Why wet blocking really makes a difference!

If you're a knitter or crocheter, you've probably come across instructions to wet block or steam block your finished items at one point or another.

And whether you followed the instructions or not, says a lot about the type of fibre crafter you are (same can be said in the swatch or not debate but that's a story for another day).

I had been a member of team no-block for as long as I've been a knitter. I saw it as it is an extra step that feels unnecessary. I just want to wear my finished knits! And I believed certain yarns don't respond to blocking (I'm looking at you acrylic) so I didn't see the point.

But, as I started knitting more detailed patterns and then designing my own, I began to shift my perspective and started seeing the benefits of blocking. And my latest pattern, the Walk Amongst the Pines hat has 100% convinced me of it's value.

A woman with brown hair and glasses, standing outdoors wearing a green knit hat with lace detail, a denim jacket and white blouse. She is holding open the jacket with her hands and her gaze is down toward her right side.

This hat pattern is based off one of my earlier designs, the Walk Amongst the Pines Cowl, which I knit with acrylic yarn. I did block the cowl to try and open up the lace a bit but with acrylic yarns, it doesn't hold the effects of the blocking as well as natural fibres like wool do.

A flat lay of a dark green chunky knit cowl with a pine tree lace detail on a white background.

I am really proud this pattern, not just because it was my first design, but I love the detail of the lace. It was fun to find a stitch pattern that represented my vision so well.

When I got back into designing this year, I knew I wanted to do something else with that Pine Tree Lace stitch pattern. I initially envisioned a hat but using the same bulky acrylic yarn. Going through my yarn stash, I found a similar coloured yarn in a worsted weight leftover from another project and the creative juices started flowing.

A flat lay of three balls of green yarn on a white background and a set of wooden circular knitting needles. Two balls of yarn have a white label and one has no label.

I drafted the pattern, knit up a sample and decided to wet block it lightly. I used my glass head form as a tool for keeping the shape and making the lace pop. And boy did it ever!

A close up of a woman wearing a green knit lace hat, with her gaze toward her right shoulder.

A close up of a woman holding a green knit hat with lace stitches in her hands.

In reality, I had imagined a much more fitted beanie style hat but the blocking created this beautiful slouch and it's better than I imagined.

For comparison purposes, below is the blocked and unblocked version of this hat. You can really see how in the before blocking version the lace is much tighter and not as easy to see. The blocked version has a much nicer shape (as you can see in the photos of me wearing it above) and the lace detail is much crisper.

Two green knit hats with lace detail against a white background. One hat is lay on top of the other to show the difference in size and shape as a result of blocking. The one at the back is bigger and wider, the one at the front is smaller and more condensed.

I am now officially on team block and there is no going back.

This pattern is currently open for test knitting applications. Head on over to my YarnPond page to sign up. Test knitting helps me check my pattern for any issues that may arise when knitting the project and gives testers a chance to try new techniques and different designers for free.

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