Friday, April 1, 2011
(Which, for reasons I cannot fathom, reminds me that my stepdaughter-in-law's shelter rescue mongrel likes to suck on a ball of alpaca.)
A good steam blocking will change the texture of some knitted pieces. Bamboo yarn can be somewhat...hmm...crunchy to the touch. My handspun is. But hit a blocked piece of knitted bamboo with the steam iron, and it goes nicely limp and drapey, a desirable quality that only appears when it's finally blocked. (In the photo, notice the difference between the blocked center and the unblocked outer edges of this knitted piece.)
A good knitting book will tell you which patterns need to be lightly blocked [stretched], which ones need a more strenuous blocking, and which should not be blocked at all. A second-tier book will leave you to figure it out for yourself.
As a matter of course I don't block garter stitch or ribbing where I'm using them for their elasticity. I want them to keep all the spring I can get. I do block some cables, though, despite its flattening them a bit.
If you're concerned about subjecting your knitted work to the direct heat or weight of a steam iron, you can always wet a tea towel, wring it out thoroughly, lay it over the pinned piece, and then apply the iron. Your woolen (or silk) work will thus receive a cooler moisture without pressure.
But whichever method you use, remember this: it isn't over until the flat lady sings.
Posted by CastIronCook2 at 7:16 AM