I've had my 'Branching Out' made for about a week now, but i've only just finished blocking it. To say it's been a farce is a bit of an understatement. I don't usually block things, to be quite frank I hadn't heard of blocking until very recently (and i've been knitting for 17 years). I've known to gently press things if they need it, or to tug it about while it's damp, but I was quite bemused at the lengths some people go to with pinning and rolling in towels etc. I guess I didn't really see a need for it until I made this scarf.
At first I tried ironing it. I didn't actually 'melt it' per se, but it was a little, er...well...flat. Yes, I know that's the whole point of ironing, but I mistakenly used my military iron with 2 heat settings - hot and 'kin' hot and it was a little too much. I frogged 5 pattern repeats and reknitted it sucessfully. I really didn't think just wetting it and pinning it would do, so I needed another option. In the meantime i'd read someone at Knitty saying that they'd used a steamer and how easy it was....
My do and don'ts of steam blocking
Do choose something with enough space to pin the whole thing to - the base from the guest bed propped against a wall was ideal.
Do make sure you have enough pins so you don't have to go racing downstairs mid-proceedure to get the sewing needles in desperation.
Don't work in the semi-darkness so you can't see which end of the needle is which. Having enough piercings in your finger to make a goth teen proud is not a good idea.
Do screw the hose to the attachment properly so it doesn't fall off, scalding your wrist and feet in the process.
Don't set the whole thing up directly under the smoke alarm.
Do leave pins all over the floor, you can pick them up later with your bare feet.
Don't mutter a string of curses after you've finished when you realise it all looks a little, er...well...flat.
It's given it a lovely drape, but has taken away the knitted feel, it's wafer thin. I certainly won't be in a hurry to do it again.
The recipient is worth the trouble though, it's for my friend Emily for her birthday. She's a lapsed knitter recently inspired to pick up the needles again. I'm really looking forward to her coming home for the holidays, she teaches down South so I don't see her so often.