We talk  a lot about blocking. Both in the shop and online, especially when I share a photo of a project drying.


Multicoloured cowl


This is The Shift, designed by Andrea Mowry and a cult classic.

The Shift is a cowl but it's knitted flat. Andrea recommends you block the finished piece before sewing up the two short edges, giving a pointy cowl. 

But what is blocking?

Blocking in the broadest sense is a way of finishing your project to make it look it's best. 

It usually means washing and drying flat - gently pulling, smoothing and straightening your piece to specified measurements or to achieve a fabric and size you want.

You may need to use pins to keep an edge straight or to stretch your work, like opening up the holes in a lace stitch pattern (like in our Myssoni shawl) or to create a larger effect.


Pinned out shawl points


Sometimes you don't wash but you use steam or even wet tea towels to 'set' your piece. We used steam to block our super chunky shawl Eremophila.


Dark grey shawl

Eremophila before blocking


Dark grey shawl blocked

Eremophila after blocking


These links have lots of info if you're interested in reading more...

Whatever method you use (I usually favour a full soak in a wool wash) blocking relaxes your stitches and can solve some stitch unevenness.

For The Shift, blocking straightens out the edges making it easier to maintain a straight seam and it fixed some slightly rolling edges.

I used my KnitPro Knit Blockers and foam playmats (bought in the 'outdoor/summer' aisle at B&Q many years ago). Lots of people block on thick towels.

I didn’t block it again once I sewed it up.


Baby cardigan


We've been busy revamping our Making for Babies collection with new yarns, new patterns and new shop samples.

This cardigan is pattern 6032 and I used King Cole Cutie Pie in shade 5381 - Apple Pie. And yes, the colours are all named after pies.

For the same reasons as The Shift, I have blocked these cardigan pieces before sewing up. It's a chance to get everything nice and straight and 'set' to the correct and consistent size.

I will probably reblock the Cutie Pie cardigan once I sew it up as it has lots of seams.


Do you need to block?

Nope! It's your project, your choice. 

But it really does make a difference and I am definitely on Team Blocking.

Check out this blog post by Elizabeth Smith who shares before and after blocking photos of her knitting projects. They perfectly illustrate the difference blocking can make.

I try to include info on how I block each of our shop samples in the Project Gallery. Going forward I'll add more before and after photos too so you can see the transformation blocking can make.

Fiona Wright
Tagged: top tips