When I first started knitting last year, I had no clue what blocking was or how to do it. Essentially, blocking means soaking your finished piece, then shaping in out to the proper size, pinning it in place and allowing it to dry. As I mostly knit lace, blocking is crucial in that it opens up the lace patterns to display them to full effect. I might skip blocking for a toque/hat, but never for a shawl or scarf. Here is a quick example, starting with a photo of what the piece looked like as I finished knitting it. This is Abrazo by Susanna IC, a designer of many beautiful lace projects. I knit this for a friend, using a baby alpaca/mulberry silk blend and frosted glass beads.
I soak my projects in warm water, with a little bit of Eucalan. ‘Soak’ is another no-rinse wool wash that comes highly recommended.
This next photo shows how I blocked it out on foam mats from Costco. I bought this set of mats, as it has 8 mats, rather than the 4 I was using previously. It allows for greater flexibility and having them all the same colour, rather than the multi-coloured set I had before, makes for less distraction if I want to take a picture of my project at this stage.
Here is the finished item, ready for the lovely Isabel, who has been so very kind in welcoming me into her home and sharing her fibre-y knowledge.