Killing versus Aggressive Steam Blocking

So, I finished my test knit for Charity’s Wrap, which I don’t want to show final staged pictures of until she publishes the final pattern and I can link all of you to it. It can be knit with anything from Worsted to Bulky Yarn, to be made into a scarf or a small wrap. I actually finished one hour before I left for the airport to go on vacation; however I didn’t have time to block or weave in the ends.

I chose an acrylic yarn for this pattern, thinking I was going with Bulky and instead found out it was Super Bulky, so it’s quite bigger than I expected. Now, I’ve made plenty of blankets, hats, scarves, ear warmers, etc. using acrylic yarn while crocheting. In fact, that’s the only type of yarn I knew before I began knitting. For shame! I have never, I repeat, never blocked any of my crochet projects. Again, for shame! I knew I was going to have to do it for this shawl because of the lace edging and the serious curling.

I Googled how to block acrylic and set about pinning my wet blocked piece of shawl onto my blocking mats. That was the first suggestion I saw and as I am familiar with the technique, due to knitting with fine yarns, I chose that first. I used my blocking wires for the straight top section and t-pins for the lace (can you believe I thought they were tea pins when I first started knitting?) See pic below (note the still curled up edges of the lace).

Wet blocking
Wet blocking

That didn’t work, so I started steam blocking with my trusty iron. Wouldn’t you know, it looked perfectly flat when I took the pins out and as soon as I picked it up, the lace edges curled. Argh!

This past Thursday, I asked my fellow knitterly friends (from my Meetup group) their advise and I was told I might need to kill it. Kill it??????? OMG! I can’t kill my knitting! Oh…not literally killing it. You shape your piece and place a towel over it and then iron it. Thus, killing the yarn (basically melting it) and making it permanent. It also changes the texture of the yarn. So, instead of trying it on my finished piece, I decided to use up the last 4 grams of Electric Blue yarn and make a swatch. This is what happened. *You can click each picture to make it bigger.

Front before killing
Back before killing
Front after killing
Back after killing

Ugh, I didn’t like that effect! Although it’s still soft and stretchy, and as you can see, much bigger…I didn’t like the way it flattened out the stitches. I then tried another suggestion. Maybe I didn’t steam aggressively enough? OMG, it worked!!! You actually have to use the Steam button on your iron, not just passing the steam over the knitting. You have to soak it with steam, move it into place, then let it cool and dry before removing the pins and picking it up. See below what the lace looked like before aggressive steaming and after. Lessons learned! I can use acrylic yarn and still get a beautiful effect! I can’t wait to share this with the person I’m gifting it to…I hope she loves it as much as I do!

Happy Knitting!

Before steaming…all curled up
Side by Side - Blocked versus Unblocked
Side by Side – Blocked versus Unblocked

5 Comments Add yours

  1. myraho78 says:

    It’s a beautiful shawl! Specially the lace edging! I love it! Do you like crochet too? Would you like to come to my home to see some crochet flowers and butterflies, they are life sized. With the yarn and crochet hook my mother preserved the beauty of spring blossoms! That’s why my father named it “Everlasting Blossoms”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maggienesium says:

    OMG! This is amazing!!! I would be stoked to get this!!!

    You aren’t alone. I’ve never once blocked anything and in fact before this past May, I didn’t think I knit well enough, or enough in general to work with anything but acrylic. But now that I know I can block it, I’m definitely giving it a shot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! It blocked beautifully once I added enough steam to soak the yarn. It was much easier to do a little at a time on the ironing board with my t-pins rather than on a blocking mat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Maggienesium says:

        That’s good to know! I was fretting over having enough room for blocking mats so this is perfect 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.