Wetblocking is one of roughly 3 blocking methods (see related articles). It’s the most thorough method but also often yields the best results. It can be used for any type of yarn. Just make sure you don’t agitate the yarn when you roll it between the towels.
- A sink or bucket
- two or more old towels
- Blocking mats (available on Habbedash and Woolwarehouse).
- T-pins. I’d definitely choose T-pins over regular pins. They’re sturdier and easier to place. Whatever you choose, make sure they’re made out of stainless steel (available on Woolwarehouse and on Loveknitting (US))
- Eucalan, a leave-in yarn detergent. Technically not necessary but I would heavily recommend it! (Available on Habbedash and Woolwarehouse)
Nice to have:
- Blocking wires (available at Habbedash)
- Blocking boards (available on Woolwarehouse)
- Sock blockers, the name says it all. They’re to easily block your socks in shape. They are available in multiple sizes. (on Woolwarehouse)
Wet blocking tutorial
1. Soak your item for 15-30 minutes in a basin filled with cold water, so the water can penetrate the yarn. If you prefer, you can add a bit of Eucalan in this step. Eucalan is a product containing Lanoline, a natural content of fibers that is usually stripped away during the fabrication of the yarn. Lanoline brings back a bit of softness to your yarn, and also, it smells really, REALLY good. The soak helps to get rid of any excess dye, thus helping prevent colour bleeding. You don’t have to rinse it out.
3. Now gently roll the item as if it was a sushi roll. So no wringing or hard pressing, just gently squeeze out the excess water. You just want to take your item from soaking wet to moist. The weight of the towels will already press out most of the water.
4. Take out your blocking board and pins. Pin your item flat, and into shape on the blocking board, paying extra attention to picots and shells. It’s ok if you stretch it a little: you will notice if you overstretch it, because your piece will then form ‘peaks’ where you’ve put your needles. Don’t be afraid to use too many pins. There’s no such thing as ‘too many pins’ when it comes to blocking.
If you’re blocking a piece that is made in the round or has a double layer of fabric, such as a sweater, or a hat, make sure that it’s flat down the seams, so there won’t be creases forming in the front- or backpanel. If you are blocking large pieces often, you might want to invest in blocking wires. These are long, flexible wires that help cover larger area’s. You can put them into place by adding a couple of pins just behind the wire. I’ve used blocking wires for the large side on this shawl.
5. Leave your item to dry overnight. Don’t unpin it until it’s completely dry. Gently unpin it. You’ll see, blocking makes a huge difference! This is the end result:
(The pattern is the Feather and Fan shawl).