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boyforpele13 10-25-2010 09:43 PM

I just can't block :(
I've watched videos, viewed multiple websites, books, everything, and I feel that I am simply incapable of blocking. Is there anything anyone can recommend that was like the "a ha!" moment for them in blocking? I feel like I've reached the "ceiling" of my knitting "career" when it comes to blocking and it's infuriating. I finally finished the knitting on the Kenobi Jacket I've been working on and off for over THREE YEARS and I soak the pieces and lay them out to block and I'm just all thumbs. I understand the concept, measure out, pin corners, pin the rest to those measurements, etc., it just doesn't happen. On top of it, the fronts are measuring 4 inches wider than called for in the schematic.... I'm actually okay with it because I think I've put on a few pounds since I started it, but it's just like NOTHING works right when I try to block ANYTHING.


I finished a Hemlock Ring Blanket and gave it away to another knitter because I couldn't block it... I can't just not block ever and I want my darn jacket!

I am contemplating a blocking wire kit like from Knit Picks or I saw someone posted one from Overstock, but is that something that "fixes" this problem for blocking morons? I'm so terribly frustrated.


suzeeq 10-26-2010 12:23 AM

Here's a hint -- you don't have to block everything by stretching. Just washing and laying out to dry (or in the dryer if it can go) is usually enough to even out the stitches. For lace you usually have to stretch a little, a round blanket is difficult though. You can also do lace in a larger needle which opens up the sts and pattern. I have heard people do love blocking wires though, so that may help you.

boyforpele13 10-26-2010 12:53 AM

Thank you, Sue!

Unfortunately, this piece requires blocking, or at least parts of it do.... it's done in a deliberately asymmetrical pattern of double moss, st. st, rev. st. st, 1x1, 3x3, etc. so some pieces just aren't nicely shaped for seaming or very rectangular and like one front has ribbing and the other one doesn't, so it's stretchy while the other one lays nice and flat. :(

MerigoldinWA 10-26-2010 03:05 AM

You said the fronts were measuring 4 inches wider than called for. Is that each front? If so, yikes, that is quite a bit. Did the pieces measure that big before you soaked them? Did you block your swatch before you started and did it grow any? I confess I don't usually wash swatches, but some yarns can give you a nasty surprise if you don't (dirty little secret, I think they sometimes do even if you do block your swatch). If your pieces grew during washing I suggest you be very gentle with the washing and give a lot of support to the pieces when you lift them out of the water. Maybe it would be better to drain the sink and lean on the pieces to extract as much water as you can before lifting.

But have you tried Lucy Neatby's idea of blocking the item out while it is dry and then misting it.

ArtLady is our resident expert at blocking. I think she blocks everything she makes and always gets such professional results. Have you looked through her posts about blocking?

I don't always pin things (often don't). I just blocked a sweater body for a fisherman's gansey (100% wool) for DH. I was wanting to pin it but didn't have any pins I was sure would not rust and this is natural colored and that would have been a disaster, rust I mean. I did a little measuring and stretched the length of the armholes a little because I was a little worried about that part being too short. For that I washed it, I did do the draining and leaning I mentioned. Then I put in in the washer on spin and spun it a little, but not full time because I've found that I can spin in wrinkles. Laid it out gently and patted it smooth. Did the measuring and slight stretching. Then waited for it to dry.

You might try redoing your sweater and coaxing it to be as small as possible. :shrug: It might help a little. But if your item started out the right size I think the dry blocking and misting might have helped it not grow so much, if it did.

This is a bummer. I'm sorry. :hug:

boyforpele13 10-26-2010 04:29 PM

I'm not at all worried about the size. I am definitely bigger now than when I started it and after 3 years of working on it, I'd be even more devastated if it didn't fit around my fat self. :P

The "wonkiness" of this piece is something I addressed with the designer when I first started working on it because it was so severe. It is *REALLY* wonky in some spots because of the pattern stitches, otherwise I probably wouldn't have bothered blocking it until after it was seamed just to rectangularize spots. It is 50% alpaca and I know that can get REALLY drapey and stretchy when damp, so that could be part of it too.

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