Blocking is key! I know blocking is usually a good idea, but it’s especially important with Pauline. Since the bonnet is knit entirely in stockinette, it will curl without blocking, even with the i-cord border. Blocking also relaxes the yarn. Nearly everyone who has knit Pauline has worried that it was too small prior to blocking.
So, here’s how I block Malabrigo.
- Fill the sink with room temperature water and a dribble of conditioner or baby shampoo.
- Push the handknit down into the water and leave it there until it’s thoroughly saturated, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Lift the knitted item out carefully, gently squeezing out some of the excess water. DO NOT WRING.
- Drain and refill the sink with clean water and rinse off any conditioner or shampoo that remains on the knitted item. It’s important that you don’t place the knit under running water to rinse, as that can stretch the wool.
- Drain the water and gently lift out the knit, squeezing out excess water without twisting or wringing.
- Lay flat on a dry, clean, absorbent towel. Roll the towel up into a little burrito of yarny goodness, and then stomp the living hell out of that thing. Stomp, jump, dance on the towel. Unroll. If the item contained within still seems very wet to you, roll it up in another clean towel and do it again. It’s fun, it burns calories, and it’s helping you end up with a perfectly blocked handknit. What’s not to love?
- Carefully carry the now thoroughly stomped knit to the spot where you intend to block (I don’t have a blocking board, so any free surface has been known to suffice) and lay it out carefully, shaping to the schematics in the pattern. Pauline doesn’t need pinning, but other knit items might.
- Leave strictly alone until almost dry. Since Pauline is a hat, though, when it was very nearly almost dry, I put it on and shaped it to my head. You don’t need to do this with something like a sweater, but it does seem to help the shaping of hats immensely.
There! You have a blocked thing!
In other news, no, there are no results yet in the Malabrigo Junkies contest, so if you’re waiting, well, come here and sit by me. We’re in the same boat, and also, I have snacks.