Drying blocked garments

Just after Easter I came to the point where I needed to block the cable cardigan I’ve been knitting. I did all the appropriate things to wet block it then placed it on top of the aga.

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Reluctant to leave the foam blocking matts unattended on top of the aga overnight, I took it off at bedtime. Β Next morning I put the still very soggy cardigan out in the sunshine. That evening, just to be sure, I returned it to the aga.

A few hours later I discovered the blocking matts in the centre were looking like this…

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It doesn’t take a genius to work out the sunshine must have fully dried the cardigan – or at least almost fully – and with little or no evaporation going on, and the insulating effect of the knitting, my blocking matts got too hot.

 

I’ve ‘got away’ with drying a lot of blocking on the aga in the past, and next time I’ll be more attentive. But what’s bugging me, is in a climate such as we have in the UK, how is one supposed to dry a blocked cable cardigan (or sweater) without risking melted mats, drying in direct sunlight – which also risks bird deposits ruining your work – Β or it sitting soggy for days on end and ending up smelling manky?

Alternative blocking options are no option here since steam blocking and spritzing your work aren’t going to be effective in removing the concertina effect ribbing creates. AndΒ wafting air from a fan might dry a fine lace shawl reasonably quickly, but not a thick cable cardigan sitting as a double layer on you blocking mats.

 

So, a question for those of you who block your knitting/crochet, How to you dry your work when you wet block?

30 thoughts on “Drying blocked garments

  1. It is a dilemma isn’t it? One I was hoping you were going to give the answer to when I read your title 😦
    I lay my blocking mats (or sliced in half yoga mat if I’m being honest) on top of a clothes airer in a warm room – preferably when the log burner is going. However, I usually only spray the item until fairly damp, I don’t soak it – that way madness lies.
    I hope somebody else has an answer as I am hoping that cable cardigan will be blocking nicely chez moi once you release the pattern πŸ˜‰

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    1. Sorry, not to be of help. Now you mention it is have also put them on the coffee table in front of the log burner, but only at the end of the evening or I’d get told off. Yes, let’s hope someone else has an answer.

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  2. The only thing I’ve really blocked was my cardigan (I dry socks on a towel, moving them around and changing the towel when it gets wet, but it’s the movement which stops them smelling I guess). That was squished in a towel to get rid of most of the water then pinned to mats, and it had dried in 48 hours (inside, late October I guess???). So really I do’t have that much advice, my stuff dries quite quickly…
    Maybe put empty tins underneath the blocking mats so they aren’t quite so hot/air can circulate???

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    1. It would definitely take more than 48 hours for me to get a wool sweater dry without help and I do squish in a towel and stand on it πŸ™‚ The cans are a good idea, although maybe a bit of a balancing act not to break the jigsaw type mats apart. Of course that wouldn’t be a problem with a yoga mat or similar. I made some sock blockers from table mats https://thedartmooryarncompany.com/2016/03/16/diy-knitting-accessories-homemade-sock-blocker/

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  3. I do soak sweaters, and wring them out in a towel (then actually stand on it and squeeze out more) before blocking. I use a thick terrycloth towel under sweaters, on top of the clothes drier. In the summer I add a fan. The trick is that I do trade out the towel regularly. At first, I might do it every couple of hours, while most of the water is present. The last sweater I did took two days to dry, with dry towels about every ten to twelve hours. When I am desperate, I will take the wet towel out, and toss it in the drier, thereby adding heat to the mix for blocking. It is tedious, but it works, with no smelliness. I don’t use the blocking mats for this, but when I do shawls, I use the mats and no towels, as changing them interferes with the pinning. Not sure if this will help or not…

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    1. Ha ha! I now have an image of you standing on top of the clothes airer πŸ˜‰ I do stand on the towel when I initially roll a sweater in it, but hadn’t thought of one under and swapping. You clever old stick πŸ™‚ Thank you!

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  4. I searched when I blocked my first item and found the Tin Can Knits method of blocking easy to follow. I think the important thing, as others have said, is getting as much water out as you can. I’ve had to roll up my knitting multiple times when I do the roll up and stand on the towel thing. I pretty much roll it up in a new towel until there is no more water coming out of the towel. (See Step 4 in their process.) https://blog.tincanknits.com/2015/10/15/how-to-block-a-hand-knit-sweater/

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    1. Thanks Paula. I do do rolling with more that one towel and stand on it and, as I said, most garments are fine, but Aran wool sweaters are way thicker and big and at least in my house still don’t dry quickly enough without more help 😦

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  5. Anne Read

    Hi Bekki You just need an Aga drying stand(plenty of options on google) and adapt it with a larger mesh tray to take your garment with a prop down to the front of Aga, top shelf is best or some shrinkage/felting can occur – that lovely hubbie of yours could whip it up in a mo !

    Happy blocking xx

    Anne Middleton 2813 Woodson Drive McKinney Texas 75070 U S A +1(469)407-9379 amiddleton09@icloud.com

    >

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  6. An interesting dilemma – I thought the towel changing and standing the mats up on something to allow air to circulate ideas quite handy and I’m not even blocking regularly πŸ™‚ The last time I made a big huge ribbed effect jumper I blocked the pieces before sewing up – that worked well.

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    1. You’re absolutely right, you should block all the pieces separately, but that makes it seem to go on forever. Yes, I know, I need more patience and that might be the real answer to my challnege πŸ™‚

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    1. Yes, your instincts are right, the blocking get ‘unblocked’ when the garment is washed, although over time it does get less so. So you have have to pull it into shape before you dry it in future and yes, you should block it again occasionally.

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      1. Thanks Bekki that’s what I thought. I can’t see DIL blocking anything, it’s in the machine and on the clothes dryer! On the child again in double quick time. Maybe if I ever get round to making something for me I will try blocking. The closest I get now is a damp tea towel and a cool iron!

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      2. Absolutely. I don’t knit wool for anyone I doubt will have the time to do the things wool needs. A lot of things don’t need blocking IMO anyway, but when you’ve got your aran sweater all pulled in a concertina by the effect of the cables, it does help πŸ™‚

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  7. I soak them fully, roll them in a bath towel and stand on them, then pin them out on a fresh towel and leave them on the floor of the sewing room for the duration – which is generally two-three days. No quick-fix, I’m afraid:)

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  8. What a bit of a surprise. At least they did not melt yet.
    I guess I am very fortunate to set sunshine for most of the year, and blocking in the sun is so much easier then, so I wish you luck although I think you have a very good blocking method going. πŸ™‚

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