My sweater is complete, and the ends are woven in. It is time to give this Teddy Bear Sweater a bath.
I believe that blocking is the magic fairy dust of knitting. Last November, I wrote, “You have spent a lot of time working on a project, so why would you skip the last important step? So many good things happen: your stitches relax, some tension issues can be eased, and the yarn blooms and softens. It can also open any lacework, helps cables pop and can flatten the edges of your project. As an added bonus, blocking washes your project after completion.”
First off, I fill my little binnie with lukewarm water and a cap-full of wool wash. I always use a basin or bucket for blocking. I do not like putting my knitwear directly in a sink basin as I am always worried that there could be cleaning products left behind. If you use a sink, please rinse it well with clean water.
I pop the sweater in the water and give it a few gentle swishes to ensure it is completely saturated. I usually leave it to soak for about 20-30 minutes.
When the soaking time has lapsed, I squeeze the water out of the project, being very careful with the fragile fibers. I try not to lift the project out of the basin as I do not want to distort or stretch my stitches. Lately, I have put my knits into my washing machine for the drain/spin master care cycle. If doing so, I slide my project from the basin into the washer tub. I select slow spin and let the machine do its work.
Once the very short cycle is complete, I carefully lift the project out of the machine and place it on my Cocoknits Knitters Blocks. Next I pat the project into the desired measurements. If the gauge is correct, it should not take to terribly long, but I must admit, I do fuss a bit to ensure everything is laying straight, neat and tidy. Unless I am working with a shawl that might need a more aggressive block, I am careful with the piece. I only use pins on a sweater when I have a little edge rolling up, perhaps on a button band or collar.
Leave the project on the board to dry completely. If the weather is particularly damp, like many days here on the coast, I will carefully flip the project over if it is not dry within 24 hours.
The last step in knitting a sweater is now complete...Oh, wait! The very last thing is to enjoy your newly finished make, whether you're gifting this little sweater to a loved or perhaps saving it as an heirloom, either way I hope you've enjoyed this Spotlight On: Sweaters 101 series.