Part of the TKGA Level 1 Masters Program is to write a report on the blocking and care of knits. I guess I went a little bit overboard on mine; the committee judging my report said it was "outstanding" and "one of the most comprehensive and well written blocking reports" they'd seen in that program and encouraged me to publish it. After a bit of email on the subject with the committee chair, I'm going to publish it here on my blog. It was six printed pages, so I'm going to post a section at a time.
Oh, one little detail. Please don't copy my report and submit it as your own. For one thing, the committee members have copies of it (and, I assume, of reports from other people), and part of the idea of the program is to encourage people to do their own research across a number of sources, not just from one. And there is so much more information out there than I could put in my report; I left out lots of information that I found about blocking different types of fibres, for example. So I'd call it a decent introduction to the subject, but not comprehensive.
- Care of Knits
Blocking is the process by which you make a knitted article the right size and shape. While you're blocking, you also will see how the fabric is affected by water, which is important information for when you want to clean the article. Blocking can be a fairly simple process, or more complicated, depending on why you're blocking the article. Knits are blocked for several reasons. Blocking makes it easier to seam a garment after knitting the pieces, as you can pull the pieces to the right size and shape during the blocking process, as well as flatten out the edges. You can change the size of a woolen garment (within reason) by blocking after seaming to accommodate minor fluctuations in the wearer's size. Blocking is required to see the full beauty of lace knitting and knitted lace, as it's only through blocking that the yarn-over stitches are opened up properly. Blocking also makes fair isle knitting much more even. I'll talk about each of these issues separately. Much of this information comes from [VOGU] and [STAN]; some also from personal experience.
[DRUC] Druchunas, Donna. http://www.sheeptoshawl.com/charity/archives/2006/11/entry_222.html, 2006.
[FEIT] Feitelson, Ann. The Art of Fair Isle Knitting. Interweave Press, 1996. (link is to the not yet released new edition)
[HOLL] Holladay, Arenda. On Your Way To The Masters: Those Pesky Yarn Tails. Cast On Spring 2003. TKGA, 2003. (available to members on the TKGA website)
[PARK] Parkes, Clara. The Knitter's Book of Yarn. Potter Craft, 2007.
[RUST] Rust, M.K. http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7435.html. University of California, 2000.
[STAN] Stanley, Montse. Knitter's Handbook. Readers Digest, 1999.
[THOM] Thomas, Jessica Fenlon. http://knitty.com/issuewinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html. Knitty, 2002.
[VOGU] Editors, Vogue Knitting Magazine. Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. Sixth & Spring Books, 2002.
This is not an exhaustive list of references by any means, just the ones I referred to when writing my report.