Unraveling the Mystery: What Is Blocking Knitting and Why It Matters

Knitting is an age-old craft that has provided endless hours of relaxation and creativity for many individuals. From cozy blankets to stylish sweaters, the possibilities are endless when it comes to this beloved hobby. However, for both novice and experienced knitters, there is one term that can cause frustration and confusion – blocking. What exactly is blocking knitting? Is it necessary? Why do some swear by it while others completely ignore it? In this article, we will dive into the world of blocking knitting and uncover its purpose, techniques, and benefits. So whether you’re a seasoned knitter or just starting out, read on to discover everything you need to know about this crucial step in the knitting process.

Knitting is a popular craft that involves creating fabric by interlocking yarn or thread with a series of needles. While the basic technique of knitting is relatively simple, there are various elements and techniques that can take your knitting to the next level. One of these elements is blocking, which is an essential process in creating perfectly finished knitted pieces. In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of blocking knitting and explore what it is and why it is important.

What Is Blocking Knitting?

Blocking knitting is a technique used to shape and smooth out knitted fabric after it has been washed. It involves stretching and manipulating the knit piece into its desired shape and size, then allowing it to dry completely in that shape. This process helps to even out any uneven stitches and enhance the overall appearance of your knitted item.

There are two main types of blocking: wet blocking and steam blocking. Wet blocking involves completely submerging your knit piece in water, gently squeezing out the excess water, then laying it out on a flat surface to dry. Steam blocking, on the other hand, involves using an iron or steamer to apply heat and moisture directly onto the knit piece while shaping it.

Why Is Blocking Important?

Blocking might seem like an optional step in knitting, but it actually plays a crucial role in achieving a professional-looking finished product. There are several reasons why blocking is important:

1. Even Out Stitches:
While knitting creates an even tension through each stitch, some yarns can cause inconsistencies due to variations in thickness or irregularities within the strand. By stretching and shaping the knit piece during blocking, these inconsistencies can be corrected, resulting in a more uniform appearance.

2. Shape Your Knit Piece:
Many patterns require specific dimensions for their final product. Blocking allows you to shape your knitted piece according to those measurements by manipulating and stretching it into the desired shape. This is especially useful for lace and cable knit patterns that tend to curl or bunch up.

3. Soften Stiff Yarn:
Some yarns can feel quite stiff after being worked up, and blocking helps to soften them and give the fabric a more comfortable drape. This is particularly important for garments such as sweaters or scarves that will be worn against the skin.

4. Improve Stitch Definition:
Blocking can also help to enhance the stitch definition of your knitted piece, making your intricate stitch patterns stand out more prominently. This is especially beneficial for lace or colorwork patterns, where every stitch counts.

How Do You Block Knitting?

As mentioned earlier, there are two main methods of blocking knitting: wet blocking and steam blocking. While both methods have similar end results, they differ in their approach.

Wet Blocking

Step 1: Soak your knit piece in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Make sure that the water is not too hot as it can cause the wool fibers to shrink or felt together.

Step 2: Gently squeeze out excess water without wringing or twisting the knit piece.

Step 3: Lay out a clean towel on a flat surface and place your wet knit piece on top of it.

Step 4: Roll up the towel with your knit piece inside, pressing gently to remove any remaining water.

Step 5: Unroll the towel and reshape your knit piece into its desired dimensions by gently pulling and stretching it in all directions.

Step 6: Once you are satisfied with the shape, let it dry completely without disturbing it. Depending on the thickness of your yarn, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two.

Steam Blocking

Step 1: Fill a steam iron or steamer with water and heat it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: Lay your knit piece on a flat surface and hover the iron or steamer a few inches above the fabric, applying steam over it.

Step 3: Use your fingers to reshape and stretch the fabric as the steam is being applied. Be careful not to touch the hot iron or steamer directly onto your knit piece, as this can cause damage or discoloration.

Step 4: Once you are satisfied with the shape, let the fabric dry completely before removing it from the surface.


Blocking knitting is a crucial step in achieving a polished and professional-looking finished product. Whether you choose to wet block or steam block, this process helps to even out stitches, shape your knitted piece, soften stiff yarn, and improve stitch definition. By following these techniques and incorporating blocking into your knitting process, you can elevate your handmade garments and accessories to the next level. Happy blocking!

Definition of Blocking Knitting

In the world of knitting, blocking refers to the process of shaping and sizing knitted items to ensure they have the desired measurements and appearance. Blocking knitting is the specific method used to achieve this goal, typically applied to finished projects in order to enhance their overall look.

Blocking knitting involves stretching and drying a finished piece using various methods such as steam blocking, wet blocking, and spray misting. This process helps set the stitches evenly and shapes the garment in a way that allows it to maintain its shape and form over time.

How Does Blocking Work?

The purpose of blocking is to even out stitches, resize or reshape garments into their intended size or shape, and remove any tension or creases created during knitting. When knitted pieces are removed from their needles for the first time, they often appear wrinkled, uneven, or misshapen. This is where blocking comes in handy.

When blocked correctly, knitting fibers fully bloom giving the knitted item its final touch. This process minimizes unsightly variations between stitches caused by yarn weight variation or poor tension while creating an even fabric that’s beautifully shaped.

Blocking also prepares garments before sewing them together by setting pieces into correct shapes and sizes that are easy to sew without causing wrinkles on the final product’s front side.

Types of Blocking Techniques

As mentioned earlier, there are various ways of achieving successful blocking depending on personal preferences or garment materials used. These include steam blocking, wet blocking, spray misting, pinning techniques or air drying as follows:

  • Steam Blocking: Involves exposing a fabric item to steam which helps in shaping the garment through heat manipulation.
  • Wet Blocking: Requires soaking a knitted product in cool water then squeezing it gently before re-shaping it on a flat surface to dry.
  • Spray Misting: This technique involves lightly misting a garment surface using a fine sprayer sprayed with room temperature water before shaping and drying.
  • Pinning Techniques: Pins have different uses in either smoothing out pieces, aligning edges or holding stretched fabric, material, or garments in place during blocking.
  • Air Drying: Involves leaving knitted items to dry naturally after shaping them as desired; usually hanging or lying flat on specified surfaces.

When Should You Block Knitting?

Blocking knitting should be done once your item has been completely knitted, and all lose ends are woven in. This procedure is not limited to specific types of knitting projects; you can block various types of knitting such as hats, scarves, sweaters, shawls, gloves and so on.

The Benefits of Blocking Knitting

Aside from smoothing stitches and removing wrinkling marks formed during knitting, there are several other reasons why blocking is considered an important process for finished knitting items.

  • It adds Life to Garments: Blocking rejuvenates items by adding more shape and life to them. This procedure softens garments hence making them comfortable and pleasant to wear.
  • Hides Imperfections: No matter how professional your knitting skills are, some small irregularities may show up in knitted items. However, after blocking improves the looks of these small defects by spreading fibers evenly giving the garment its final touch.
  • Molds Stitches into Better Designs: As you crochet or knit along rows or columns back/forward it results in indentations which disappear after successfully completing blocking leaving straight ridges thereby reducing stitch distortion.
  • Helps Block Parts: Blocking helps set garment edges and connector before sewing them together by gentling setting pieces in required shapes and sizes for easier sewing without causing wrinkles on the final product’s front.

Mistakes to Avoid When Blocking Knitting

As with any task, it’s important to avoid common mistakes when blocking your knitting. These include:

  • Overstretching: Pulling knitted items too tightly or using too much weight during blocking can cause overstretching which may affect the final product’s measurements.
  • Not Protecting the Knitting Surface: Using age-worn boards or newspapers instead of blocking mats, rusted T-pins or other objects that could transfer rust marks on garments by being repeatedly in contact with wet items, a coloured towel without first testing bleeds into garment by dampening before be-heading gadgets if needed.
  • Air Drying – Checking Progress: Leaving your knitted item to air-dry and not checking its state regularly might cause it not to dry evenly. The process should be conducted in a well-prepared area and should not be left near direct sunlight

    Q: What is blocking knitting?
    A: Blocking knitting is the process of wetting and shaping a knitted project to achieve a desired size and appearance.

    Q: Why is blocking knitting important?
    A: Blocking knitting is important for several reasons. It helps to even out stitches, improves the drape and appearance of the project, and sets the final shape.

    Q: How do I know if I should block my knitting project?
    A: It is generally recommended to block all types of knitted projects, including garments, accessories, and even swatches. However, certain yarns may not require blocking, so it’s best to consult the yarn label or ask an experienced knitter for advice.

    Q: What materials do I need for blocking knitting?
    A: To block your knitting project, you will need a large enough surface to lay it flat (such as a blocking mat or towels), rust-resistant pins or T-pins, and either water or steam depending on the fiber content of your yarn.

    Q: Can I use an iron instead of wet blocking for my knitting project?
    A: While using an iron may seem like a quicker alternative to wet blocking, it can damage delicate fibers such as wool. Wet blocking is always recommended for best results.

    Q: How long does it take for blocked knitting projects to dry?
    A: The drying time for blocked knitting projects can vary depending on humidity levels and type of yarn used. As a general rule, allow at least 24 hours for your project to fully dry before unpinning it.

    In conclusion, blocking knitting is a crucial step in the knitting process that can greatly enhance the final outcome of a project. By carefully shaping and stretching the knit garment or item while it is damp, blocking can help achieve a more polished and professional look by ensuring even stitches, smooth edges, and proper dimensions.

    Additionally, blocking helps to set the shape of the fabric and can correct any imperfections or uneven tension in the knitting. It also helps in shaping lace, as well as showcasing intricate stitch patterns.

    Furthermore, there are various methods and techniques for blocking knitting, such as wet blocking, steam blocking, and spray blocking. Each method has its own unique benefits and may be more suitable for certain types of yarn or projects.

    Moreover, it is important to note that not all types of yarn require blocking. Some wool fibers have natural elasticity that allows them to bounce back into shape after washing. Additionally, acrylic fibers will not change shape significantly after being blocked.

    Overall, while some knitters may view blocking as an optional step in their process, it is clear that taking the time to block a project can greatly improve its overall appearance and make it truly stand out. So next time you finish your knitting project, don’t skip out on this final finishing touch – give it a good blocking

    Author Profile

    Jill Nammar
    My name is Jill but everyone calls me Jilly. I design original cross stitch patterns inspired by vintage French and flowers. Roses are my muse.
    I hope you have a cozy time stitching my patterns. Put the kettle on, relax and create a heartwarming piece of hand-embroidered art. Personalize your home and turn up the soulful charm with soulful stitchery.

    My goal is to provide you with pretty patterns that promote peaceful stitching. My wish is for you to discover the gentle beauty of hand-embroidery.My patterns have been featured around the web and in Homespun Magazine and Boston Magazine. I find my bliss in cross stitch.

    From 2024, I have embarked on a new venture—writing an informative blog on the “Embroidery and Cross-Stitch” niche. This blog is an extension of my passion, where I share detailed posts and respond to queries related to embroidery and cross-stitching.

    The blog covers a wide range of topics from beginner tips, pattern creation, historical insights, and the therapeutic benefits of stitching. My goal is to build a community where enthusiasts can learn, share, and grow in their embroidery skills, ensuring everyone can find their own bliss in cross-stitch just as I did.

    Thank you to all my customers and readers who have supported Sew French. Your kind emails, photos of completed patterns, and continual encouragement fuel my dedication to this beautiful craft. Join me in stitching a world of beauty and peace, one pattern at a time.