Blocking

Michelle over at the Knit.1 blog shares a great idea to use sticky measuring tape to make your own blocking board.

You know what a blocking board is, yes?

Especially helpful (and sometimes necessary) when working with natural fibers, blocking involves pinning your finished piece to particular dimensions, and then using one of a variety of techniques to make the piece stay in that shape when you unpin it. Blocking helps to relax your stitches (this is especially apparent when knitted lace is blocked, if you want to search for examples), and generally evens out the fabric and shape of your finished object.

My favourite blocking technique is to pin my piece down (usually to the mattress of the bed in our guest bedroom; this is where a blocking board would come in handy, with its built-in rulers to aid pinning to exact measurements), then spritz it with water lightly but thoroughly, using a spray bottle. Then I let it dry. If you do this, be sure to use rust-proof pins, for obvious reasons.

Other options include: gently submersing the piece in water and then pinning it out (when a clothing label tells you to hand or machine wash the garment then lay it flat to dry, the laying flat part is essentially blocking the garment back to its intended shape); using steam either from a steamer or from an iron (without actually ironing the piece); and people who work in thread crochet are, I'm sure, familiar with using a starch solution to stiffen their pieces to make things like ornaments or doilies retain their flatness and uniform shape.

Some stitch patterns need to be blocked so they show off their beauty the best – they need to be opened up. And if you crochet a garment out of a natural fiber, you can generally adjust the size of the finished piece up by an inch or two (or more, depending) by stretching it out to larger dimensions and then blocking it. Sadly, too-large garments can't be made smaller.

Got any good blocking tips to share?

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Shaping, Fit, and Blocking

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