Blocking Knits – How To Block Knitting Guide


In this post, you will see the blocking knits – How to block knitting guide.

Blocking your finished knitted projects is of course always a good idea to make sure the finished piece looks how it should.

Any garment, like a sweater, especially should be blocked before you seam it together.

How to block knitting

What Is Blocking?

Blocking is a process that you do once you have finished your knitting project.

This means that you stretch and shape your finished piece so that it has the correct measurements your pattern has given you.

It can also help to make your stitches look more even, hide any mistakes you made and straighten the curled edges.

Also, it will help your pieces fit better together for seaming.

Some pieces using thinner yarn weights like lace shawls will almost always need to be blocked.

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blocking knits with T pins to reshape

Blocking Tips

  • To make sure your hard work survives the blocking process, it’s a good idea to block your gauge swatch before moving to the whole project.
  • This way you will see the end results and avoid any mistakes that will ruin your project.
  • Make sure to weave in all the loose ends before blocking your project, as it helps it block better.
  • When blocking a ribbed knit piece make sure not to stretch it as it will dry this way and lose its elasticity.
  • Whichever method you decide to follow the biggest tip is to be patient and gentle.
  • Don’t wring your projects to dry them, and don’t pull hard at the edges.
Blocking knitting on blocking mats

How Do I Block My Knitting?

There are four main ways that you can block your kitting:

  • Wet Blocking.
  • Steam Blocking.
  • Spray Blocking.
  • Dry Blocking

Wet Blocking Method

To wet block your pieces you need to make sure they are damp – but not dripping with water, you can use a special wool wash for this and you will need a basin or sink.

Lay it out on your blocking mats and stretch it into shape, using your blocking pins to pin it into place.

As the piece dries it will stay in the shape that you want, so that when you remove the blocking pins, it will retain that shape.

Just be careful with the type of fibers you use for wet blocking, as some fibers in the yarn may not cope well when wet.

For example, man-made fibers will work fine with wet blocking but some animal fibers may not.

Be sure to check your yarn labels for any care instructions before you start.

Blocking mats for knitting

Steam Blocking Method

Steam blocking can be done in a similar way to wet blocking.

Stretch out and pin your finished piece onto your blocking mats, place a damp cloth over the piece, and then use a hot iron press very lightly on the cloth.

Don’t press it like you are ironing as it can melt the fibers and flatten the stitches, just let the moisture from the steam go through the cloth and into the knitting.

You can also use steam without the cloth, just steam over the knitting without touching it at all and let the steam do its work, leaving the piece to dry into shape afterward.

This is not suitable for all types of fibers as some fibers do not fare well with heat.

Any synthetic fibers will not benefit from this method of blocking, but any fibers that can’t get wet will be ok.

Again check your yarn label for all care instructions before blocking.

Check this post out to learn how to read a yarn labelHow To Read A Yarn Label (Step By Step)

iron for steam blocking knitting

Spray Blocking Method

There is no best blocking method that you have to follow but spray blocking is the method I like to use the most.

It is really gentle on your knits and easy to do once you have the right tools!

This is also a great method when you are not sure about the fibers and how they will react to being really damp or with the steam-blocking method.

Stretch and pin out your piece to the correct dimensions onto your blocking surface, then with a spray bottle containing water, go ahead lightly spritzing the knitted piece.

Once it is sufficiently damp, but not really wet, allow it to dry flat and then you can remove the pins.

See the coaster knitting pattern used in the image below here.

blocking the coasters

Dry Blocking

To dry block your knit project you just have to follow some simple steps.

Hold the edges of your project, and pull them in opposite directions.

If it’s a large project fold each vertical side inwards and pull on the folds, keep folding and unfolding the knitted fabric to stretch the entire width of the work horizontally

Once you have done that, repeat the same process vertically.

Fold the garment in horizontal sections and pull it from top to bottom, stretching out the fabric.

If you want to hide or fix any mistakes like uneven stitches, pull at the surrounding stitches to spread the yarn evenly.

Tools That Can Help You To Block

There are some tools that really help you to block your knitting, like blocking mats, pins, and a spray bottle.

The blocking mats you can buy are normally made from thick foam with grids so that the pins can easily go in without coming through to the other side.

You could substitute with a cheaper alternative like children’s interlocking play mats, just be careful when pushing the pins through as they are not as thick as the knitter’s specific mats.

You can easily create your own blocking board with any flat surface you don’t mind getting wet, if you are planning to pin your fabric, a soft surface is preferred, a yoga mat, ironing board, or even a bulletin board. 

Any pins can also work to pin your project into place as it dries into its final shape.

Blocking pins and T Pins are used to keep your knitting in place.

How To Block Your Knitted Socks

While not mandatory, blocking your socks will bring you great results.

Soak your socks in cold water for around 15 minutes before lifting them gently and supporting their weight so the fabric doesn’t sag.

Don’t forget to always check the yarn label for care instructions and follow them to keep your yarn safe.

Once you take your socks out of the water, remove the excess water by gently squeezing them. 

If you feel like they are still too wet you can always place them inside a dry towel fold them place them on the floor and walk over them a few times.

In the final step, place them on the sock blockers and let them dry flat or hang them.

If you don’t have sock blockers you can always wear the sock on your hand, to shape it and then place it carefully on a flat surface to dry.

sock blockers
Knitted socks on sock blockers/knit blockers

How To Block Acrylic Yarn

If you want to block a knit made with acrylic yarn fibers the best way is to use the steam-blocking method.

Acrylic fibers can melt enough under heat making it very easy to manipulate, giving it the perfect shape.

However, you have to be careful because anything you do to an acrylic fabric is irreversible.

Put your iron in the highest steam mode and medium heat, hover 1-2 inches over your projects, and let the heat do the work.

The fibers relax leaving you room to manipulate it.

Don’t hover in one spot for too long and don’t press down on your project.

While heat really helps to correctly shape your project, too much of it can also kill it, the fibers will burn and the stitches will flatten.

yarn with acrylic fibres

How To Care For Fibers

Fibers are the core of the yarn and it’s important to learn how to take care of them correctly so they can live a long long time and look brand new.

Fibers can be natural like wool (sheep or alpaca), cotton, silk, mohair, hemp, or man-made like acrylic, nylon, polyester, rayon, etc.

Yarns don’t necessarily have to be one or the other as you can have the best of both worlds with a fiber blend. 

Have the durability of acrylic fiber and the warmth and softness of wool in one yarn ball.

Synthetic Yarns And Blends

Synthetic yarns are made out of man-made materials like acrylic fibers. 

They are usually easier to treat than natural fibers, some synthetic can even be placed in the washing machine, in a low heat circle.

But the best way is to use the spray-blocking method as it’s the less invasive one.

If you have a yarn with a blend of synthetic and natural fibers you will get the best results treating it as wool.

Natural Yarns

Wool fibers require more delicate treatment.

Handwash your knit in lukewarm water and wool detergent as hot water will make them shrink.

Soak the garment a few times and give it gentle squeezes, once it’s ready take it out, place it on a dry towel, and roll it to remove the excess water.

Place it on a flat surface and leave it to air dry flat.

Cotton Yarns

Cotton yarns are durable and they can be machine washed and dried. 

Even if it shrinks a little in the wash, it will easily stretch back to its correct shape with use.

If you have an old or special project it’s always best to hand wash it and let it air dry flat.

No matter the type of yarn, never forget to check the label for information.

Finishing Your Projects…

The blocking process is a great way to finish your project, making sure that the pieces are the desired shape before seaming.

All projects can really benefit from blocking but, I would definitely recommend doing this with any garments that you are making to ensure a better finish.

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How to block knitting

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  1. Hi. I really enjoyed your explanations on blocking. I have a question. Is it o to bring my garment outside to block under the sun and expeditate the drying?

    1. Hello Isa,
      I think that depends on how strong the sun is where you are, because it could possibly fade your yarn, the hand-dyed yarns especially could have some color fade.
      If you live in a place with extreme heat, I would place it in the shade for an hour to see how that goes.
      If you live in an place that is not so hot, you could place it in the sun for an hour or so and keep an eye on it to see how it’s going.
      I hope that helps!

    1. Hello Dana,
      You could try to stretch an old sheet over your bed – tight so it is not loose over the covers and then stretch your blanket across and pin it.
      You need enough tension to hold it into place and so that it has the desired shape.
      I hope that helps!