Tuesday, July 31, 2007

How do you block a sweater knit in the round?

Gimme your best ideas.
Please.
My Google search was less than fulfilling and I don't own a Wooly board. (Yet.)

29 comments:

Mel said...

Wooly board. They were designed for that purpose. Halcyon Yarn has them for sale, and they're collapsible to take up less space.

Short of that, you'd probably have to stick with hand shaping, which is what I did with the BBF raglan toddler sweater I did for Dulaan last year. A faux seam, à la EZ, would probably be useful for getting things arranged just so in that case.

Regenia said...

I have some water-proof insulation that I cut to my body's dimensions. I carefully put the sweater on it and use a trouser hanger attached to the board at the neck hole to hang it. The shaped board keeps the sweater from sagging and hanging it allows both sides to dry quickly.

Tania said...

I hand shape on the top of my washer

Carol said...

Yes, I've found handshaping to be less than fulfilling. That's a great idea, Regenia, except I don't have insulation. The best I've come up with so far is steaming a section at a time on the ironing board, turning it as the section dries.

Franklin said...

I blocked mine by hand - but if I'd had a wooly board I'd have used one.

Wow, such useful advice, eh? You're welcome!

Ann said...

Blocking? Hmm, yes, let me think now, I did do that once ... I hand shaped. Get thee to a wooly board ...

Carol said...

How about using an open umbrella?

Carol said...

Oh, Franklin, it's worth it just to see your photo in the avatar.
Mwah.

nova said...

I don't have a wooly board either, I do have that foam puzzle mat that they make kids mat/flooring out of (purchased at a wholesale club-it's colorful and obnoxious), I used that and a bunch of towels to block my seamless hybrid a while back. I use the mat for everything now. My $ .02.

Liz K. said...

I steam block on the bed with my iron on heavy steam. I use a press cloth if I'm scared of too much contact.

Gauss said...

I squeeze the water using a towel, then use a different towel to hand block; sometimes I use pins if I'm feeling ambitious.

margaret said...

just break down and buy a woolly board! they're the best thing since sliced fair isle ...

Anonymous said...

I've got a piece that's going to need the same treatment. My plan is to wet-block it flat and pinned, front up, and then steam block the back bits if they need more evening out. I definitely do not have room in my bachelor apartment for a wooly board! Besides, while this sweater has no shaping, most of the sweaters that I knit do, so a wooly board wouldn't be very useful.

Sherry W said...

I blocked open a circular sleeve once by rolling up a thin towel and putting it inside the sleeve. Then I pinned it down at the shoulder and cuff. The towel kept the sleeve from creasing. It was not very rough block though.

Lorraine said...

I don't own a wooly board, and I knit everything in the round.
Place the garment in the washing machine, in a pillow case or one of those net bags.
Alternatively, in the sink with lukewarm water and Eucalan. Squeeze water out gently, and roll in a dry towel and stomp on it.
Lay flat on a dry towel, and flatten out by hand, use a measurng tape to get the dimensions you want.
Let dry, and you're good to go.

Lynne E. said...

You can pin it out and steam or wet block it, let it dry, then turn it over and repeat the process. Just make sure that the side underneath isn't bunched up or creased. I did this quite successfully before I had a woolly board.

Anonymous said...

I usually just lay it flat. Not a satisfactory method, it takes ages to dry and there's always a weird crease somewhere. However, all my sweaters have waist shaping, so a wooly board wouldn't work either. The best was when I put the sweater (a cardigan) on my duct tape dummy. I've lost weight, so the dummy is a little bigger than me, but with the same proportions and length. Perfect for a fitted sweater!
/Monika

Phoe said...

I've tried the puzzle board technique and it took forever to dry. I don't have a wooly board either. I use one of those double tiered sweater dryers (for when overall shape is what you're going for, I use the puzzle board for stuff like lace). The sweaters dry fast and are in the correct shape/sizing. Pieces get blocked on a board.

Miss Print said...

I block them exactly like I block sweaters that are knit in flat pieces. Either with steam on the ironing board if I'm pressed with time, or a wet block on the guest room futon if I'm not.

I'm having a sort of hard time figuring out how or why it would need to be done differently...

Sue said...

I made a drying rack from some leftover plastic coated wire shelving. I put this between the backs of two folding chairs when I need to dry sweaters. I dampen or steam the sweater and lay it carefully out on the rack to avoid creases. The sweater can be shaped.

I'd never heard of a wooly board before these comments but googled it and found instructions for making your own on the Knitting Beyond the Hebrides site:
http://tinyurl.com/kesnm or http://preview.tinyurl.com/kesnm
I'm going to make my own. Power tools and knitting needles; that's me!

Joe said...

I'm thinking the same thing as Miss Print...I block my sweaters after I've seamed them up anyway, which is the same for me as sweaters completed in the round.

Like most have mentioned, I hand block wet or with steam, and if more aggressive blocking is needed, I pin it down and pull and steam like crazy.

Nancy said...

I've done it two different ways.

Option 1: Go buy yourself some of the corrugated plastic posterboard that signmakers use; you can find it at a good art supply store. Cut to the size you want, tape the edges so it doesn't snag, put it inside the sweater.

Option 2: Blocking wires. Run them inside the sweater body and poke them through the shoulder carefully. Pin them as usual, steam/spray/wetblock/whathaveyou.

Miss Tonia said...

Thanks for asking that question. I have a couple sweaters that I'm knitting in the round, and was trying to figure out how to block them. Now, I have lots of great ideas.

Anonymous said...

I have a little sweater dryer thing that I got at the grocery store. It elevates the sweater so that air gets to both sides- it dries pretty quickly.

Anonymous said...

What's a wooly board?

Tabitha said...

Google is your friend. Whether you read sarcasm into that sentence says more about you that me, no?

Knitty Delicious said...

I have a wooly board!
Email me...and check my blog for BIG NEWS...KNITTY D

Marilyn said...

I own a woolly board. But I think that it's most useful for blocking Fair Isle or any kind of stranded work knit in the round. If the garment is not worked in a stitch pattern that needs heavy blocking, I generally hand-shape it and do a cold-mist blocking or, if necessary, a light steaming (that means holding the iron above the fabric, not on it). (I'm going on the presumption that we're talking natural fibers here.)

You would not want to block a cabled sweater heavily, nor a garter stitch or ribbed garment, done in the round or not. All you need for those is cold-mist blocking.

I've found that pinning garment pieces, be they knit flat or in the round, can cause distortion. Nor would I use wires on a garment knit in the round. Wires are fine for lace shawls and other flat items but for tubes, I don't think so. Poking wires through knitted fabric is not something I'd want to do.

The point of blocking is to finish the fabric. If you've knit to gauge, you shouldn't have to worry too much about the finished measurements--just take a ruler and shape it according to your schematic's specs. If you haven't knit to gauge, no amount of blocking will help.

aquabot said...

Place it on a flat surface to its exact finished size, then place a wet cloth over it (I usually use tea towels) and let it dry. It will take a couple of days to fully dry. When it is done, the blocked shape will stay. Make sure your piece is very even and flat underneath. The other way to do this (faster) is to put the piece upside down on an ironing board, and placed to the correct size, place a wet cloth on top of it, then, with your iron between warm and hot, hold the iron about two inches above the wet cloth. Hold until the cloth starts to dry, it will steam, and do the whole piece. Depending on the knitting stitches and the yarn, do not touch the cloth with the iron. I strongly recommend the first method for anything that has textured stitches or cables.