In the vine lace swatches above, while the unblocked swatch is better than the unblocked stockinette stitch swatch, it is still not really identifiable as a well-knit lace pattern. After blocking, though, the stitches open up dramatically, the columns (or vines) of lace are clear and well-defined, and the scallop edges are crisp and smooth. It is almost hard to believe they are the exact same swatch!
BLOCKED VS. UNBLOCKED GAUGE:
Most of the yarns in The Fibre Co lineup are heavy in protein fibers, and many of these fibers are camelid, specifically alpaca and llama. Add silk into the mix, and the unique blends of fibers behave much differently once they have been wet-blocked. This also holds true if you are a very loose knitter and go down a few needle sizes so your stitches are smaller. Even though your stitches may be correct gauge, your rows will be quite long and
• My unblocked gauge is 19 stitches and 26 rows over 4".
• My blocked gauge is 19 stitches and 27 rows over 4".
While the stitch gauge remained the same, the row gauge changed slightly. Not huge (just one small row over 4"), but if compounded over the length of a garment, my piece would be noticeably shorter.
• My unblocked gauge is 20 stitches and 22 rows over 4".
• My blocked gauge is 18 stitches and 24 rows over 4".
As expected, the lace changed more than the stockinette stitch swatch. As both the row and stitch gauge changed, my finished piece would come out much different if I did not take the blocked swatch into account.
HOW TO WET BLOCK:
• 1 towel
• woolwash - any is fine, just use one you like best!
• blocking surface: blocking board (we have this one), blocking mats, or large towel.
• stainless steel pins
• tape measure
• Begin by soaking your finished item in a sink full of cool water and woolwash. While the item is soaking, do not mess with it too much, letting it sit and soak is just fine!
• After it is well soaked, remove your finished knit from the sink and gently squeeze out as much water as you can. Do not twist or pull the fibers too much while they are still soaking wet.
• Lay a clean, dry towel out and lay your finished knit on it in the general shape of the item. Roll up the towel into a tube (or jelly roll) and by pressing down, squeeze out as much water as possible.
• Unroll the towel, and set it aside. Lay out your blocking surface where it will not be disturbed and your piece will have ample time to dry without having to move.
• Begin by laying out the piece in the general size/shape it should be. If you are knitting a swatch, pin it out, but do not tug it or mess with it too much, as your fabric should be able to behave in the way it wants to without too much effort on your part. If you are blocking a garment or accessory, use the given finished measurements in the pattern or on the schematic as a guide.
• Once pinned in place, let dry completely. Unpin your piece, seam if necessary, weave in any additional ends, and wear with pride!
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