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Blocking Cottons and Linens

LBHandknits

While I am an enthusiastic blocker of woolen handknits, I do not always block cotton and linen blends. For reasons to do with memory and natural spring and all that, which a fibre expert can explain far better than I can, the plant-based yarns just don't seem to need blocking beyond a very light touch of mist. But moreover, the kind of things I tend to knit out of cotton and linen usually look better unblocked. That is, the garments intentionally have a rustic, textured, or crinkled look to them, which an overly aggressive blocking session could ruin. 

I remembered this when I washed the 'Top of the Morning' sweater (pattern release date: 30th May!) today, for the first time since knitting it. I have gotten quite a bit of wear out of this top over the past month. And because I wear it next to my skin, and it is cotton rather than wool, it did finally need a good washing. At the same time, I was anxious to retain the original look of the sweater. The rustic Woolfinch Studio yarn is so full of kink and zing! I did not want that vibrant uneven quality to get lost in the washing and blocking. 

So I handwashed it in the sink in lukewarm soapy water, rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out. I then laid it out on the freshly cut grass in the sun, to give it a nice scent. But rather than laying it out completely flat, I kind of scrunched and fluffed it up a bit first to give it dimension and try to retain the uneven texture of the rustic yarn. 

It is so sunny and windy here today, that a couple of hours later the top is already nearly dry. And I am relieved to see that the textured-gauzy-bumpy look seems to be returning. The yarn did look rather limp and flat there for a while, but it seems to be regaining its personality as it dries. I especially love the way the twisted ribbing looks with this yarn. 

Some knits just are not meant to look pressed and tidy. And it's just as important to know how to avoid that look, as it is to know how to achieve it! Fingers crossed this sweater will return to its pre-wash self 100% once it has dried completely.