How to Block a Newly-Knit Sweater

Block Around the Clock

Blocking consists of stretching out the sweater on a cushiony block, using pins to help define shoulder seams and body dimensions.  It makes a big difference!
Blocking consists of stretching out the sweater on a cushiony block, using pins to help define shoulder seams and body dimensions. It makes a big difference! | Source
This scarf is also being blocked to hang uniformly.  Without blocking, it can look bunched or gathered.
This scarf is also being blocked to hang uniformly. Without blocking, it can look bunched or gathered. | Source

Knit and Block

At last. Your fresh, soft, and lovely home made sweater is now finished, and just begging to be worn. But wait! There is the final touch that means the world - don't forget to block your sweater.

A finishing touch that speaks volumes, postpone your sweater's debut in public for another day. Take another 24 hours or so to properly block it - and then, your work will be absolutely complete!

Why Block?

Why block, especially if the sweater already looks good on its subject?

Blocking is to a soft, warm yarn sweater is what ironing is to a lovely cotton blouse. It uplifts it, gives it uniformity, and even new life.

While knitting, the sweater may become misshaped due to handling and stretching. Stitches may be too tight due to physical tension, stress or lack of concentration. With the human factor at work, anything is possible, and since a handmade sweater is a product of a human being, there will most definitely be larger / smaller stitches. Blocking sets the record straight, and is the great equalizer. When you finish, it will look as though it came off the rack.

Blocking puts the finishing touch to your masterpiece so that it just hangs beautifully. Your goal is a first class sweater that people will say "YOU made that?!" Blocking is to knitting what ironing is to a cotton shirt or blouse. The finishing touch.

Before You Begin...

Crochet hook

The first step is to carefully weave all loose ends into the edges of the body, using a crochet hook. Try to keep the ends near the edges. They may look bumpy now, but with blocking, they will magically find new little nooks and crannies to hide into.

The yarn may be "split" and then woven in to make sure it's securely tucked inside and won't rear their ugly little heads, unannounced.

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How to Block?

There's really nothing to it!

Here is what you'll need to block your newly-knit sweater:

  1. A plastic tub for moistening your sweater, a steam iron, or a plastic spray bottle filled with water. A garment steamer works well, too.
  2. A flat, cushion-y surface, like a blocking board, terrycloth towels, a mattress, cork, rice cakes (no - not the rice cakes). Anything that you can stick a pin into will do.
  3. A measuring stick. Sturdy, it gives true to life dimensions better than a tape measure, which can be too flexible and may result in faulty measurements.
  4. The finished dimensions of the sweater, as stated on the pattern. Or, if you made it based on your own pattern, use the measurements you had in mind when you began (ex., 30 inches around the body, back waist measurement, and so on). These will be your guide.
  5. Plenty of pins, waterproof and rustproof

There are two options - moisten the sweater in a plastic tub and roll in towels to absorb the extra water - first. If you choose this method, rinse in lukewarm water. Do not ever wring a knit garment. Sandwich it between two absorbent towels, lengthwise, and roll it up. Now step on it a few times (barefoot or in socks) to help absorb the extra water. if it is moist, it is ready to be blocked.

Or - begin blocking the sweater onto the board or mattress, and THEN stem with the spray bottle or electric iron.

Suppose you use the first method, place the sweater on the board in the dimensions set out by your knitting pattern. Pins need to be placed fairly close together to avoid a scalloped edge. Work with the sweater. By stretching it to the dimensions you had intended, the loose ends will wriggle their way better into the sweater than before. Think of beef jerkey. Stretch, and let it dry into place.

If you decided on the second method (block and then moisten), using the yardstick, pin securely all edges, then spray generously with the bottle, or blast warm steam from the electric iron.

What to look for? that the bottom edges are even, that the front and backs are the same, the at both sleeves are the same length. Adjust the neckline so it's around the neck and not gaped open.

Now, simply wait for it to dry in the dimensions you have blocked!

Block Your Sweater for Button Placement

Blocking the front of a cardigan enables the buttonholes and buttons to line up evenly and professionally.
Blocking the front of a cardigan enables the buttonholes and buttons to line up evenly and professionally. | Source

Whenever You Launder

Sweater blocking is designed to re-shape your beautiful, hand made sweater so that it looks fresh and new again, the next time you wear it. After washing in a mild detergent, preferably one designed for sweaters and other delicate fabrics, you can, and probably should, block it again. Soak and rinse well, never wringing. Roll it up in towels, like before, removing all excess moisture, repeating the blocking procedure described above.

Good Luck, and Enjoy your lovely creation, whether it's the first - or 91st - time you wear it!

Spiffy Sweater Stripes

A hot dog sweater.  Any striped sweater needs blocking to keep the lines straight and sleek looking.
A hot dog sweater. Any striped sweater needs blocking to keep the lines straight and sleek looking. | Source

Tip Top Man or Woman

The devil is in the details, and the small things really do make a big difference. A blocked sweater is a classy choice to wear on a date, be it for personal or professional reasons.

Sweaters are soft, touchable and cling to the body. They can be deep and plunging or high necked and sporty. Shoulder pads add definition to a lumpy body shape. In short, sweaters can be flattering to a large variety of body types.


Don't be deceived. This extra step speaks volumes. Just get in the habit of whenever washing your precious knitted garment, block it before re-wearing it. It is just one of those things that become a no-brainer. This is one of many ways of standing out in the crowd as the tip-top dressed man or woman for very little effort and nearly any expense whatsoever.

Psst!

Blocking tends to extend the life of your garment and give it a facelift, so like a beautiful woman's true age - let it stay a well-kept secret!

Good Luck, and Enjoy your lovely creation, whether it's the first - or 91st - time you wear it!


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Comments 3 comments

GoodLady profile image

GoodLady 4 years ago from Rome, Italy

I don't knit, but think your Hub is useful and very attractive. I liked the pictures a lot! Nice layout. Nice how to..list. Very easy to follow.


EuroCafeAuLait profile image

EuroCafeAuLait 4 years ago from Croatia, Europe Author

Thanks, Goodlady! The first of my eight :) It was a fun Hub to put together, and looks pretty easy to do, I must say!! Best to you, ECAL


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago

Useful information. I could use this to get my sweaters back into shape after a wash. Thanks for sharing and Have a lovely day!

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