I have gone from steam blocking most things to wet blocking everything and I just have to say, I’m a true believer. I’m sure that there are people out there who will tell me that I’m all wrong, that wet blocking isn’t for everything and they’re probably right, but here’s what I like about it:
- everything seems to get softer and brighter
- all the parts of the knitted thing seem to fall into the right places
- you get to stare at your work as its drying
- the cat seems to enjoy lying on top of it
I’d like to go through them if you don’t mind.
Everything seems to get softer: I blocked a sweater recently that I loved when I finished. It was a fair isle. I loved the yarn, I loved the pattern and it was soft. But when I wet blocked it, the thing seemed to come alive. It got softer. The yarns blended into beauty and it seemed to get brighter. Think difference between a leaf bud and a new leaf. I didn’t think it could get much better when I’d finished knitting, but it did.
All the parts seem to fall into the right places: A lace shawl. Nice enough, but small and a little scrunched unblocked. Wet blocked? Like a butterfly from a cocoon. Bigger, bolder, but more delicate.
You get to stare at your work as its drying: This can be a good or bad thing, depending on how you initially feel about the knitted thing. I reckon it to staring at your children. Do you ever stare at your child as you’re witnessing his intelligence, wit, kindness or humor and think, “This person is a delightful human and I am responsible for this in some small (large) way?” Then there are those moments when you stare at your child as he’s screaming at you about the benefits of having a ninth hole put in his ear, and how you have no idea what high school is like, and that he can do as he pleases because even though he acknowledges that he’s completely dependent on you for absolutely everything, he’s 18 or almost 18 (I want to know when I get to do what I want — I’m more than 18!), that you stare at him and think, “This person is so utterly awful how could I be responsible for this in some small (large) way?” The same is true of staring at your knitting. Extrapolate.
The cat seems to enjoy lying on top of it: Even though Vito has 3 beds of his own, strategically placed around the house, it is my knitting (with the pins and wires sticking out) that he enjoys sleeping on top of. It is NOT because he likes my knitting. In fact, it is because he senses that this place is the one place this week that he probably shouldn’t be hanging around. He’s not a “kneader” (cat people will know what I mean), so I don’t mind much.
Anticipation: It’s like having a big box of chocolates and knowing that you absolutely cannot open the box until the weekend. It just makes that first chocolate so much better.
However, there’s one big problem to wet blocking — time. And TIME is no small thing for me (look at the subhead of this blog). It’s something no one ever has enough of and you can never get back once spent. I have just had a birthday, not a big one mind you, but it’s close enough to a big one that I can see the whites of its eyes. Birthdays always make me think of how time is rushing and how it would be better if I had the wisdom of right now (small though it may be) about 20 years ago. Which brings me back to wet blocking…
There are bigger things I wish I knew 20 years ago, but wet blocking is definitely one of them.