Happy Autumn! This is my absolute favorite time of year. I simply can’t get enough of it! I am thrilled by simple things like hay mazes, big orange pumpkins in a field, chilly mornings, and candy corn. It’s a season that is full of reasons to celebrate…of course it makes it all the better that my birthday is also in October, lol. ;)
In this monthly column we’re going to be working on some exciting new stitch patterns, as well as a few new techniques thrown in for good measure. My intension for our yarn play is to provide all the know-how for you to be able to work the new stitch; any charts, photos, or videos you may need; as well as a pattern to create an 8” x 8” square. As we go along in our looming journey, we should be able to create lovely pieced afghans with our squares, as I like to know that we’re going somewhere while swatching, don’t you? You can think of it as our Stitch Sample Afghan—a stitch dictionary right at your fingertips, keeping your legs warm, lol. ;)
This month we’re going to celebrate the Fall Season by introducing the Puff Stitch, which greatly resembles pumpkins in a field, all connected by trailing vines. Of course, this stitch will be terrific during all other times of the year, as well. It employs a really marvelous way to create elongated knit stitches on our looms, which result in all those lovely little puffs.
Puff Stitch Square
Loom: Authentic Knitting Board Adjustable Hat Loom: 2 rounded pieces + 3 peg connectors, with pegs in all holes for a 3/8” gauge. The Sock Loom 2 or the All-n-One Loom could also be used.
Yarn: approx. 75 yards Worsted Weight (Sample uses Lion Wool in Pumpkin)
Notions: Loom tool, yarn needle, scissors. (Also helpful: peg markers, row counter)
This stitch pattern would apply itself very nicely to a cozy hat, or a baby blanket. To work this pattern in the round for a hat, use the Repeating Pattern Rows chart, and make sure to read it from right to left for each row, rather than alternating sides each time. Also, cast onto your loom in a clockwise direction, using a number of pegs that is divisible by 10—the number of stitches required for each pattern repeat.
For flat pieces of a greater size, begin with the Set Up Rows, then simply increase the number of Repeating Pattern Rows for the length and width required, then complete with the Finishing Rows.
When the pattern uses the term “knit” or “k”, please use the true knit stitch or the u-stitch, not the e-wrap.
The elongated knit stitch, notated in the pattern as k², is created using the following method (the row numbers are as you would find the steps in the Puff Stitch Square pattern further below):
*to see a photo enlarged, just click to open, then click to open again.
Here is the entire pattern chart for the 8” x 8” square:
Everything you need to know about knitting your square is included in the above chart. Believe it or not, you can actually create your square without looking at another thing! For help with reading charts, please see the Stitchology I post for a detailed explanation, and you’ll be ready to go!
But, don’t worry…I am also providing you with the step by step instructions below. ;)
Repeating Pattern Rows
Row 1: p6, k²3, p1
Rows 2: k²5, p5
Row 3: p5, k²5
Row 4: k²5, p5
Rows 5: p5, k²5
Row 6: k²5, p5
Rows 7 & 8: p6, k²3, p1
Row 9: k²5, p5
Row 10: p5, k²5
Row 11: k²5, p5
Row 12: p5, k²5
Row 13: k²5, p5
Row 14: p6, k²3, p1
Step by Step Instructions:
Cast onto your loom from left to right, using a total of 32 pegs. (Sample uses Chain Cast On)
Set Up Rows
Repeat the following 2 row pattern 3 times, for a total of 6 rows:
Row a: k32
Row b: p32
Main Pattern Rows
Repeat the following 14 row pattern 3 times, for a total of 42 rows:
Row 2: p1, work Row 2 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 3: p1, work Row 3 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 4: p1, work Row 4 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 5: p1, work Row 5 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 6: p1, work Row 6 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Rows 7 & 8: p1, work Row 7 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 9: p1, work Row 9 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 10: p1, work Row 10 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 11: p1, work Row 11 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 12: p1, work Row 12 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 13: p1, work Row 13 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Row 14: p1, work Row 14 of repeating pattern to last stitch, p1.
Repeat the following 2 row pattern 3 times, for a total of 6 rows:
Row a: p32
Row b: k32
Block to an 8” x 8” measurement. If you’d like to give your puffs more of a 3D affect, you can carefully place small balls of plastic wrap under each little puff during the pinning process of the blocking. I found that Glad Cling Wrap worked really well for this as it has a bit of stick to it, which helped the balls stay in place.
If you are intending this square to be part of an afghan, you may wish to make up to 3 or 4 additional squares. We will be sharing at least 12 of these patterns for you to use in your blanket. Use the following general measurements to decide how many of each of the 8″ x 8″ squares you will need, rounding up as necessary:
- Baby Blanket: 30″ x 36″
- Children: 42″ x 48″
- Lapghan: 36″ x 48″
- Twin Bed Afghan: 60″ x 85″
- Queen Bed Afghan: 90″ x 95″
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As soon as we saw this cute design, we knew that many loom knitters would be interested in trying it out. Carrie Johnson has been kind enough to allow us to share her pattern in blog. We hope you enjoy it. A little bit about Carrie: Carrie is a single mom of four children, ranging in ages of 5-20 yrs old! She lives on a small goat farm out in California. She has been loom knitting for about 3 years and just began to learn to read patterns. She recently started writing down all of her designs, and she has four published patterns so far and more to come! Contact Carrie.
Knitting loom: KB adjustable hat loom
Yarn: approx 30-40 yds of worsted weight yarn.
Notions: knitting tool, tapestry needle, stitch markers,
Other: Stick on jewels to decorate or other decor of choice.
K: Knit (e-wrap)
Pattern note: I used two strands of yarn, since the yarn I used was thin. If using a #3 weight yarn, you might want
to double your strands. A #4 yarn you might use one strand, two strands can be use for a thicker crown. One
strand of #5 can be used as well, even though I haven’t made the crown in bulky yet, it should still work!
Set up: Set your loom in the extra small configuration- using 2 connectors and 2 round parts. Place pegs in every
Using your stitch markers divide pegs into 8 sections with 7 pegs in each section.
Ex: pegs 1-7 is one section, pegs 8-14 is another section and so on…
Cast on 56 stitches, join to work in the round.
Rnds 1, 3, 5, 7: k to the end.
Rnds: 2, 4, 6, 8: p to the end.
Points for the Crown
~Each section is worked separately, in rows.
Starting with the first section pegs 1-7:
*Row 1: k to end of section
Row 2: p to end of section*
Decrease as follows: Move loop from peg 1 to peg 2 and loop from peg 7 to peg 6.
Repeat from * to *. (Pegs that have two loops on them, treat both loops as one loop.)
Next: Decrease as follows: move loop from peg 2 to peg 3 and loop from peg 6 to peg 5.
Repeat from * to *. (Pegs that have two loops on them, treat both loops as one loop.)
Next: Decrease as follows: move loop from peg 3 to peg 4 and loop from peg 5 to peg 4.
Next: Knit peg 4. Purl peg 4.
Cut yarn leaving a 6 inch tail: knit peg and pull yarn tail through.
One point done.
To start next point, make a slip knot and add yarn to peg 8 (you’ll now be working on pegs 8-14) and repeat
Points for the Crown section. Repeat with each section. 8 points completed at the end of project.
Weave in yarn ends.
(c)2014, Carrie Johnson. All rights reserved. Published on www.knittingboardchat.com/blog with permission.
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We close the month of Shawl-September with Ameline, a simple lace pattern that spreads throughout the shawl to resemble cascading drops. We hope you have enjoyed the shawls during our first Shawl-September.
Knitting loom: All-n-One Knitting Loom
Yarn: 620-900 yards of light worsted weight merino wool. Malabrigo Rastita in Dewberry was used in sample.
Notions: knitting tool, row counter (optional), tapestry needle, eight stitch/peg markers.
Gauge: 16 sts x 18 rows= 2 inches in stitch pattern, blocked.
Size: 16 inches x 36 inches
K: knit stitch
P: purl stitch
Sl1: slip 1-skip one peg with yarn behind the peg.
K2tog: knit two stitches together. Over two pegs, working on the knitting loom from a right to left direction—peg 1 is on the right, peg 2 is on the left. Move stitch from peg 1 to peg 2. Leave peg 1 empty. Treat both loops on peg 2 as one loop.
YO: yarn over (ewrap peg)—special note: on the following row after creating the YO, undo the ewrap on the peg and simply lay the yarn in front of the peg.
Sl1-k1-psso: slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over. Over two pegs, working on the knitting loom from a right to left direction—peg 1 is on the right, peg 2 is on the left. Skip peg 1 with yarn behind the peg, knit peg 2. Move loop from peg 2 over to peg 1, lift bottommost loop off peg 1.
Zig Zag Stitch Pattern
Multiple of 6+1
Row 1, 3, 5 (from right to left direction): *sl1-k1-psso, k2, yo, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 2, 4, 6: k to the end of row.
Row 7, 9, 11: k3, *YO, k2, k2tog, k2; rep from * to last 4 sts, YO, k2, k2tog.
Row 8, 10, 12: k to the end of row.
Pattern note: the shawl pictured is 40 inches in length and used 600 yards of yarn, if you desire a longer shawl, you will need approximately 800 yards of yarn. A special note about yarn—we recommend using a wool base yarn to allow the lace to be blocked..
Cast on 93 sts, prepare to work a flat panel.
Row 1: k to the end of row.
Row 2: p to the end of row.
Rep last two rows four more times.
End of border rows, continue to body rows below
Tip: Place a stitch marker on pegs 1-4 and on peg 90-93. Maintain the garter stitch border on the first 4 pegs and last 4 pegs, the pegs with the stitch/peg markers on them.
Row 1: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 1, k4.
Row 2: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 2, p4.
Row 3: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 3, k4.
Row 4: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 4, p4.
Row 5: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 5, k4.
Row 6: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 6, p4.
Row 7: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 7, k4.
Row 8: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 8, p4.
Row 9: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 9, k4.
Row 10: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 10, p4.
Row 11: k4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 11, k4.
Row 12: p4, on next 85 sts follow the Zig Zag Stitch pattern Row 12, p4.
Rep last 12 rows until item measures approx 34 inches from cast on edge (or desired length of shawl).
Next 10 rows: repeat the 10 border rows.
Bind off with basic bind off method. Weave ends in. Steam block or wet block to desired measurements—blocking the item will allow the eyelets formed by the yarn overs to open up more. Tip: When blocking, use blocking wires to have straight edges.
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When I was asked to do a yarn review column I was excited! After all I have loved yarn since even before I was a knitter! When I was little I love to get my hands on the stuff and just play. I made little yarn dolls, sewed with it, glued it on stuff and just about anything I could imagine up! So now here is my chance to play with some yarn again, and tell you all about it.
I thought I would start out with a few of my favorite ‘go to’ yarns. These are the ones I love to use and I know will work well on looms and needles.
Plymouth Encore is one of my first choices when I do a project. Encore comes in a variety of yarn weights from DK up to super bulky and since it is a 75% acrylic, and wool blend it is machine washable and dryable while still being able to be blocked nicely to define your stitch patterns.
The worsted weights come in 128 solid colors and 64 ‘colorspun’ options which is a color changing yarn that coordinates very well with the solids. Plymouth Encore also comes in a center pull ball so there is not winding necessary!
The only downside to this yarn is that it is only available through local yarn shops or online, not at larger stores like Joann Fabrics or Michaels.
My other go to worsted weight yarn is Patons Classic wool. This is an 100% wool yarn which means you will need to hand wash it, but also means it will block beautifully! Being a wool yarn, it will also have some more give to it, so it is really ideal for stitch patterns that require you to manipulate the yarn a bit like lace and cables, the more stretch a yarn has, the less likely you are to break, or pull out a peg when you are looming. It is not the softest yarn, but it is soft enough for next to the skin wear, and will keep you cozy and warm.
For socks I have two favorites! The first is Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn. I have to admit, that I have a bit of a loyalty to Lorna’s Laces due to the yarn’s namesake being the one who launched me on my book writing career. That said the yarn is wonderful! It is soft, 100% super-wash merino; which means it’s machine washable and durable. This yarn comes in a variety of solids and multi-colors that are all beautiful. I have gotten more complements on the colors of my knits when using this yarn, than any other. There are two downsides to this yarn first it is available through local yarn shops and online. Second, it comes in skeins, so you will need to wind it up into a ball or yarn cake before you start knitting!
My second choice for go to sock yarn is Patons Kroy Sock yarn. This yarn is a 75% woo 25% acrylic blend. I have found it to be very durable, and the colors are lovely too! I have made socks for my little boys with this yarn, and they grew out of them before the socks wore out!
Kroy Sock is available at Joann fabrics, and comes in a center pull ball, so not winding here! It is machine washable and dryable as well, so all in all there are no downsides to it!
For lace hands down the race goes to team Uruguay! (These yarns make me want to visit my brother who lives there all the more!) Manos Del Uruguay and Malabrigo are my picks!
Manos del Uruguay lace is a 70% Baby Alpaca, 25% Silk, 5% Cashmere blend, giving it softness, warmth and strength that has no match!
Malabrigo lace is 100% Baby Merino wool, which is soft and strong and makes the hand dyed colors pop out in bold vibrant shades.
Both of these yarns come in skeins, so you will need to wind them up. They are a bit pricey, but worth EVERY penny! They also only usually can be found in local yarn shops and online.
Both have a range of beautiful hand dyed colors. They are both companies that help local artisans, look for ways to be ecologically responsible in their manufacturing processes, and love independent designers. All pluses in my book!
Well, those are some of my top pick go to yarns, I hope you get to play with some of them yourself. Leave me a comment, and let me know what your go to yarns are, I would love to know!
I also look forward to playing with some more yarns and letting you know all about them! Until next time, keep knitting, and remember.. if you mess up, it’s only yarn, you can unravel it and try again!
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By Denise Layman
When my mother gave me this yarn from Carodan Farms a few years ago I had no idea what to do with it. That was until I found a 123 year old knitting loom on E-bay! It was an awesome find. Then I found the book that goes with it: Stewart’s Manual of Crochet Point Loopation. The stitch used for this wrap is from this 123 year old loom knitting manual, and is a perfect match for the yarn! Loom knitting has a bit of a lost history, so I am trying to bring back some stitches loom knitters used in the past. With this versatile pattern give this old stitch new life in a modern style garment or you can wear it like the loom knitters of the 1880’s might have. So enjoy working this up and wearing a little bit of loom knitting history!
Knitting Loom: Adjustable Hat Loom in Large gauge setting, 16 pegs.
Yarn: approx. 400 yards of worsted weight wool yarn. (It is especially important to use a wool or other yarn that has some ‘grab’ to it. This pattern is perfect for hand spun wool, it will not work well with acrylic or other yarns unless they have a brushed finish to them) Two skeins of Carodan Farm worsted weight yarn in the color Bracken were used in the sample.
Notions: Tapestry Needle, Knitting tool.
Gauge: Gauge is not so important in this pattern.
This pattern is written so that you are working in a clockwise direction around the loom. So the beginning of your row will be on the right, and you will work your way left as you wrap.
The spread stitch is worked using two pegs, each stitch is worked one at a time over the two pegs as explained in the pattern below.
The ‘wrong side’ of your piece while working it on the loom will end up being the ‘right side’ of your finished wrap.
The spread stitch can be used in other applications, but it is definitely a large gauge stitch, it does not work well with anything but a large gauge loom.
Cast on/set up:
To set up for this stitch:
- Make a slip knot and place it on the 1st peg. [The peg to the left of your holding peg. (If working with a straight rake the sixth peg from the left side of your rake) (you will need the pegs on the right to increase))].
- Wrap working yarn around the 1st peg, 10 times. Peg 1 should have 11 loops.
- Take working yarn to 2nd peg and wrap it 11 times.
- Go to 3rd peg and wrap it 11 times.
- Go to 4th peg and wrap it 11 times.
- Go to 5th peg and wrap it 11 times.
- The 6th peg will be wrapped only once. (This will be peg A as seen below):
The stitch is worked over two pegs. We will call them A and B.
Peg A is the peg on the left and peg B is the peg on the right.
Peg B will have an odd amount of loops, in this case 11.
Peg A will have one loop, with the working yarn coming from the front between pegs A and B, towards the back of peg B.
- Bring the working yarn around and in back of peg B in the opposite direction (clockwise around the peg) and wrap around it once.
- Lift the top 3 stitches up and over that wrap.(They can be lifted all at once or one at a time, it makes no difference)
- Take the working yarn and e-wrap around peg A and knit the bottom loop over. (You will see that you are essentially making repeated figure 8’s around these two pegs.)
Repeat these three steps until there is only one loop left on peg B.
Then shift to the right. Peg B will now be peg A, and the next peg to the right will be peg B.
Work these two pegs as above, and continue until you have worked all the way back to the beginning of your row.
There will then be 1 loop on every peg, so wrap 10 times around each peg for a total of 11 wraps, an again once around the last peg on the left and repeat.
NOTE: after the first row you will have 2 wraps on the end peg on the left when you set up the row. Before starting the spread stitch knit over that stitch so that only one loop remains.
To increase you will simply ‘cast on’ and extra stitch by making 11 wraps on the empty peg just to the right of the beginning of your row before wrapping the others. The working yarn will be wrapped around this peg in a clockwise manner, once you have all 11 wraps bring the working yarn between the first two pegs toward the inside of the loom and wrap the remaining stitches in the row as normal.
Increase the piece by one ‘stitch’ every other row until you have a total of 15 stitches + the peg that has a single wrap on the left end of the row for a total of 16 pegs in use.
Work even until your wrap is half the desired total length, then begin to decrease as described below.
Decreases are made on the right end of the piece where the increases were made. A decrease, like the increases, is made after the entire row has been worked and there is one loop left on each peg.
To decrease: simply lift the loop on the right most peg, and move it over to the left. This loop will be considered wrap #2 on this peg so you will wrap 9 more times around the peg to make a total of 11.
Wrap and knit with the spread stitch as above, decreasing in this manner every other row until you are back down to 6 pegs.
At that point decrease by one stitch every row until there are only two pegs left.
Work that last row and when there is only one loop on each peg lift the loop from the left peg over and place it on the peg on the right.
Lift the bottom loop over the top one and knit off.
If making a Fichu, or open shoulder wrap, cut your working yarn leaving a 6 inch tail and pull the tail through the last loop remaining and remove it from the loom.
If you are finishing this as a poncho, or ‘bow tie’ style wrap then leave a tail about 3-4 yards long for seaming, and pull it through the loop to secure, and remove it from the loom.
Note: Remember as you finish this piece what was the ‘wrong side’ or back when you were knitting, is going to be the ‘right side’ or front when you are finished with the garment.
For shawl/simple wrap or fichu wrap.
(This is most likely how loom knitters in the 1880’s may have used this stitch pattern in a garment.)
Simply weave in the ends and block as desired.
For re-enactors you may wish to knit a ‘slide’ (directions below) to hold the wrap together in the center front at the neckline.
To make a cross over style fichu, simply add a hook and eye or other closure on the ends of the wrap, place the widest part of the wrap across your shoulders, cross it in the front and secure the ends at the center lower back with the closure.
Poncho/bow tie style wrap:
To make a poncho or bow tie style wrap you will need to seam the piece in a spiral. Lay the piece out on a table and basically roll it up starting with one end matching up the edges as you go work with the piece until you have a ‘roll’ that will be wide enough to go around your shoulders. You will want to make this a little looser for the poncho, and a little on the snug side for the bow tie style wrap.
To seam, use the yarn tail you left at cast off and run the working yarn through the spread stitches at the edge of the garment alternating back and forth between the two edges being joined.
Once you have the piece joined try it on and adjust the seam for flexibility as needed. Then trim and weave in the ends.
Slide piece for Fichu, or Bow Tie style wrap:
To make a ‘slide’ to gather the center of your bow tie wrap, simply take some of the yarn (or a contrasting yarn if desired) and make a strip about 2 inches wide on your loom in stockinet stitch. Make this piece as long as you desire, or need to wrap around and gather wrap, or secure the wrap in the center and cast off.
For a Fichu slide, simply seam the cast on and cast off end of this piece to create a loop.
For the Bow Tie style wrap, wrap the ‘slide around the part of the wrap that you wish to gather and seam the ends.
You may wish to run a few stitches through the wrap itself to secure the ‘slide’ in place. Weave in the ends and enjoy!
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Hello! I am Renita Harvey, and I am so excited to be part of the wonderful KB team. I have been loom knitting since I was a child. My first looms were a spool loom and a small 12 peg round loom. About the age of 12, my parents gave me a Spin Knit loom. This was my first large loom that I made hats and scarves on. This was quite a few years before Knifty Knitter looms came along. Only thing I had to teach myself was the booklet that came with the loom. It only contained very basic information. E-wrap knit only. Not even a purl stitch! Now we have wonderful loom knit books written by very talented people and have a wealth of information at our fingertips on the internet. But almost every day, I see questions about “how do I do this or that” in loom knitting. Well, I would like to answer some of those Frequently Asked Questions or Loom FAQs in this column. Look for my column on the third Monday of every month.
Today I would like to address a very common question.
What is blocking?
Blocking is a finishing technique used in knitting and crochet. It is a way to flatten a piece, helps with straightening and sizing pieces that are to be seamed together, helps set the stitches, and opens up lace stitches.
But after that is said, there are always even more questions to be answered.
When and why do you block something?
If you are making a sweater or another project that will be pieced or seamed together, you will need to block each piece to size and shape before assembly. Please note that while you will be able to make some smaller pieces a little larger and make pieces match in size, if your gauge or tension is not correct, you will not be able to completely resize it with blocking.
If you are knitting a lace pattern, you will want to block the project to open up those beautiful lace stitches. It does make a world of difference with lace.
What fibers can you block?
You can block every kind of fiber. The type of fiber depends on the type of blocking.
What items do I need to block?
- A place to block the items
- Rust-proof pins
- Blocking wires (optional)
- Steam machine or steam iron for steam blocking
- Spray bottle for spray blocking
- Water – MOST IMPORTANT!
Do I need a blocking board? Are they important?
First you will need an area large enough for your item. One such item is a blocking board. Blocking boards are large boards covered in a tightly woven thick fabric printed with a grid over a piece of foam, cork, or acoustic board for the pins to stick in. While I personally do have one, they are not necessary to block an item. Sometimes they are just not large enough for the project. Some people may not have the space to store one. Kits may be bought to build your blocking board. But again it’s not as essential as having a space to do it.
You can use a bed, the floor, or even interconnecting foam blocks like floor mats or preschool letter blocks. Any of these surfaces can be covered with a waterproof liner like a trash bag and then covered with towels or blankets so you can pin the item into place.
Why do I need rust-proof pins?
Which leads me to a very important tool for blocking. Rust-proof pins. Make sure they are rust-proof since all types of blocking involve water. Unless they are rust-proof, the pins will rust. And rust stains cannot be removed from the yarn. Let me say “rust-proof” one more time for good measure…
Other questions I have seen involve tools that can be used for blocking.
What are blocking wires and why would I use blocking wires?
Blocking wires are wires that are woven into the edges of the work to help keep the shape of the edge. If you do not use wires, you sometimes get a scalloped edge when the work dries and draws up in between the pins if they are not close enough together. There are 2 kinds of blocking wires. Rigid wires for the straight edges, and flexible wires for the curved edges. You do not need to use as many pins when using wires, but blocking wire are not required to block an item.
Do I need a steam machine or can I just use an iron?
While steam machines are nice to have and make it easier to steam block items, they are not necessary. A steam iron will work. You just need to remember not to get too close to the work since you have a large heat source on the iron while you do not have that with a steamer. But you can not just iron an item in order to block it. You can cause a lot of damage to the work if the iron is placed directly on it.
How do you block something?
This just happens to be the most important question of all. How? Well there are 3 ways to block a project.
- Wet blocking
- Spray blocking
- Steam blocking
Let take each one separately.
You can wet block any natural fibers. You cannot wet block acrylics. Acrylics need to be steam blocked. We will discuss why in Steam Blocking.
First you need to soak the item for at least 15 minutes so that all the fibers are fully saturated. You then will squeeze out the excess water. Do not wring or twist! This will stretch the stitches out of shape completely. After squeezing out as much water as I can, I like to put a couple of towels on the floor, lay the item on top, then add another towel on top to cover the item. Then I simply stand on it in my bare feet. Sounds crazy, I know. But standing on all parts of the item will finish squeezing out the excess water without twisting and cause it to dry faster.
Then you pin your item on the prepared blocking area to the shape and size needed. You will place your pins about 2″ or less apart if you are not using blocking wires. You can use a lot less pins with the wires. Allow the item to completely dry before removing it.
You can spray block all natural fibers, but not acrylics. Spray blocking is like wet blocking except you do not soak the item first. You first pin your item to the prepared blocking area in the same manner as wet blocking. Then you use a spray bottle of water and spray the item until it is completely wet. Allow the item to dry before removing it.
All types of fiber can be steam blocked. Why can acrylics only be steam blocked? Acrylic yarn is basically plastic and only heat from steam can set the stitches. Water alone cannot do this with acrylic while it will work with natural fibers. But you cannot iron it either. Direct heat from an iron will either completely melt the yarn or “kill” the fabric. “Killing” acrylic is not quite as violent as it sounds. It just means that the acrylic has melted to the point that it has lost its stretch and body but has not been completely ruined. There are times killing acrylic is useful, but not when you are wanting to block the item.
First you will pin the item to the prepared blocking area in the same manner as wet or spray blocking. Then you will steam the item in small areas at a time until the entire piece is steamed and damp. If using an iron, remember to not get the iron surface too close to the item. And also be careful not to touch the pins or wires, if using wires, as the steam will cause them to get hot as well and will burn you.
Allow the item to dry completely before unpinning it.
Sounds like a lot of work. And most times, it is. But the finished result is always amazing!
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