If you are gifting hand-knitted socks for the holidays, there’s one way to make them look their best- You’ve got to block them.
If you don’t believe me, look at the photo: the top sock was blocked and the bottom one was not. Eek!
When your socks come off the needles, no matter how hard you’ve worked to knit evenly, they’re going to look all bunchy and funky, like the lower sock in the photo. Why?
Wool Gets Kinked On The Way From Sheep To Sock
The reason for this is that the wool has been through a lot on its way to your sock – it has been sheared off the sheep; then carded, dyed, spun, and plied; and then finally twisted into hanks and wound into skeins.
And all that’s BEFORE being manipulated into thousands of little interlocking loops on your knitting needles. After being kinked and spun so much, there’s no way the sock is going to look as good as it could without the magic final step.
To help the socks look perfectly even and gorgeous, they need to relax into their new shape, and to do that, they need help from water and soap.
Wool soaks up a LOT of water- you’ll know this if you’ve ever had your washing machine full of sweaters quit on you before the spin cycle. This means that soaking wool garments in water gives them the chance to re-shape as they dry.
Soap And Warm Water: How To Block Your Knitting
In the video below, I show you how to block a small knitted swatch, but it’s the same process for blocking anything:
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As I mentioned in the video, to block socks you should use Woolite or Soak, a no-rinse wool wash.
You can buy Soak at Soakwash.com or at your local yarn store. You’ll also need a pair of sock-blockers, also found at your local yarn store or at a few different online retailers I mention below.
Let your socks soak for twenty minutes and then squeeze, don’t wring, them out in a towel. Place them on the sock blockers and hang over your shower rod or if you’re in a hurry, lay them on a towel with a fan pointing on them.
One day later, voila! Your socks will cause oohs and aahs, whether you are giving them as gifts or sending them in as a design submission to a knitting magazine.
Where You Can Buy Sock Blockers
Here are three options for you to buy sock blockers – click the images to go to their purchase pages:
Get Creative – Make Your Own Sock Blockers
The creative knitters in the KnitFreedom forum have found and shared tons of solutions for homemade sock blockers, using…
If you’re really in a pinch, you can block socks on your own feet after they’re mostly dry. Just make sure that you have someone around to bring you something to read and refill your beverage while you’re busy blocking your socks!
The Effects Of Blocking Remain After A Wash Cycle
PS – even after a wash and dry in the dryer (I made sure it was washable yarn), the previously blocked sock retains the nice round toe and flat shape.
When you’ve blocked your socks, even after washing them they lay flat in the drawer and just look nicer! So EVEN if you’re going to wash them… do a little magic first!
If you liked this tutorial on how to block socks, post in the comments!