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Saturday, October 12, 2013

HOW TO BLOCK A SWEATER WITH ALPACA FIBER

Alpaca fiber is top-choice for many knitters, as it’s warm, easy to use, and unlike wool, it’s itchy. When you’re knitting a sweater, one of the final steps is blocking the pieces together. Blocking uses heat (whether water or steam) to even out the stitching, and to shape the item.

Among the myriad of sweater blocking methods, you’ll want to opt for one that uses minimum water. Alpaca fiber is fragile when wet, so the best method is to shape them first, and heat them with steam after.

You’ll need the pattern instructions, rustproof pins, spray bottle, and a tape measure. Find a flat surface with plenty of room for you to work.

Blocking meshes all ends into a final finished piece, so before you start blocking, weave in all of the ends. This will secure any loose fibers.

Using the widest measurement and then the longest, pin each separate piece down to the flat surface. Now, shape it to the adequate dimensions according to your pattern. Be generous with your pin usage, it’s better to be secure.

Once the garment is in the ideal shape, use steam to wet each piece evenly, ensuring you leave no wet spots behind. When the sweater is completely dry, remove the pins and hang for a day before wearing.

Remember, if this sweater is for a gift, your intended may not know how to care for an alpaca sweater. Please refer to an earlier post, on how to wash and care for alpaca fiber clothing.