In next week's newsletter, I discuss the importance of blocking your finished projects because doing so allows for the yarn to bloom, your stitches to even out, your edges to become flatter and straighter, and for any potential over-saturation of color to rinse out of the yarn. There are a number of helpful videos and articles that discuss how to block effectively, but the basics are this: If you are wet blocking, you will want to use lukewarm water and a little bit of detergent or soap. I prefer the non-rinse fabric/wool wash soap such as Soak or Eucalan. A little goes a long way, so just a drop will suffice. Then, let your project soak for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Ring out by rolling in a towel and squeezing the excess water out of your project. Lay flat on blocking tiles or on a towel. Use your hands to get your project into its correct shape and pin in place if necessary. Then, let air dry. If you are doing a light wet block with a spray bottle, fill the spray bottle with lukewarm water. Lay your project flat on blocking tiles or a towel and pin into place if necessary. Spritz the project until it is slightly damp. Let air dry.
If you are steaming, make sure that the fibers can withstand the heat. Some fiber blends are really finicky about heat as it will cause them to melt, so make sure you check before deciding to steam your project. If you are using a steamer that won't actually touch the project, keep it a modest distance from the project as you steam it. Let it air dry. If you are planning on using your iron on the steam setting, it's best to place a damp towel on top of your project and then use the iron on the damp towel as a buffer between the iron/steamer and your project. This will still allow the fibers to relax without endangering their integrity. Personally, I prefer a full wet block when I block my finished projects because I find that it is most effective in relaxing the fibers and then allowing me to arrange the project in its correct form/shape.