Saturday, April 9, 2011

Blocking? More on the Knitted Bracelet...

When writing the pattern for the Knitted Bracelet with C-Lon Bead Cord & Pearls, my assistant offered to block one of my bracelet. I did not know much about blocking, but she insisted that it made all the difference and gave knitted goods a professional look. She offered to block a few knitted samples we had done with C-Lon Tex 400 and one of the bracelets knitted with C-Lon Bead Cord. She used wet blocking for the bracelet letting it dry overnight pinned in place, and steam blocking for the Tex 400 samples. Of course since bonded nylon has a mind of its own, it was totally unaffected by the blocking process.

Blocking knitting is a simple technique used mostly by professional knitters and knitting aficionados. The piece of knitting is pulled and stretched into the right shape, laid flat, and pinned in place. Then several methods can be used to actually block the knitted fabric: wet blocking, steam blocking, or spray blocking.

Regardless of the method chosen, the fabric can be shaped first, then pinned, then moistened, steamed or sprayed last. The sequence can be changed by wetting, steaming or spraying first, then shaping and pinning, then letting it dry. This process, if well done, makes the knitted pieces more even, making it easier to seam them together into garments. It evens the stitches out making them look more regular. It helps the knitted pieces hold on to their shapes.

Still intrigued by the idea of blocking the bracelet made with bonded nylon, I decided to experiment... by blocking with rubbing alcohol (see my blog about bond). So after first checking that alcohol did not affect the fresh water pearls, I was ready to test this process and isopropyl alcohol turned out to be the perfect blocking agent for bonded nylon.

To block your knitted bracelet, you will need the following tools:
  • A Macrame Board (a project board with measuring lines or a Lacis Board and a ruler)
  • 1 1/4 " Steel T-Pins
  • Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
  • Cotton Swabs (Q-tips) or Small Rag (in color similar to the item you are blocking)








Process:
Pin the bracelet right side up (with pearls up) to the board using the line or a ruler to shape the body of the bracelet into an even shaped rectangle. Pin the triangle leading to the donut button and the loop. Then after dipping the cotton swab into alcohol, dab the knitted nylon in between the pearls evenly. Let it dry. Remove the T-pins. The bracelet should now be nice and flat. If a bit stiff just shake it to loosen. It will loosen regardless as you wear it.

For more info on the knitted bracelet -> Knitted Bracelet with C-Lon Bead Cord & Pearls
To purchase a macrame board and T-pins -> www.store.jewelsinfiber.com/tools.html
To read more about blocking knitted items -> To Block or Not to Block...
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