The last thing you want to do when you finally finish knitting a color work sweater is weave in all those pesky ends, give it a soak, and lay it out to block. You just want to put it on and wear it…anywhere will do: the post office, the grocery store, or even just to the kid’s bus stop. Nevertheless, we all know how important the finishing steps are in a truly polished project. So, since we all have to weave in & block, let’s commiserate in this uncensored guide to finishing projects!
Weaving in Ends is the Worst
As Sophia Petrillo always starts, “Picture it. Sicily 1920.” You have been knitting for weeks on an amazing fair isle sweater for your best friend’s birthday. 12 colors, 8 charts, 9 glasses of merlot, 2 seasons of your favorite show, and a touch of carpal tunnel. It’s the day before the birthday party and you cast off. “Phew! That was close!” you think. Then, you see the sea of dangling cut ends and almost lose it. In your mind, you call off the party, wonder if fringe could possibly make a comeback, and end up wanting to curl up in a ball with a box of donuts. But, it’s your best friend and this sweater will be so beautiful when you are finished so you grab the tapestry needle and weave in those ends until your eyes cross! Expletives may or may not be used.
Tip: Weave in your ends as you go. This may slow down your process a bit but it will save you from the dread of weaving in ends for an hour.
There is a certain amount of anxiety that comes with dunking your hand-dyed project in a vat of soapy suds. You never know what could happen. The yarn could bleed, your project could bloom from a medium to extra large, or plenty of other unpredictable outcomes. Generally, soaking turns your project into a softer than soft work of art that smells wonderful so this step is worth the 10 pound mass of wet sheep that you haul out of your tub!
Tip: If you are new to blocking, try one of our Soak minis to see which scent you like best!
After you have knit your garment, woven in any ends, and given it a nice bath, it’s time to block. This step is seriously where the magic happens but, boy can it be tedious with all those t-pins! Another common roadblock is finding an area large enough to block a 1200 yard shawl or, like we learned last year, a huge Carson Throw. Some people use their beds for large projects or tetris together blocking mats to fit the shape of their shawl. Either way, once you see those stitches come to life, you will realize that all your hard work was worth it. Garter turns glamorous, lace blooms into lovely webs, and even stockinette sparkles!
Tip: If you ended up with a garment that is just a smidge too short, you can attempt to add some length by aggressively blocking your garment. Wool is very forgiving and can stand a little stretch!
Now, we know not all of these things are as miserable as we are making them sound. Some of us really enjoy blocking! We also know that these finishing steps are completely worth it and take your project to the next level. There are just things we like to gripe about (ie: what’s a swatch even?) and know our knitter friends will always understand!