Technical Tuesday: Steam Blocking

As promised here is my post about steam blocking! While wet blocking is a wonderful thing and has it’s place in knitting, so does steam blocking. The first and most important thing is to understand how to steam block!

This is by far the best video I have found! I really loved the part where she showed us how to make a latte with her steamer. I should note that an iron will work as well; there is no need to run out and buy a steamer. As awesome as they are…

I use steam blocking specifically for lopi sweaters and anything with texture. If you have a garment with a lot of texture, such as a shell pattern or a wide rib, the wet blocking with make it lay completely flat. This could have the adverse effect of making you garment bigger than you want and taking the oomph out of your stitch pattern.

In this case, I take my iron, put it on steam and iron out anything that needs to be adjusted. Make sure you place something between your knitting and your iron, after you have worked so hard on a garment you don’t want to lose it to an ironing incident. Also be aware of your fiber content! There are usually different types of heat levels for different fibers.

Another way to utilize steam blocking is when you are about to seam something together. The following video explains it fairly well.

In the video, she says she continually steams her lace to see how it looks. I personally am a subscriber to the other school of thought. I like it to be a surprise; when you are knitting lace, it always looks like a snarled mess until you block it. I like to be surprised!

With lopi sweaters I learned the importance of steam blocking along the seams. I made a sweater for a friend and the arm and shoulder seams were a bit tight. I brought it to my ironing board and just applied tension and steam, worked like a charm. The sweater fit perfectly after that!

Paul and the Sweater

I am not going to lie, usually wool in this form smells heavily of lanolin after it has met with steam or water. I personally dislike the wet-sheep smell so I like to wet block these sweaters with wool wash. But, wool in this form really responds well to steam blocking, as with the last video you hover your iron over the garment and the stitches lay flat!