Kelbourne Woolens Hat Pattern & The Importance of Blocking

Have you seen the hat pattern we have at Stitch Space from Kelbourne Woolens & The Fibre Co.?  It is exclusive to a few Brick & Mortar stores that carry The Fibre Co. Tundra.  See the full list here.

TheFibreCo_Hat-2The hat is called Gwyneth by Leah McGlone, and features Tundra, a bulky weight Alpaca, Merino & Silk Blend.  If you haven’t checked out Tundra in the shop, you’re missing out!  It is so super soft, and wonderful to work with.  This hat works up so fast on size 10 needles, and features cables with decreases worked right into the pattern.  How cool is that?

TheFibreCo_Hat-3This would be a perfect gift knit.  Knit one up over the weekend for a special somebody, or just for a little luxury for yourself!  The pattern is only available at Stitch Space and the other retailers listed at the link above.  Be sure to get your copy for $5 next time you stop by the shop!

One of the things this hat demonstrates well is the importance of blocking.  I get so many questions about blocking at the shop, and I thought I’d address that a little on the blog today.  Anything with a pattern, especially cables, can really transform when you block it.  I actually remembered to take before and after blocking photos of this hat just to show you:
TheFibreCo_Hat-DuoSee how much the hat changes?  It really makes the cable design pop!

How do you block?  Well, it’s not as complicated as it seems.  I usually put the item I’m blocking in the sink with room temperature water, and a little Soak wash (Yuzu is my new favorite scent, available at Stitch Space!).  Remember not to get the water hot, or to agitate the item too much or you can cause felting with certain fibers!  I then let it soak for 15-20 minutes, drain the water, and squeeze any excess water out of the hat, making sure not to wring it.  No rinse is necessary when you’re using a wash like Soak.

Next, I grab a couple of clean towels, sandwich the handknit between them, and roll them up to squeeze as much water out as possible.  I sometimes even stand on the towels!  The more water you get out at this step, the quicker your item will dry.  Then, I lay the item out on a blocking mat, or towel to dry.  I try to make sure it is at the correct size when I lay it out, and pin it if necessary.  Pinning is sometimes necessary with sweaters or shawls.  Most of the time, hats don’t require pinning.  Let the item dry overnight, and you are set to go!  Blocking really helps to make your handmade items look professional!