Finishing Your Knit
When you’ve finished knitting your project, there are things you can do to it, to make it look as beautiful as it can be.
The first step is to weave in all the ends. Using a blunt tipped tapestry needle, weave the ends in on the wrong side of the work, or the side that isn’t visible when the item is being worn. For example, in hats with a folded brim, the end on the edge should be woven in on the right side of the brim, so you don’t see them when you’re wearing the hat.
After weaving in the ends, nearly all knits benefit from blocking. Blocking evens out the fabric, makes the yarn bloom and beautifully opens up the stitch patterns, especially lace. When knitting with non-superwash wool, it also makes the items more comfortable to wear as it softens the fibres. Blocking also ensures that your piece reaches the desired size as unblocked pieces are usually smaller than blocked ones.
Wet-blocking is a common blocking method that works for most knits. Begin by soaking your knitted item in lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes, so that all the fibres become wet. If you are using non-superwash wool yarn, you can also soak your knit in warm water.
Then carefully remove the knit from the water and squeeze excess water out. Take care not to stretch or twist the knit. Lay your piece flat on a clean towel, roll it up and squeeze even more water out. Next, lay your knit on a flat surface to dry. Use a surface that you can push pins into, such as blocking boards or a firm mattress.
Use a tape measurer to check that your blocked piece matches the dimensions given in the pattern. This is especially important with garments to ensure a desired fit. Attach the knit to the surface using a lot of sewing pins. Blocking wires and T-pins or blocking combs are great tools to have and use instead of the pins, especially when blocking shawls, as they will help you to achieve neat edges.
There are other helpful tools available, too. For blocking socks, you can use sock blockers, and there are ones for mittens as well. Hats are a bit tricky to block as blocking them on a flat surface may leave fold lines on the sides. Usually these do go away with use, but if you want to avoid them, try blocking your hat over a balloon. For tams, you can use a plate or another disk that has the right circumference.
If you’re in a hurry, or have knitted colourwork and are unsure of the colourfastness of one or more of your yarns, you can also steam block your knit. You can steam block with a steamer or by placing a wet cloth over your knit and gently pressing with an iron. Be careful not to burn your fingers with these methods!
Text: Pauliina Kuunsola