Why I Don’t Like Wet Blocking My Knitting & Why I Change Knitting Patterns Because of It
October 10, 2023
Hi everyone! While writing posts about knitting, I noticed that I wrote posts about changing knitting patterns because they involve wet blocking. I never received any questions about why I don’t wet block my knitting projects, but I thought it would be a good topic to write a post about.
Before I talk about why I don’t wet block my knitting projects, I wanted to talk about what wet blocking is. Basically what wet blocking is is a way to take a knitted piece of fabric and stretch it out. This is usually done by saturating the knitted item in water, starch, or another liquid. Once it is wet, the item is then taken to a wet block board and pined down, stretching it to a larger size than what it was prior to the process. Once the item is dry, it retains it’s new shape.
There are multiple reasons why wet blocking is used. The one I see most in the knitting patterns I own are to stretch out a design to make the details look more pronounced.
Even though wet blocking is part of knitting, I don’t like to do it for my projects. I tried wet blocking my knitting projects years ago. My attempt was successful, but I didn’t enjoy the process or the care requirements of the knitted items I wet blocked. First, wet blocking isn’t really hard to do, but it does require space to work. Also, if starch is used as the wet blocking liquid, it isn’t easy to wet block and keep carpet clean. At the time when I did wet blocking, I was in a small apparent. The kitchen wasn’t big enough for me to wet block my project, so I had to lay out the wet blocking blocks on the carpet. I used water as my wet blocking liquid so I was fine, but I was always worried about using starch to wet block with. Today, I have more room, but I still need to be cautious about where I lay something, no matter if it’s wet blocking knits or not, to dry.
Secondly, I don’t like the care requirements for wet blocked knits. Wet blocked knits need to be hand washed. Whenever I make clothing for myself, I always need to make sure I can clean it easily. I have serious allergies to allergens in the area where I live that go beyond normal seasonal allergies. One of the ways I keep myself healthy and avoid allergic reactions is to wear clothes that can be easily laundered. Hand washing items isn’t an annoying job as it is to others, but, for the amount of times I need to change my clothes and keep them clean, it gets annoying and tedious very quickly. Since wet blocked knits are not as easy to keep clean as non wet blocked knits, I always favor not wet blocking my knits and use yarn that is machine washable.
The ironic thing is I purchased several knitting patterns that require wet blocking. Even more ironically, these patterns have photographs of my favorite knitted projects. Working around wet blocking isn’t easy, but it is doable. It requires a working understanding of how to modify patterns, understand fit, and have an understanding of basic knitting stitches. I found some patterns are more difficult to modify than others, but I have enough experience to make it easier on me.