Blocking question

Is there a rough estimate as to how much a piece will "grow" when blocked? I'm coming to the end of my Liesel scarf and trying to determine (roughly, anyway) how much more I might need to add to it to wind up with a scarf about 60-66 inches long. I'm at about 50 inches now unblocked, using a worsted weight merino wool (in case that might make a difference).

As always, thanks for your help, and for putting up with my inane questions!


Whew! I'd just block a nice section of what I had done already to see what it would be; because, unless I'm mistaken, the only reason for blocking is to give it a final shape and how much it stretches is restricted to how much the material will let you stretch it, and how much you need to to get the final shape. My understanding also is that you only pull it enough to straighten the pattern. And so, something like a scarf may need little or no blocking depending upon what you want, and how evenly you had knit the piece or how well it lays out the way you want. Just test a piece, or not, and see what you get and make your estimate based on that. Just (ahem) of course, don't wash the wool in hot soapy water. :D But, I'm presuming that 1) Merino will felt and 2) You didn't already know that, and 3) If Merino felts, you didn't want it to.

I've never read any hard fast rules about blocking. Anyone know if merino felts?

Knitting and Crocheting since 2006


QueerJoe's picture

It's typically best to knit up a swatch...especially if it's just one pattern stitch and then test-blocking the swatch. But honestly, I don't find that a very accurate indicator.

How much you block is determined by the amount the stretchiness of the yarn (merino is pretty stretchy), the stitch pattern (usually the more open, the stretchier) and how you want the final fabric to look.

Can you estimate it's stretch factor with your current knitting to try and guestimate the percentage growth?

Crafty Andy's picture

Visit Crafty Andy's Blog Blake each material is different. Merino does not felt if it is superwashed merino, but it may get fuzzy if you pu it in the washer. I will say that 55 inches of the scarf is enough for blocking . The stretching of the material depends on many things, one of them the tightness of your gauge and the material type you use. I always wash my wool, merino or not with Eucalan Soap and always add a 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to the water about five minutes before I dump the water out, then I pat dry the garment with towels and lay it flat , here you may feel like you want tol stretch it to the desired length. It is always recommended to make a small swatch and then you can block the swatch and see how much it will stretch. Such a swatch will be about 5 or 6 inches square. Hope this helps. Blocking helps the garment to take the desired shape - size that the pattern states.

Some people block wool by using steam from about 6 inches above the garment, never on the garment, slightly, quickly so that you don't cause the wool to felt. This helps the fibers relax a bit, it opens the scales and you can manipulate the garment. Wool should not be agitated that is for sure. lol!

I use merino a lot and I find it is a very forgiving material, even though it has good memory

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I'm wishing now that I'd done a swatch before I started, but I thought, hey, it's a scarf, gauge doesn't really matter. I forget that there might be other reasons for a swatch.

As the yarn band says that the yarn is perfect for felting, I'm pretty sure that I'll need to be careful about that as I try this for the first time. I suppose I ought to find out what Eucalan Soap is at some point as well...