You know, with a web address of teishknits, there is very little knitting featured on my blog. I finished and blocked a summer sweater today, and that inspired me to write something of a product review.
Most knitters will wind up blocking something at some point. For the non-knitters blocking is the process of washing a hand-knit item and stretching it out to the correct dimensions and then perhaps steaming it before letting it dry. There are other forms of blocking out there, but I like the wet-blocking method so we’ll just leave it at that. Blocking helps the garment fit better, smooths out the stitches and if you’ve knit something like lace or cables, it really opens the pattern up. Blocking does knitting a WORLD of good! Even knowing that, I used to avoid blocking. It was when I heard someone on the Knit Picks Podcast mention that they loved blocking their knitting because they used the kookaburra wash and it smelled so nice. Well, I decided to give it a try.
I opted for the kookaburra delicate because I’m a sucker for anything lavender scented. I’ve used it twice now, and have been more than happy with the results both times. It smells lovely and I really appreciate the fact that you don’t have to rinse it out of your wool! Particularly since lavender naturally repels certain little pests that like to munch on wool. It doesn’t leave any stiff or sticky residue, but it does freshen up the fabric nicely. I use less than the recommended amount, but that’s true of any laundry detergent that I use.
After my knitting gets a nice lavender bath, I have to find a flat place to pin it out. That’s the real challenge around our house! A number of people just pin things out on their bed. However, I don’t think my waterbed mattress would take too kindly to having pins stuck in it. I’ve already drained the thing and put in a new mattress this year, I’m not doing it again. For kid-sized items my ironing board is big enough, but for adult sweaters it’s just too narrow. I’ve blocked things on my couch or living room carpet, but that must be done overnight while the kids are in bed so they don’t decided to play with my straight pins. Eventually, I’ll just have to invest in a set of blocking mats at some point. But for now, I somehow manage to find someplace to pin things out!
So, I’ve been converted at least partially into a knitter who blocks her knitting. There are still some items, socks, fingerless mitts, etc., that I don’t bother to block. Still, any of my sweaters that don’t go in the dryer get blocked before wearing and every time they get washed. I highly recommend that all knitters try blocking at least once. You may be amazed by the results! I would definitely suggest the kookaburra wash or kookaburra delicate to knitters or anyone who owns wool items that require some extra care. In fact, a sample-sized bottle of it might be a good inclusion whenever you gift a hand-knit sweater! You can find the small bottles on the Knit Picks website. (Not to mention an awesome selection of reasonably priced yarns and my absolute FAVORITE knitting needles!)
Don’t forget to give your wool items a little TLC before you pack them away for the summer!