Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wet Iron Blocking 100% Cotton Tutorial

From time to time the question comes up in knitting groups about blocking your knits. There are different types of blocking to pick from. For 100% cotton dishcloths this is the method I prefer. It's fast, it's easy, and works quite well.

Why block dishcloths? Well, two reasons really. First, I like to block them before taking pictures when posting the patterns. and secondly, when giving them as a gift it makes them more presentable.

Step one: get out the clean dishcloths and towels you wish to have blocked. Make sure they're knit from ONLY 100% cotton-no acrylic! (If you have any dirty marks or oils in or on the fabric, they will be set once the iron/heat hits them).

Step two: lay a white towel on your ironing board. The thicker the towel, the better. I choose to use white to avoid dye color transfer onto the dishcloth.

Step three: using the spray setting from your iron, lightly spray the RIGHT side of your dishcloth. Don't soak it-that would create a much longer dry time needed.

Make sure you get the edges and the corners of the RIGHT side of the dishcloth moist.

Step four: flip the dishcloth over, so the RIGHT side is facing DOWN onto the towel.

Step five: gently iron the back of the dishcloth with the steam setting OFF. (You don't need to add any more moisture to the dishcloth.)

Step six: change positions of the iron and directions you are ironing. This will help to even out the back of the cloth. Slightly adjust the corners and sides as you are ironing to make the sides and corners straight and even. You're looking for great lines. The back should look rather flat. You are in essence pushing the front of the stitches down into the loops of the towel.

Step seven: let the cloth sit for a few moments to cool down.

Step eight: flip the dishcloth over, RIGHT side UP, and let it sit until it's completely dry on a flat surface. You can also use a cookie rack as well. It helps the air to circulate from underneath as well.

Step nine: pair up your dishcloth with a towel and wrap it up as a gift!

This technique works well with cross stitch blocking as well. Because you are ironing your cloth face down, the stitches will 'pop' out into the loops of the towel. Thus, when you flip it right side up, the stitches will be 'raised' so you can see the texture/picture you have knit.

Puffy Basketweave Kitchen Hanging Hand Towel

Puffy Basketweave Kitchen Hanging Hand Towel
© Cathy Waldie, June 13, 2009
for your NON-commerical, non-profit, personal knitting use

(US) 5 (3.75mm) and (US) 7 (4.5mm) needles
100% cotton yarn, 4 oz.
1 button
pre-blocking gauge: 18 sts/26 rows

(US) 5 (3.75mm) needles

1-4: With smaller needles, cast on 58 stitches and knit 4 rows for the bottom border, slipping the first stitch of all rows in cloth as if to knit.

(US) 7 (4.5mm) needles
Change to larger needles and begin the pattern.
5: K3, (K4, P4) 6 times, K7
6: K3, (P4, K4) 6 times, P4, K3
7: K3, (K4, P4) 6 times, K7
8: K3, (P4, K4), 6 times, P4, K3
9: Knit
10: K3, P52, K3
11: K3, (P4, K4) 6 times, P4, K3
12: K3, (K4, P4) 6 times, K7
13: K3, (P4, K4) 6 times, P4, K3
14: K3 (K4, P4) 6 times, K7
15: Knit
16: K3, P52, K3

17-80: Repeat rows (5-16) 5 more times for a total of 6 pattern repeats. Then repeat rows (5-8) once more.

81) Sl 1, K28, M1, K29 (59 sts)
82-84) Sl 1, K across

Begin decreases for the Towel Top
85) Sl 1, K7, *(Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO), K7* 4 times, end, (Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO) K8. (49 sts.)
86, 88, 90, 92, 94, 96) Knit (slipping the first stitch)
87) Sl 1, K6, *(Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO), K5* 4 times, last 10 sts: Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO), K7 (39 sts.)
89) Sl 1, K5, *(Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO), K3* 4 times, last 9 sts: (SL1 K2tog, PSSO), K6. (29 sts.)
91) Sl 1, K4, *(Sl 1, K2tog, PSSO), K1* 4 times, last 8 sts: (Sl 1, K2 tog, PSSO), K5. (19 sts)
93) Sl 1, K2, (K2tog) 3 times, K1, (K2tog) 3 times, K3 (13 sts.)
95) (K2tog) 3 times, K1, (K2tog) 3 times. (7 sts.)

Tab Section of Towel Top

97) Knit, slipping the first stitch
98) Sl 1, K1, P3, K2.
99-113) repeat rows 97 and 98 of the tab section.
114) Knit, slipping the first stitch
115) Sl 1, K1, P3, K2
116-129) repeat rows 114 and 115 of the tab section
130) Sl 1, K1, Bind off center 3 sts, K to end (4 sts) (creates buttonhole)
131) Sl 1, Kfb next st, Kfb next st, K1 (6 sts)
132) K2 tog, K2tog, K2tog (3 sts)
134) Knit 1, K2tog, pass first stitch over. Pull tail through last stitch.

Weave in ends, wet/spray/steam block. Sew button into center stitches on tab decrease row #96.

Towel matches the Puffy Basketweave Dishcloth.