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How to start knitting #2 : blocking and care of your project

Your project is now finished being knitted? And you don’t know what to do next? No problem, I will explain to you the following steps in this new article!

  • Block your project

I don’t have the impression that this technique existed a few decades ago (my grandmas never heard of it anyway), but it is now recommended to block your knitting once it is finished. You’ve never heard of blocking? I’ll explain to you right now.

What does it mean to block in knitting? It is a technique that allows you to shape your knitting, give it the expected dimensions, reveal your lace or your textured stitches, or simply erase tensions imperfections in your stockinette stitches for example.

Some yarns have very irregular renderings when you knit them, but once blocked it changes completely. Here is an example on Sandra‘s project: here, she decided to block the body of her sweater before starting to knit her sleeves. You can see a big difference between the rendering of the jersey on the body (blocked) and on the sleeve (not blocked).

Here are the steps to block a project:

– Wash it

When your project is finished, it must be washed. To do this, fill a basin with fresh to warm water (hot water could felting your yarn) and pour a little bit of laundry detergent. To do this, you have the choice between several types of detergents.

  • Woolite or Mirlaine laundry detergents, which are the easiest to find (for example in a supermarket), but which have the disadvantage of having to be rinsed.
  • Brands like Eucalan or Soak, which do not need to be rinsed but are more expensive. You can usually find them in wool shops or on the internet.

Be aware that if your project has several very different colours  type white and blue navy for example, it is better to block it with cold water to reduce the risk of disgorgement.

 

Then, just gently dip your project into the water, without rubbing, and insert it well into the water to verify that all parts are soaked. Leave it in there without touching it, for about 20 to 30 minutes.

– Wring it

If you use detergent that need to be rinsed, you will need to change the water and soak the project in clear water for 15 to 30 minutes.

Then we spin it off! You can remove your knitting from the water delicately, and do not twist it! Remove some water by pressing it lightly, then, it’s time for the towels! You simply need to wrap your knitting in a large towel and roll it. Then you have to press it well : either by pressing with your hands as in the picture, or by laying it on the ground and by walking on it along the whole length with your feet (best technique and very effective!).

– Blocking it

Finally,  you can lay it flat on the floor. The best is to use a yoga mat, or foam squares for children, the blocking mats being quite expensive. Once done, you have to pin it to give it the shape and the planned measures.
In the following pictures, I decided to block the neck of my sweater by stretching it gently, and pinning it to give it a better shape. However, I decided not to pin the ribs at the bottom of the jumper and sleeves because I like the tighter effect. If you want them to be the same size, you could pin them as well.

Once blocked once, your project will remember the shape you gave to it. You will not need to do this anymore and you can just wash it normally. If you are blocking socks, you can buy some ‘sock blocker’ that will do very well the job.

  • How to wash your knitting

Blocking is done only once, when your knitting project is finished. Thereafter, he will remember the form you gave him, and you will only have to wash it normally. To wash knits, there are two techniques:

– The first is to always hand wash them, by soaking them a little in a basin of lukewarm water. You can use again the laundry  detergent that does not need to be rinsed (Eucalan or Soak), or the other one that you will have to rinse. As for blocking, you can then gently wring your knitting by hand and then wrap it in towels. All you have to do is lay it flat on your clothes airer (very important).

– The second is to wash them with your washing machine : be careful, I strongly advise you to first wash your sample in the machine and see how it reacts before washing your sweater, shawl or other. Personally, I use either the delicate 30 degree program or the wool program. As for spinning, it is advisable to do it about 800/1000 rpm: it must be strong enough to block your project on the walls of the machine and avoid it to move in the drum. In fact, friction is the cause of felting (by shrinking, the weaving loses its suppleness and hardens to become … felt).

Here are some additional tips for machine wash:

– Use a soft laundry.
– Wash with cold or lukewarm water depending on the project. Indeed, the hot water or the drying in hot air cause the shrinkage.
– Wash beautiful projects individually.
– Turn your clothes upside down to wash them.
– Select the shortest wash time for woollens and non-woven garments.
– Do not use a dryer!
– Do not twist your project! It is best to wind it up in a towel and dry it flat on a second dry towel or dryer as mentioned above.

  • How to take care of your projects

Many of you regularly ask me how I take care of my knits, and how I do to avoid pills, or at least to get rid of them. Know that there are two techniques, and that personally I like to use both depending on the project.

 – The Gleener :

It is a tool that is used by hand: first, you need to choose the appropriate blade. Next, the garment is laid flat on a clean, hard surface. With one hand, the garment is held in place, while on the other the Gleener is slid from top to bottom. It is very important to always work in the direction of the fabric. The strength to be exercised depends on the type of fiber being treated and the importance of the pills. I advise you to try the blade on a piece of garment the least visible possible, for example an inner seam.

The Gleener comes with three blades, and each blade carries the number 1, 2 or 3 on the reverse in a circle.

What is the use of each blade?

  • Blade # 1 is ideal for shaving large pills and bulky fluff like those commonly found on wool and acrylic sweaters, or other clothing such as coats.
  • Blade # 2 is ideally suited for shaving medium-sized pills and fluff like those that are formed on finer woollens such as cashmere and merino wool. It is also very effective on acrylic fabrics, polyesters and textile blends.
  • Blade # 3 is best suited for small fluff that adheres to cotton and synthetic blends, such as t-shirts, scarves and shirt collars.

Personally I like to use it especially for my worsted wool sweaters because the pills are big enough and very easy to remove with this tool. Be careful not to use this tool on lace!

– Electric shaver (or battery)

This is another handy tool for removing pills. I bought a Philips battery shaver, which I use mainly for my DK and Fingering wool projects. As for the Gleener, it should not be used on lace, because the risk is for you to make a hole ….
This tool is very simple to use and comes with batteries. It only has one speed and you just have to pass it gently on your sweater so that it removes the pills. The process is longer than with the Gleener, but the result is very good. Know that I had first bought a shaver a little cheaper from another brand but as it worked very badly, I had to send it back.

Now, Gleener or electric shaver, it’s up to you to see! Both have advantages and disadvantages in my opinion.

  • Storage of your projets

Here are some tips to ensure a long life to your knitting:

– It is better to fold a woollen project than to hang it.
– Do not store a dirty sweater in your closet: it may attract moths, and the stains will become permanent.
– Use balls or cedar shavings, or lavender bags in your wardrobes. Cedar chips have the property of absorbing excess moisture, thus preventing mold. Lock them in fabric to prevent them from staining your woollens.
– Avoid storing your woolen goods in an airtight container. Natural fibers need to breathe. A bag of canvas or muslin will do the trick.

  • Clean your needles

This may seem a bit surprising, but it is important to clean your needles from time to time. Indeed, by manipulating them often, your skin deposits on it a little perspiration or sebum, and it means that your yarn could not glide as well on the needles with the time. I advise you to clean them with a cloth that you can soak in soapy water first, and then rinse.

I hope this second part of this tutorial can help you take good care of all your beautiful knits! See you soon!

 


Comments

  • 19 April 2017
    reply
    Mathilde

    Bonjour,
    Merci pour ce tutoriel très instructif et, comme toujours, tout est bien expliqué avec des photos claires et efficaces!
    Bonne journée

  • 19 April 2017
    reply
    Anne

    Super article et merci beaucoup pour toutes ces infos ! Je vais bloquer un ouvrage (un châle avec des point type dentelle) pour la première fois cette semaine… J’ai une question concernant la lessive. Je n’utilise que de la lessive “maison”, à base de savon de marseille… Est ce que je peux l’utiliser (de la même manière qu’une lessive qui nécessite un rinçage) à votre avis?

  • 19 April 2017
    reply

    Ro mais il est top cet article. Tu as répondu à pleins de questions que je me posais encore (sur les rasoirs…) donc merci! Et c’est sur que je renverrais vers ton article quand on me posera des questions maintenant ?

  • 20 April 2017
    reply

    Merci pour cet article très complet. En effet je confirme que je n’avais jamais entendu parler de blocage quand j’ai commencé à tricoter ( il y a très longtemps j’ai l’âge d’être ta maman) je pense que c’est la mondialisation des techniques grace à internet qui nous l’a apporté. C’est utile pour certains projets mais néfaste pour d’autres je trouve. Cela peut aplatir certains points structurés qui sont plus beaux sans blocage et fortement abîmés avec. Mais je crois que dans ce domaine comme beaucoup c’est aussi une question de goût.

  • 21 April 2017
    reply
    Latreille Carole

    Bonjour et merci pour vos explications. mais j’ai encore une question : le tricot doit-il resté épinglé jusqu’à complet séchage ?
    Merci pour votre réponse.

    carole

  • 22 April 2017
    reply
    Chrissy mu

    Merci bcp pour toutes ces explications très détaillées,depuis le temps que je recherche un article là dessus ,le votre est tres complet.
    Merci bcp!!!!

  • 27 April 2017
    reply
    fifine51

    Un grand merci pour ce très bel article très instructif !
    C’est toujours un grand plaisir de venir se balader sur votre blog !

  • 15 May 2017
    reply

    Bonjour,
    J’ai beaucoup apprécié cet article , ma maman tricote depuis toujours et effectivement elle n’utilise pas cette technique de blocage : je vais lui en toucher deux mots !

    PS : les photos ne s’affichent pas…

  • 1 June 2017
    reply

    Merci pour tous ces bons conseils, il faut que je les retienne.

  • 5 July 2017
    reply

    Merci encore pour cet article. Très instructif.

  • 4 October 2017
    reply
    Natalia

    Bonjour,
    Merci pour ce tutoriel très instructif!
    Par contre, comment fais-tu pour enlever les bouloches sur la dentelle?

  • 19 February 2018
    reply
    Françoise

    Bonjour Anna,
    Je suis très intéressée par votre explication détaillée sur le blocage! Merci d’avoir pris le temps de taper tout ça! Je viens de me remettre à tricoter après au moins 30 ans de pause, que de nouveautés! Deux questions me viennent: d’une part, faut-il retourner le tricot en train d’être bloqué au bout d’un moment, afin d’assurer un séchage satisfaisant du côté situé contre le tapis? Je suis en train de bloquer le snood que j’ai fait à ma fille. Ca fait 2 épaisseurs qui sèchent l’une sur l’autre, ça risque d’être long… Autre question, je suis également sur le point de terminer de tricoter un gros pull à col roulé. J’aimerais donc bloquer les morceaux séparément dès qu’ils seront finis. Mais j’ai un problème à cause du col, car la recette spécifiait de laisser les mailles du col en attente sur un arrêt de mailles, afin de tricoter le col une fois tous les morceaux assemblés… Est-ce que cet arrêt de mailles ou le fait qu’un certain nombre de mailles ne soient pas tricotées empêche le blocage? Et si ça ne l’empêche pas, est-ce que cela signifie que je ne pourrai pas bloquer le col, puisqu’il ne sera pas encore tricoté? Ou alors, je dois attendre d’avoir tout terminé avent de bloquer? Donc retour à la première question, parce que pour le coup, ça va faire deux très grosses épaisseurs en train de sécher l’une sur l’autre! Par ailleurs, que pensez-vous des blocages au fer à repasser que j’ai vu passer sur internet quelques fois, et vu expliqués dans un magazine de tricot pour débutant(e)s pas plus tard que la semaine dernière?
    Grand merci pour vos réponses en tous cas!
    Françoise

  • 4 November 2018
    reply
    Isabellurette

    J’ai tricoté un cardigan en jacquard de couleurs contrAstees (c’est une veste de type « cowichan »): rouge/noir/gris/écru. Mais je redoute le lavage – c’est surtout le rouge qui m’effraie un peu, je ne voudrais pas Me Retrouver avec un gilet rose…La laine utilisée: AlPaga « Andes » (Drops)

  • 27 November 2018
    reply
    Vanessa

    Merci beaucoup pour ces explications claires et très utiles.

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