Apparently October 10th is I Love Yarn Day which is something new to me but what a fantastic day to explain about the sock blockers from my Wednesday post and to show you what they do!
These are the blockers in question. The blue ones are from Knitter’s Pride and and jazzy ones were cut from a cheap plastic place mat using the bought ones as a template.
And here is a sock before blocking. The pattern doesn’t have a lot of definition to it and can you see how the foot part is twisted? The rib at the top also appears to be two different sizes, it has a “waisted” appearance.
And here’s the same sock after a bath and on the blocker.
The biggest difference is immediately apparent and that’s appearance. Do you see how neat and even it looks now, how the pattern stands out?
The other difference is also a big one and you can’t even see it… and that’s fit. This sock is a combination of cables and lace, it was a big project for me when I knitted this pair earlier in the year. It was only my third sock using the lace technique and it was only my second sock using cables and it was my first pattern ever that used them both at the same time and the pair took me 5 days short of two months to knit.
I have had a number of people compliment me on the evenness of my knitting and how good and consistent my tension is. And I’ve had other people jokingly call me a “yarn garotter” because of that same “even” tension! What they mean is that I sometimes knit too tightly, hold on to the yarn in a death grip, and I do, especially when knitting a new pattern for the first time or learning a new technique. The problem with knitting socks one at a time is that I often end up with two slightly different sized socks, the first one is invariably tighter, the second one a bit looser because I’ve relaxed a bit, both me and my knitting tension. The socks above were finished at the end of April and never worn because the first one was so tight it was uncomfortable to get over my heel.
Enter the sock blockers. First I soak my new socks in a product designed to care and clean the fibres, I use Unicorn Fibre Wash but there are others on the market. You don’t have to rinse this product out and soaking the sock allows the fibres to relax again after the trauma of being pulled every which way as you knit! Squeeze, never wring the excess water out and lay the socks on to a clean towel. Roll up carefully and apply pressure to extract even more water, and then carefully put your damp socks on to the blockers and leave to dry somewhere. As the socks dry they retain their newly blocked shape.
The benefit? Not only does the pattern now look really pretty (I appreciate it more now than when I made them), but finally got I wear these socks for the first time this week.
More info and some good before and after photos can be found here on The Twist Collective. They demonstrate on flat knitting but the principle is exactly the same.
Pattern: Cathedral Grove ~ available for free on Knitty
Yarn: Premier Serenity Sock Weight Prints in Violas
Ravelry: My project page on Ravelry