Knitting Help – Steam Blocking

Knitting Help – Steam Blocking


A lot of times in my tutorials and in my patterns
I recommend steam blocking. It’s something I talk about a lot, but I
don’t think I’ve ever really demonstrated how to do it. Um, regular blocking usually refers to completely
soaking your knitted item, finished knitted item, in wool wash and soap, and then setting
it out flat to dry, just the way that you want it. But there are some times where you want things
blocked out a little bit, but you don’t really have to take the time to do a full
wet block for it. For example, well, two examples I can think
of off the top of my head. One is knitted lace. As I’m knitting it,
I want to see the pattern emerge, and see it look good, so I frequently take it to my
blocking board, with the iron, and steam it out a little bit, flatten it out, so I can
see how pretty is as I’m knitting it, instead of waiting for the whole thing to be finished. That’s kind of just me. But the way that this is really practical,
is when you’re knitting something that needs to be seamed. For instance, a sweater that’s knit in pieces,
you know, front, sleeves back. And you’re going to be seaming the whole
thing together. And the pieces right after you knit them are usually a curly wrinkled
mess. So if you can steam them out to the schematics
in the pattern, it’s going to be much easier to seam the whole thing together when they’re
flat. Well, let’s just take a look at this. This here is a sleeve. This is the top of the sleeve and I don’t
have room to show you the whole thing, but it’s not really that important. This is from my Ombre Dyed Sweater pattern,
and in the pattern I give you the exact measurements for what your knitting should be, which makes
it really easy to steam it out, because you can just follow the directions here. So, again, the blocking board is helpful,
because I have this grid on here to make things really easy. And what I’m going to do is just pin this
out, 1, 2, 3 and a half. To the measurements in the schematics. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Without going in to too much detail about
the size of this or anything, I’m just following the pattern. And of course, I would follow this down all
the way to the bottom of the sleeve, and measure that whole thing out. But here I go, I’ve got the whole sleeve
cap pinned out. And then I’m going to take the iron, on
the highest setting of steam, and apply steam like this without pressing down. This is especially effective if you’re using
wool. Wool just does whatever you want it to when
you apply steam to it. So here I can flatten the stitches out, and
if my stitches are a little bit wonky, I can pat them down and flatten them out and make
them look really good. And when you get your pieces finished like
this, you just let them cool this way, and then they will be flat, they will look nice,
and they will be easier to seam. Now one thing I want to show you, one trick. If you’re working with stockinette and it’s
really curling up on you, it is easier to flip it over and do it from the other side. You see the stockinette is curling in this
way. So it’s easier to pin it out if I can unroll
it this way. The measurements are all the same, of course. It’s just easier to pin it this way if the
stockinette is really curling. Anyway, that’s it. I’m finally telling
you exactly what I mean when I stay steam blocking. Good luck. [music]

32 thoughts on “Knitting Help – Steam Blocking

  1. how to knit v neck I am knitting a pullover right now and I wanna it with v neck how to start it and the steps of knitting it

  2. I just added a link in the video description to my Frequently Asked Questions page, where you'll find a bunch of info on my blocking board, and shopping for one.

  3. The only lace hat I've ever knit was a beret, so I blocked it around a dinner plate. If I was blocking a non-beret lace hat, I'd probably pin it out and turn and repin it frequently as it dried. It would be handy to have a mannequin head for this task!

  4. Im just starting to knit but i really wanna learn to do a christmas sweater, could you pleasseee tell me how to do it?

  5. Thank you for the suggestion, Eugenia – but to be honest, it is unlikely that I'll do a tutorial on a Christmas sweater (especially before Christmas 2012!). I recommend that you search Ravelry for a pattern you like, and give it a go. Good luck!

  6. I always blow up a ballon to the approximate size of the person's head, prop it up on a mug or glass, and place the hat on it to dry. Has worked well for me!

  7. Hi Staci- I'm just finishing up a seamless bottom up raglan knitted in 4×1 ribbing. The sweater is made in 100% sport weight baby Alpaca. When I knitted your "how to knit a men's sweater" pattern in wool I wet blocked which worked out nicely. Would you recommend wet blocking for a seamless ribbed in Baby Alpaca as well? I did notice that when I wet blocked my swatch, the Alpaca really grew in size. Thanks! -Bill

  8. Bill – this is why I always say that you need to not only knit up a swatch before you start a project, but wash and block the swatch before you check your gauge. I do recommend wet blocking for sweaters, but in your case, wet blocking might make the sweater grow too much to fit anymore. What I would do (you're not going to like this!) – swatch, wash and block the swatch, and see how different the gauge is from the unwashed knitting. If it's way off, you may need to reknit the sweater. Sorry!

  9. You can wash the yarn before you start knitting, but you'll still need to swatch and wash and block the finished object after knitting it, anyway. Sort of an unnecessary, extra step. Regarding your second question – the pattern designer should tell you what stitch to use when checking gauge. Usually it is stockinette if they don't say otherwise. Hope that helps!

  10. Jessica – yes, I do recommend that. Steam blocking before seaming makes the seaming much easier, but you'll still need to wet block the garment when you're finished. For one thing, the seams you just made will look much nicer after a gentle wash! 🙂

  11. Yes – using wool soap will help with the wooly scent some wools have. But I don't recommend Woolite – that soap is really for fine machine washables, like lingerie. Your best bet is to go with a product like Eucalan or Soak. Those are two really nice wool washes, that don't require rinsing. You can find a retailer near you by googling them.

  12. You mention on your other videos that you used wool soap when wet blocking for ypur wool knits. Do I still used wool soap for acrylic knits, cotton, and etc.? Thanks!

  13. Thank you so much. I'm in the middle of my first lace project (scarf) and it's curling quite a bit and the whole thing looks like a misshapen blob, lol.
    I can barely imagine what the lace parts are going to look like when it's finished. (I did do a gauge swatch, but without blocking… I know, I know. I'll always do the whole swatch thing all the way through from now on) 🙂
    Anyway, your tip to steam block before the item is finished is great! The suggestion to pin curling items from the other side is helpful as well.
    Another wonderfully helpful video. Thank you!

  14. I always steam block my scarves while stitching so I will know when to stop before they get to long, especially loops 🙂

  15. thank you for your podcast – I was wondering where you purchased your board and what it was made from as you were able to pin and also use your iron to steam block the item.

  16. I am knitting a raglan sleeve sweater and the stitches for the neck are left on stitch holders for the four pieces involved. Should I block the various pieces before knitting the neck, this might be difficult as the stitches on the holders might not let me get the correct measurement and I am also concerned that the stitches on the holders might be distorted when I pick them up for knitting the neck. Would it be better to knit the neck and then block the pieces before sewing them up. Would appreciate your advice

  17. Hi Staci, a quick question: is this what is meant when a pattern says to “lightly block” the finished piece? I’ve finished the Winterfell cardigan by Katherine Schneider, and the final instruction is to lightly block. I will eventually have to fully soak it to wash it, but I was just wondering if you knew. I can reach out to the designer, too. Thanks!

  18. This is so helpful for beginning knitters! I don't mean to sound mean towards other knitting youtubers, but after watching dozens of videos the past few days, I love how you show the whole process from a good camera angle (super easy to follow) and you have personality, but you also don't take minutes on end explaining every tiny little thing you're doing, recounting memories, etc during a tutorial and wasting everyone's time lol. Thank you!

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