Monday, December 2, 2013
how to block a hat
When I was fairly new to knitting, someone asked me if I blocked my work. I felt sheepish, but had to admit I had no idea what they were talking about. Blocking is basically a technique to shape your work, even out your stitches and achieve the proper finished size you're after. It also improves the overall look of your piece, giving it a nice smooth finish. Having tried it and seen the results, I now block all my hand-knit pieces. You can block your knitting by either spraying or soaking it in water, my instructions are for the soaking method.
First, fill a clean sink or basin with tepid (not hot) water and if you like, a drop of essential oil. I generally use lavender as it has a fresh clean scent that isn't overpowering. (Floracopeia has lovely organic oils.) Submerge your hat and gently squeeze it so that it fully absorbs the water. Let it soak for 15 minutes.
After soaking, gently, gently squeeze as much water as you can from the hat. Do not wring! Fold a bath towel in half lengthwise and lay the hat flat at one end. Roll the hat up inside the towel, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go so that it lays flat. Keep rolling the towel to the end and then press down on it with your knees.
Remove your hat from the towel and lay it flat on a surface that is clean and can be poked full of pins - I simply use a flattened cardboard box - not so glamorous, but it works. If you like you can purchase a special mat for blocking, or some use an ironing board. Gently stretch your hat to the finished dimensions you desire or as indicated in your pattern. I start with the bottom width, and pin that first.
Next, measure for the correct height and put a few pins at the top. Continue pressing the work flat, stretching and pinning to your desired shape and size. Remember to be gentle as natural fibers are weaker when wet.
Once you are done it will look a bit like this. Now, simply let it air dry for about 2 to 4 hours. The last step is to remove all the pins and loosely stuff the hat with crumpled tissue or any other colorfast paper and let it sit to dry overnight. That's it!
This same technique can be used to wash or reshape any hat that has stretched out or become too loose. (Or to try and get a bit more room if a hat fits too snug.)
Oh, and this cozy hat shown here? Visit the handmade section of the shop to see if it's still available!