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Old 12-30-2008, 10:11 AM   #1
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Does every project need to be blocked?
I don't understand the purpose of blocking. Does every knit project have to be blocked? What is the difference between a project that has been blocked and one that has not?

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:58 AM   #2
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I don't always block smaller projects, like, say, a scarf; I always block sweaters and such before seeming together. It makes the stitches lay nice, flat and even, and the feel of a blocked piece is completely different than a non-blocked piece (and there are various methods of blocking depending on the type of fiber). Also, the sweaters that I do I block because I want to not only have nice edges to seam together, but I also want to block the pieces to the size called for in the pattern.

I was teaching a baby sweater class one time, using just quick, inexpensive, acryclic sport weight baby yarn, and did a swatch and blocked it, and let everyone 'feel' it, as compared to an unblocked piece. The difference is amazing. In that case, I just pinned it and steam blocked it. Steam blocking is not right for everything, but the difference in the feel of it (not to mention making nice seems for sewing) is tremendous.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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Well, blocking generally does wonders for a knitted project. There are some really rare cases i won't block a piece i've knitted. Blocking makes the stitches even, patterns start "popping out", if you block after washing (not steam blocking), you are also washing the dirt from your yarn. Many garments will look shapeless and bulky, but after blocking to their correct size you'll get a perfectly wearable, drapey and well fitted piece of knitwear. There are certain fields of knitting where blocking is a "must", such as lace. As someone once mentioned, knitted lace looks like a cat's puke before you block. It's not worth knitting lace and not blocking it. Same goes to sweaters, IMHO. The same goes to colorwork/Fair Isle knitting. It usually looks bumpy and blocking gives the pattern it's best look.Here's an excellent example by the forum's blocking guru, ArtLady1981/aka Dollyce how blocking is done and how it changes the way a garment looks.
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Old 12-30-2008, 03:08 PM   #4
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You'll see the most difference on certain types of projects.. lace for instance. It's also extremely helpful for projects that will be need to be seamed. Acrylic seems a waste of time to me unless you need to do it for seaming because it won't hold the blocking. I just toss them in the washer and dryer.

When asking questions ALWAYS post the name and a link for the pattern if you have it.

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Old 12-30-2008, 11:30 PM   #5
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With acrylic or blends, you really don't need to block to even out stitches, washing and drying does that very well. I knit lace with acrylic, but use very large needles which helps open up the pattern. That's usually with worsted weight, with thinner yarn, it's got more wool, though I don't block much there either.
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:28 AM   #6
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OK, so after reading through the posts here, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I am still unsure if I need to block this scarf when I'm done with it or not. In a note, the lady who made the pattern says that she didn't, but mentioned something about liking the subtle blending of the cables ... I'll try and get a picture taken of what my scarf looks like so far so that maybe you'll have a better idea of whether it needs blocking or not. *rather confused look*
On the needles: Braided Cable Scarf (my very first knitting project)
On the table: Matching mittens, perhaps. (Still looking for a pattern)
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Old 12-31-2008, 11:40 AM   #7
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Perhaps I am relying on outdated information. My mother taught me many years ago to block knits from natural fibers, but that it wasn't necessary to block synthetics as they do not stretch or pull out of shape. She would reblock a sweater after it was washed if it was made out of natural fibers as well (not take it apart, but definately re-adjust its shape.) It was interesting to read the post about blocking inexpensive acrylic yarn as that goes against what I was taught. I will now think twice about this and block everything.

I have issues with space - no place to block, and equipment - nothing to block on or with. I tend to just lie things on the ironing board with sewing pins in them until they dry on their own. Crude, but effective. It also means I block larger projects in sections which doesn't always work well because it's difficult to wet only the section you are currently blocking. This has led me to knitting larger projects from inexpensive yarn, but since that is money-saving anyway, I haven't minded.

interesting topic
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