How to Block Knit Socks Without Sock Blockers

I block all of my hand knit socks. It doesn’t matter whether they’re a gift, whether I’m keeping them for myself, whether they’re a design, or whether I’m just trying something out. When I’m done with them, I block them. Even if they’re kind of ugly. Even if I don’t think anybody will see them.

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But that doesn’t necessarily mean I use a pair of sock blockers to do it. As I’ve written elsewhere, you don’t necessarily need a sock blocker to successfully block your socks. Today we'll cover how you can block your pairs of socks without using a blocking form of any sort.

Why Block Your Knit Socks?

Remember, blocking doesn’t have to be about stretching your knitting projects and forcing them into a specific shape. It's about introducing your knits  to moisture. That’s because the water helps the yarn bloom and settle into place. If you are knitting plain stockinette socks, this will be less important socks with cables or lace patterns. Complex stitch patterns of any sort will always benefit from some blocking.

Step one: get your socks wet

The first step to blocking knitwear is to get it wet, also known as wet blocking. Water temperature matters here. You want to use either lukewarm water or cool water to soak your socks. If you use hot water, you run the risk of damaging the fibers or even felting them. Some knitters like to use wool wash at this stage, but I generally skip that.

Step two: gently squeeze your socks out

Once your pair of socks has soaked for a little while and the yarn has bloomed, you’ll want to squeeze them out. Do not wring your socks like a dishrag. Instead, pick them up in your hands, and gently squeeze your hands together without any turning or twisting motion. Repeat this a couple times until you have squished out the excess water.

Step three: set your socks out to dry

After you’ve squished out the excess moisture, lay your socks flat in a place where they won’t be in your way. You’ll want to gently arrange them into your desired shape, making sure they match each other. Optionally, you can also pin them in place, but pins are less important when bloicking socks than garments.

Step four: enjoy your socks

Eventually, those socks you laid out flat to dry will, in fact, be dry. Surprise! And when that happens, the last step in this process is to enjoy your socks. Be sure to take out the pins if you used them before you try to put the sock on. Things can be a little uncomfortable otherwise.

Curious to learn more about knitting or to dig deeper into sock blocking? Click on through for tutorials, free patterns, technique tips, and more.

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