Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sock blocking

I recently finished an ankle length pair of Child's First Socks from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks as a gift. It was a delightfuly quick knit with lovely results:

Pretty, no?

The yarn I used (name has slipped my mind, but it was hand dyed with indigo I believe) left my hands and bamboo needles faintly blue, so I decided to block the socks before gifting to eliminate excessive dye leakage. I am willing to gift soft, potentially feltable fibers in hand knit socks (willingness subject to change), but consider dye leakage Death for gifted handknits. Who but the knitters themselves are willing to deal with that?

Death eyeballs the handknits for Himself if they fail the blocking test and leak blue.

Fortunately (and surprisingly) the socks did not leak during blocking, even with blasts of steaming hot water. In an unexpected side effect that reveals my failure in foresight of blocking lacy socks, what a big difference blocking made in the presentable-ness of the socks! See below, unblocked on top and blocked on bottom:

Not too shocking for those who block regularly, I know.

I block lace and sweaters that will be seen by the general public and look signficantly better upon blocking, but I never block socks. Usually when I finish a pair I am so pleased I don them immediately and wear them until they cry out for washing. This usually blocks them sufficiently.

Another view where the blocked v. unblocked is more pronounced. Again, unblocked up top and blocked on bottom.

My stance is that socks go on my feet to keep me warm, so blocking just takes time and energy I would rather put towards other things. Plus, if I don't block them I can wear them sooner. But I will have to keep blocking socks in mind for gifted handknits, where presentation matters.

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