Bond Machine Knitting - Blocking, Pressing, and Steaming

Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 07:20:20 -0400
From: FiberArt (
Subject: [BOND] Pressing and Steaming Matters

There seems to be alot of information regarding steaming and pressing.  I
thought I would share my knowledge and experience on this matter.  You can
take anything I say with a grain of salt :-). 


When you knit you are forcing yarn into a shape of your own choosing.  In
order to "set" the yarn in this shape you need to block.  If you have ever
seen a finished lace garment it would give you the most obvious effect.  It
is lumpy and bumpy and not as smooth as it should look.

Blocking "finishes" the garment.


There is wet blocking.  This is where you pin out the damp garment into
shape.  Measure it to be accurate and let it dry in position FOR AT LEAST
24 HOURS.  It may feel dry sooner but leave it full the full 24 hours.
This is a very good method for wool garments especially lace items like

There is steam blocking.  This is where you pin out the item.  You then hit
it with steam from either a steamer or iron.  DO NOT TOUCH IRON TO FABRIC.
You just use the hot steam.  You then leave alone for 24 hours to
completely dry.  This is a very good method for most garments including
fair isle and lace clothing.

Some of you have mentioned ironing.  The only time I have seen designers
use ironing is when using chenille.  They wanted to flatten and create that
shine effect.  This has been used for woven chenille, for instance.  I
would never use on my garments myself but if you are happy with the effect,
go for it!

Killing.  This is when you oversteam to create a shinny effect.  If you
have ever seen those japaneese knitting books you will see they do this to
their lace clothing.  You use thin acrylic yarn, knit the garment, and kill
the fabric.  The end effect is a sheen to the garment and a very light
drapey fabric.  Others use for skirts and pants to "set" the fabric firmly
so that it does grow a "seat" with wear.


No reason really.  I have seen wonderful garments with that "rumpled" look
like they just came off the needles.  Blocking only enhances the effect of
all your wonderful work.  Not take away.

That's my sermon for today :-).

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Author : Steph Thornton.
Last modified on : 4th September 1997.