Adding the finishing touches - or blocking, can be the 'make or break moment' to how professional your knitting project looks in the end.
Questionable sewing-up, scraggly ends and crumpled fabric all culprits that make for a messy end to lots of hard work. A perfect finish is just as important as the knitting itself.
Take, for example, this gorgeous baby shawl knitting pattern. At first glance, it might look really tricky but, on closer inspection, you’ll see that these are just big knitted rectangles with an easy knitted-in border, with a nifty no-knit edging which is achieved at the very end. How, you ask? It’s easy! Read on…
How To Knit: Adding pretty edging to your work
‘Finishing off’, ‘blocking’ or ‘dressing’ just means how to add pretty details when all the actual knitting is done. With shawls like the ones pictured, knitted in a delicate pure wool, we recommend that you have a go at the following;
1. Start by darning in all your ends, on the wrong-side of your work so nobody can see them. Use a sharp-tipped needle with a big eye (so that it is big enough for the yarn). The ones we like are often labelled as ‘Chenille’ needles.
2. Gently handwash in a bowl of tepid water with a little bit of gentle soap like baby shampoo or Castille soap (made from olive oil) or good old-fashioned Lux flakes, and remove any excess water.
3. Now, with big shawls like this, you’ll need some space. Try using a double bed to block big shawls, like this one below.
4. If you look very carefully at the picture above, you will see that every point has been taken and tugged at slightly, you then fix a pin in each point to hold the shape. You need to do it while the knitting is still damp and then, as it dries, you will find that it will stay in the shape it was pinned in. You don’t have to use your bed, they take a couple of days to dry out properly, and you’ll need somewhere to sleep! You could try a big bath towel on the floor if you’re short of space.
5. Use pins with big ‘heads’ so that you don’t lose them in your knitting (or worse still, in your bed!), and make sure you don’t move it until it’s completely dry, or else it will still be flexible and likely to warp and change shape.
6. There’s no need to ‘press’ your shawls after you’ve done this. Simply laying them flat to dry will allow the fibres to ‘relax’ and smooth out, so the shawl will look lovely and neat and flat once it’s finished. Then, ta da! All that’s left to do is choose who is lucky enough to get it!