Blocking your knitting after completing each piece will help to give a professional finish to your work. It helps to ensure that each piece is in shape and of the right dimensions and also smooths the stitches, takes any curl out of the edges and generally gives a nice feel to the knitted piece and makes it easier to join the pieces together.
Blocking your knitting is a simple procedure but one that knitters often neglect, however it is worth taking that little extra time and care to do it.
You will need a padded surface, such as a table covered with a folded blanket, or a a spare bed is quite a good surface.
1,Cover your chosen surface with a clean towel.
2, Rinse the piece to be blocked in warm water, squeeze out the excess water then wrap in a clean, dry towel and press and squeeze hard until the piece is just damp and no longer has any excess water in it.
3,Now carefully pin it onto your blocking area, pulling it into shape, uncurling the edges and measuring the length, underarm dimensions etc. to ensure it fits with your pattern measurements. Pat it gently into shape, particularly where any increasing or decreasing has been done. Some stitch patterns can give the pieces a slight bias and this can also be corrected by blocking your knitting pieces.
4,Cover with another clean, dry towel and leave to dry naturally for 2-3 days, depending on the ambient temperature.
Tips: A useful tip is to use a piece of check material on top of the towel as this can help to ensure that the piece is evenly laid out. Simply check the number of rows to a square and make sure this is the same all the way up.
It is a good idea to block each piece out as you finish it, that way one piece can be left to dry as you are knitting the next one.
"The Ultimate Knitting Bible,"by Sharon Brant is an extremely useful and well recommended book for both beginners and anyone returning to knitting after a break who needs a refresher course.