Better Blocking

When you block a piece of knitting, you wet it down or steam it to coax it into its final shape, letting the moisture and/or heat smooth out all the uneven stitches and straighten out wavy, rolling edges. Blocking is crucial to the final look of your work. All those long hours of careful stitch creation deserve your best efforts now.

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Don't try to seam up your sweater before you block the pieces. Curling edges make it hard to see what you're doing. If you're ready to block something you've knit in the round, move on to the section, "Three-dimensional blocking," later in this chapter to find out what to do next.

Before you block your piece, check for any stitches left "open" to be sewn or grafted together later. If you put them on a pin-type stitch holder, use a tapestry needle to rethread them onto a colorfast piece of scrap yarn long enough that you can tie the ends together without bunching up the stitches. When you're blocking, you want your pieces to lie nice and flat.

Tweaking Vs

Tweaking Vs

As you're weaving in ends, keep an eye out for loose or misshapen stitches on the right (front) side of your fabric. While you're holding the tapestry needle, you can tweak them back into line by using the tip of your needle to adjust the legs of the stitch, as shown in the following figure.

Remember that a row of stitches is connected. If you have a loose or sloppy stitch, you can pull on the legs of the neighboring Vs in either direction for as many stitches as you need to in order to redistribute the extra yarn. If one side of the V is distorted or larger than the other, pull slightly on the other side or tweak the stitch in whatever way is necessary to even it out.

You don't need to get too fussy about the appearance of every single stitch. Blocking straightens any general and minor uneven-ness, but sometimes, especially in color work, the stitches around the color changes can use a little extra help.

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