At the DKC finishing workshop I learned a bunch of great tips for finishing garments. One of the big topics of course was blocking which obviously also needs to be done whenever a knit is washed. The instructor, Patrick Madden brought a number of pieces that he'd put through the "wash" that very morning. Each knit was neatly folded and in a separate zipped washing bag. There were two sizes of bags for large or small items. (One of my errands last week was to get me some 'o those bags so this week's laundry day found me ready to refresh my hand knit collection.) Using Patrick's suggestions here's what I did...
I started by filling the washer with cold water and a dribble of SOAK a bit ahead of time to let the water warm up a wee bit.
Meanwhile I sorted the sweaters into groups of like colours, used my handy dandy clothes shaver to remedy pilling while I checked for spots or areas that looked dirty and might need spot treatment.
Each knit was then folded and placed in an appropriate sized bag.
After sorting to make a light and a dark load I dropped the bags for the first load into the machine, hand agitated them a bit and left them for 20 minutes before advancing the machine to the spin cycle.
Once that cycle was done I moved the bags around in the tub and spun them again.
What came out after that were damp bags with still folded sweaters inside. They required no hand squeezing to remove excess water yet weren't dripping and still folded in the bags, were neither wrinkled nor stretched out of shape nor were they dripping wet or slithering out of my grip.
Then it was off to the blocking board. (I've had this board for many years but I've only ever used it for sewing. Patrick strongly advocated the use of these cardboard types for blocking knits, explaining...
- The printing on the boards is useful for aligning sides, hems, shoulders etc. and is fully colour fast.
- Their corrugated construction allows for pinning, using blocking wires, or even steaming with an iron just above the surface of the knit.
- To free up floor space while knits are drying he even advocated setting the board upright once a knit is fully pinned in place. I didn't try that yesterday but you have to know I sure plan to!
On the board then it was a question of finessing the garments into their intended shape and dimensions (This gave me an idea - as part of my FO housekeeping when I'm filing my marked pattern and notes, used needles and remaining yarn, adding to my Ravelry info, my Flickr account and the blog I'm also going to make a little laundry and blocking card summarizing washing instructions and illustrating ideal measurements for each hand knit. I'll store them in the laundry room for easy reference.)
Anyway, back to the damp knits, once all spread out, I added a portable fan (again a recommendation from Patrick) to really speed up the drying which of course it really did.
Now I'm ready to continue with the next batch of knits AND block out the body panel of a jacket my mother is in the process of crocheting. (I can't get over how it doesn't look anything like crochet!)
Patrick advocated working assembly with pre blocked pieces because with proper blocking they become...
- their stitches are set and so quite visible
- they are the right size and shape so should fit together exactly.
So now its back to the basement for me to finish up my "knittinglaundry"! Have a great day!