Category Archives: TKGA

TKGA-related, such as for the knitting programs

Blocking Notes (Intro)

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.


  1. Blocking
    1. Blocking Tools
    2. Blocking Techniques
    3. Blocking Prior to Seaming
    4. Blocking After Washing
    5. Yarn Considerations
    6. Stitch Pattern Effects
    7. Blocking Swatches
  2. Care of Knits
  3. Bibliography


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., 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. University of California, 2000.

[STAN] Stanley, Montse. Knitter's Handbook. Readers Digest, 1999.

[THOM] Thomas, Jessica Fenlon. 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.

Level 1 TKGA Passed

The reknitted swatches and rewritten pattern arrived in the mail today, with a nice note telling me I'd passed Level 1 of the TKGA Master Knitter series. Now I just have to think about when to start Level 2; right now I'm thinking March might be good. I have a few other things I want to finish and/or knit first, and I also have to practise intarsia (for the argyle sock).

reknitted swatches 5 and 7 for Level 1 TKGA

reknitted swatches 5 and 7 for Level 1 TKGA


I don't know why it took so long for me to finish the resubmitted swatches for Level 1. Well, yes, I was knitting the sweater for Jean Wong's level 2 finishing class, which is a lot of knitting (and basically done!). But then it also took me a few days to get to the post office to post them off! Oh well, they went off yesterday. Now all I have to do is wait, and get on with the rest of the WiPs.

Level 1 Results

I actually got the results back some time ago, but with one thing and another, haven't had the time and energy to post. The committee had some very kind things to say about my work, as well as pointing out some weak spots. I have to resubmit two swatches, but not the ones I feared, funnily enough. I also have to rewrite the pattern I submitted.

What I do well: good tension, although with some weak spots in the edge stitches, particularly on the purl rows. They found the written work good (just as well, given the amount of time I put into it!).

What I need to work on: transition tension in ribbing, tension in the edges, measuring, making sure that swatches are square. They also pointed out my gauge varied in the hat, with the gauge at the top being smaller. I'm not sure if that was due to my blocking, or whether my gauge changed when I switched to two circular needles from one. It's something to look out for, anyway.

I was impressed at the amount of detail they went into with the comments. Even though almost all the swatches were accepted, they still said what was good and weak about each one, with tips on how to correct the weak areas. And those swatches I have to resubmit? I managed to twist the increases on swatch 5 and the decreases on swatch 7, which are clearly visible when I look at the swatches. I guess I was in "I have to get this out" mode, and didn't step back and look at the details. I'm planning on knitting those in the next week or two, rewriting the pattern, and sending it all off. Then I'll take a break before Level 2 as I will need to practise things like stranded knitting and intarsia first.

TKGA Level 1 Swatches

I finally got around to getting the swatch photos off my camera, and doing the minor colour correction and cropping needed to put them online. So here you are, documentary evidence. The swatches were the most interesting part of the whole thing, I thought, so it wasn't a big problem to reknit them as required. Except for the seed stitch swatch, number 3, which was a slog.

level 1 project - hat level 1 project - hat
Swatches 1 - 3 Swatches 1 - 3
Swatches 4 - 6 Swatches 4 - 6
Swatches 7 - 9 Swatches 7 - 9
Swatches 10 - 12 Swatches 10 - 12
Swatches 13 - 15 Swatches 13 - 15
Back of swatch 16 Back of swatch 16
Front of swatch 16 Front of swatch 16