Yesterday we talked about the Squared Off Shawl pattern. Knitting with lace is interesting because it’s a type of knitting you must block. Especially if you’re doing a lace pattern. You need to open up all the eyelets and align the pattern. If your knitting doesn’t look good while you’re knitting, don’t despair! It may just need a good, hard, blocking.
I know we’ve talked about blocking before and how amazing it is, but we need to go over how to block your garments. A lot of the different blocking techniques depend on your space, your time, what you’re trying to achieve with your blocking, and if you have a place where your garment will be left alone. All these techniques are intertwined together and some are better than others for different situations.
Steam blocking is something of which I’m a huge fan and I talked about it in this post. https://knitmuch.com/steam-blocking-a-shawl-knitted-with-chic-sheep-goes-from-good-to-great/
The shawl in that post goes from curly to angular perfection!
I was curious to see how It’s a Wrap would block out because it’s lace knit up with a cotton acrylic blend. Acrylic will relax completely, but cotton doesn’t normally change too much when it’s blocked because, by nature, it’s a less flexible fiber.
With steam blocking, the shawl laid flat and kept its stitch definition, and relaxed a bit, but not as much as a pure acrylic. This means when you block It’s a Wrap into a shape, it will keep that shape and you will need to re-block much less often. Cotton is a less malleable fiber that likes to stay in the shape it was knit into and this factors into what I said earlier about what you want the fiber to do. If you’ve knit something a little too short, you can block it longer. Usually you can get length or width from blocking a garment, but not both. With the cotton, the garment is going to stay how you knit it. You’ll be able to have those sharp shawl edges and open eyelets without compromising the structure of the shawl.
With wet blocking it was a little easier to manipulate the dimensions of the garment. Wet blocking takes space, time, and you must be able to lay it in a place where it won’t be disturbed for a day or two. You completely submerge the garment then gently squeeze the water out. Pin it to the dimensions you want. While you can manipulate this fiber, it keeps its shape more than wool or acrylic, so double check your gauge before starting if you’re knitting a sweater or something that needs to be fitted. After wet blocking It’s a Wrap yarn, the swatch was more relaxed than steam blocking and still retained its ‘strength’. I felt like I could have tugged and pulled it in different directions and it would stretch, but not become disfigured.
Overall, I was very impressed with the ability of It’s a Wrap to blend the stability of cotton with the softness and pliability of acrylic. All the while, keeping a machine washable yarn that makes a beautiful garment.
This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: It’s a Wrap yarn enhances simple knit and purl stitches pattern
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