Blocking is the knitting equivalent of ironing. It gives a nice, flat, clean look, but it's not very fun to do and a bit tedious. Blocking is best accomplished by pinning a wet finished object to a blocking board, having slightly stretched the material into the desired dimensions. You then allow the item to air dry, "locking in" the shape and size.
However... With the speed at which I knit, the available real estate in my apartment for blocking, and a cat who really enjoys licking wool and wool blends, the best method is not my preferred method. I instead do what I think of as a lazy person's blocking procedure, and I often block more than one thing at once. (I realize that serious knitters will probably give me some side-eye over this.) It works for me in part because I don't really care about crisp, precise edges. I don't mind if things look a little softer. Also, while I do a good bit of lace knitting, I'm not knitting the kind of shawls that demand really serious stretching and blocking to look nice.
If you want to give my method a go, here's what you need to do:
- Lay out your knits on a table that can readily withstand some moisture, like a folding table.
- Liberally spray everything down with water. You don't want your items to be dripping wet, but you do want them to be quite damp so that you don't have to do too much manhandling in the next step.
- Lightly stretch and smush your items so that any lace patterns are nicely defined and edges are flat.
|An eclectic mix, I know.|
- Place a towel over the top.
- Place your heaviest books on top of the towel. I like to place the very heaviest books on the ends and the less-heavy books in the middle.
- Wait about 24 hours (or however long it takes) for everything to dry.
- Remove books and towel, then admire your work!