Tutorial – How to Block a Shawl

Recently I finished knitting my Ashton Shawlette, and I finally blocked it last weekend.

This is a great shawl, very beginner friendly.  The instructions are detailed and include a tutorial on how to read lace charts.  So for anyone who is thinking about jumping into knitting lace for the first time, I think this is a good one to start with.  And for the more experienced knitter, I found the pattern to be a relaxing and enjoyable knit.  Also this is a free pattern, so that’s another bonus!  🙂

A lace shawl like this benefits enormously from blocking.  When I finished knitting my shawl, it looked like this:

Pretty, but kind of scrunched up, especially the edges, which were rolling up.  I knitted this with Knit Picks Gloss Fingering (one of my fav yarns), which is a wool/silk blend.  Natural fibers, especially wool, are particularly well-suited for wet blocking.  Acrylic fibers can also be blocked, but a different technique has to be used.  That’s a post for another day.

So here are the steps I follow when blocking my knitted lace.

First weave in the ends, but do not cut the strings yet.  Then, place the shawl in a bowl of cool water.

I like to use a little wool wash.  I prefer Soak.  (A bottle of this will last forever- seriously.)  But there are other brands available, and some knitters just use a dab of shampoo.  Let it soak for about 30 minutes.

Then gently remove the shawl from the bowl, supporting it’s weight.  Squeeze the water out of the shawl.  But Do Not Wring.

Next spread the shawl out on a clean towel.

And roll it up.

Now stand on the towel.  Yeah, that’s right, walk on your knitting.

This will really get the water out.

Next gently spread the shawl onto a blocking board.  I use foam floor mats.  Start pinning the shawl out into the desired shape.  The key here is to make sure you use RUST PROOF pins.  (You can also use blocking wires if you have them.  They make blocking easier, but are not necessary.)

I start pinning at the center top, and work my way across the top, and then evenly along the bottom sides.  If you want your lace to really open up or grow a lot, pin aggressively.  If you don’t want your shawl to grow too much, don’t put as much tension on the pins.

Let the shawl dry completely.  This can take a day or two, depending on the temperature and humidity.

When it’s dry, un-pin, trim the ends, and ENJOY!

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4 thoughts on “Tutorial – How to Block a Shawl

  1. Oh, so this is blocking! Great picture tutorial. I’ve never blocked anything before but when I do I’m sure this will be helpful. 🙂 Your shawl is so pretty!

    • Thanks! Blocking always amazes me and it never gets old to see a shawl “open up.” And it’s not just for lace, I think almost all knitting benefits from blocking. It really helps even out stitches and can even “fix” little imperfections.

  2. Pingback: Completed: Fall Trellis Shawl | Purls and Pleats

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