Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blocking = washing

The last step in the knitting process is to block the item.

Not to long ago I read on a blog (link here) that blocking is really just like washing the garment. (the point was made that knitters who say they never block must block at some point because you eventually have to wash the item). I find that to be so true, that it's stuck with me. I like to block right after I finish the item because I find garments lay and fit better after they are blocked. And it really is the exact same process that is needed to wash the garment later on. (of note, the blog post I linked to, she does her blocking slightly different than I do, she blocks each piece then sews the garment together, I sew it together then block. I never thought to do it her way, I may try that next time, she made some good points to support her method. Either way will work).

After I knit up the infant sweater, I blocked it. I thought I would show the steps as a way to demonstrate how to wash these hand made products.

First I hand wash the garment. The important thing with alpaca products it to not agitate the item, or it can felt (so far I have not had anything felt on me, but supposedly this can happen easily). Using the washing machine's gentle cycle (as I often do with the store bought "hand wash only" items), would not work with alpaca products. That would very easily felt it. Instead, I use the kitchen sink. I'll break down the steps:

fill sink with a couple inches of warm water, add a little dish soap

put garment in the water, let soak for about 15 minutes

pull garment out, do not agitate or wring out

drain water

fill sink with warm water and NO soap

put garment in to soak for 10 minutes (repeat as necessary until soap is rinsed out). I find if I put a lot of water in the sink on this step, I only have to do this one time.

take garment out of the sink, drain water

using a large dry towel, lay the garment on the towel:

roll the garment into the towel, squeezing out water. I usually flip the garment over and use another towel. I do this several times in various directions. I try to get out as much of the water this way as I can.

lay the garment on a dry towel, shaping it in the shape is it supposed to be in (this will help it hold it's form), place somewhere it can sit overnight or for a couple days until fully dry


Obviously with this much involved in washing it, it's best to not wash these items that much. Thankfully hats and slipper socks (worn over regular socks) and scarves and outer wear sweaters don't have to be washed every time they are used.

Another good thing to remember is that these hand made knit items can get out of shape. Never hang them on a hanger, that will stretch them out. If they are a little stretched out, you can wash them in very warm water, shape them very well in the drying process, and it will help reshape the item back to what it is suppose to be.


Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

This is very helpful! Thanks Cara!

watalulu said...

That is reassuring because that is how I do it, but being a rookie, I often second guess things.


Oak Haven Alpacas said...

I find with most crafts there are a few different ways to do things that do work. I tend to mess around with the process until I find the way that works best for me. I figure if it works for me, then it's an ok way to do it (it works after all). But, I also know there are several other ways that work too. I'm always finding out new tips and revising my crafting ways.

Cara :)

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