icing to your knitting cake! There are many different ways to block knitting, but I’m going to show you what we recommend in the Bernat resources guide:
“Pin garment pieces to measurements and cover with damp cloth leaving cloth to dry.”
That doesn’t really give you a lot of detail does it? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so lets’ take a look at how to go about blocking your afghan blocks. I hope it’s not too confusing talking about blocking blocks!
Here’s what my block of knitting looks like fresh of the needles:
Mmm… lovely, right? Not so much. The edges are curled and the eyelets and decreases are messy. It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel! Actually, while your at it, throw in some T-pins and a ruler too.
To block your knitting, you will need a surface that you can jabs some pins into. Here at the design studio, we have a table covered in a mattress pad that we use for blocking, but you don’t need anything fancy. An ironing board will do, or a couch cushion covered with a towel, or even a stretch of carpet in an out of the way place.
Once you’ve got a nice surface to work on, make with the pins! T-pins are available at most fabric or craft stores. You can use straight pins as well, though the wide bar at the top of T-pins prevents them from slipping through your work. Make sure whatever pins you use are stainless steel. Things are going to get wet and you don’t want rust to develop and ruin your knitting!
Make sure to measure both vertically and horizontally and do your best to get your edges straight. The more pins the better!
Next, soak a towel big enough to cover your work and wring out the excess water. Lay the towel over your pinned piece of knitting and gently pat. Now just walk away and let the towel work it’s magic.
When the towel is dry, unpin the work and and watch in amazement as your knitting holds it’s shape!
- Look Ma, no pins!
This is just one of many ways to block your knitting. Don’t have time to wait for a towel to dry? Try steaming!
- Ever try to capture steam on camera? Next to impossible! Please accept my cartoon steam lines instead.
Please note: Bernat does not recommend steaming Bernat Satin and use this method at your own risk. Acrylic fiber will melt at high temperatures, so use extreme caution if choosing to steam your work.
To steam block your work, first pin out your knitting as demonstrated above. You will need a steamer or iron with a good steam setting. Hold your iron at least 4 inches [10 cm] above your work and blast it with a few shots of steam. Allow the work at least 10 minutes to dry and cool before unpinning.
There you have it! Blocking your work is completely optional and can be done before or after seaming your afghan pieces together (or both!). Good luck with clue #6 and don’t forget to check back January 13th (next year!) for our next clue.
Happy knitting and Happy New Year!