Knitters need to block their finished knits–I think everyone can agree on this.* I take a strong stand against steam or press blocking, I just don’t think it does a good enough job and hand knits often need a little cleaning up when their done. Wet blocking is the way to go. I don’t feel inclined to write out my steps on how to do this; there are a ba-zillion pages on the internet to tell you how.
You might want to read some of Mason-Dixon Knitting’s tips, I love these women: smart and sassy. I want to be them. And then there is Soak School (love that name) brought to you by the creators of Soak, a rinse-free laundry soap.
I do have one personal take on the subject: block with a towel and pins even if it’s not a shawl.
I’ve been avoiding purchasing a blocking board. We live in a smallish house already full to the brim with Stuff. Stuff everywhere. I take adding another piece of equipment very seriously. But I really need to pin this sweater. An alpaca version of Inhabit, those edges really want to curl. It will loosen up when hung, alpaca has been a favorite fiber for a long time, I have confidence that when dry, it will be fine. But this means that my usually method of patting and laying out to dry is not enough. I must pin. Enter a big fat stripey towel (a fabulous value found at Marshall’s).
Be sure your pins are stainless, I cannot stress this enough. Unless, of course, your knitted piece is rust-colored. Then you’ll be fine. (kidding!)
Lay out the wet sweater, measure at the critical point and smush or stretch to match your desired size and pin down those curls. Let the air do its job. If you like, put a fan over it to keep the furry beasties at bay and encourage quicker drying. There. You’ve blocked your sweater and it is now ready to show the world.
*Blocking, the final step of finishing your knits. In the simplest terms, hand washing your piece and laying it flat to dry. It will do wonders for evening out your stitches, opening up your lace, spreading your piece to the proper size. Blocking will make you happy. Always block.