blocking part 2: shaping a knit hat

last time, i shared how i blocked a hat. the steps were outlined in my previous post, but basically…

* wet the hat, press the water out of it, shape it, and lay flat to dry.

i recently knit a hat and cowl set for a friend’s baby, and i wanted the hat to be softly rounded (dome-shaped) at the top.

after knitting, wetting the hat and pressing the water out, you can place the hat over a ball, a balloon (thanks alyssa!), crumpled up paper towels (newspaper would work too but the ink may run), a rolled up towel. anything that approximates the desired shape.

blocking a dome shaped knit hat

what did i use?

blocking wool hat using a pyrex bowl

oh, hello you, vintage pyrex bowl forest fancies pattern. how’d you get in there?

see? pyrex isn’t just for the kitchen.  i think i need to add this to my 14 reasons i love vintage pyrex.

once dry, the hat keeps its shape. you can see the bumps in this photo here where the hat follows the rounded contours of the bowl.

hat and cowl, after blocking

i added some embroidery and crocheted flowers after the hat dried.

embroidery and crocheted flowers on wool hat

that’s it.

if you’re not a knitter and have always wanted to try knitting but are a bit intimidated by it, you might want to check out my very basic tutorial, knitting needles 101.

if you are a knitter and have any tips to share about blocking, add them below in the comments so we can all learn. i’d love to hear about how you block larger items, like sweaters and shawls. what do you lay them on? when do you pin your garment? do you do anything to speed up the drying process?

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29 Responses to blocking part 2: shaping a knit hat

  1. Cessie says:

    Those are beautiful! I am a very beginning knitter :) I have knitted a scarf, and worked my way through the Idiot’s guide with different patterns. I just picked up a book from the library and think I’m going to tackle a little baby Henley. We’ll see how it goes. Crochet is much more comfortable for me, since I grew up with it. My last finished project were these little purses: http://underthebeetree.blogspot.com/2011/01/hooked-on-crochet.html Thanks for the Pyrex tip!

  2. googiemomma says:

    how sweet! i may have to try my hand at knitting a hat for this baby. i’ve never “blocked” my knitted hats…i think it will help! thanks for the tips!

  3. I don’t know anything about knitting, but that is the loveliest hat (those blue flowers are exquisite!) I’ve ever seen. What’s a cowl?

  4. Alyssa says:

    Those are so sweet, and what a great way to use Pyrex. ;)

    For flat pieces {espec. shawls, but also before seaming other things} there’s nothing like using blocking wires. But they’re pretty pricey, so I use stainless steel welding rods/wires, available at most hardware shops. Love ‘em!

  5. For blocking sweaters I usually use a mesh sweater drying rack that is stackable. Though I haven’t made sweater that needed serious blocking.

    For shawls, I set up foam floor tiles that interlock on the guest bed and then use T-pins and 1/32″ welding rods to block to shape. I have since added a real blocking kit to my arsenal because my Kate shawl had a curve to it and I needed more flexible wires for that portion. But the welding rods are great for straight lines because they can take a fair bit of tension before they start to curve. I usually can get away with only 3 T-pins per rod!

    I use the balloon trick for baby hats frequently. Our flour canister turned upside down is perfect for adult hats. For berets I use plates, 10-12″ dinner plates for adults and salad or dessert plates for babies and kids.

  6. Jess says:

    okay, I just need a baby to go with that hat now :P Gorgeous, Ana!

  7. Victoria says:

    ana, that’s lovely! Your friend is very lucky to know such a talented person. :)

  8. Corey says:

    Helloooooooo Pyrex!

  9. e l l a says:

    that looks lovely Ana.
    and way to go pyrex – work it, work it ;) what a great start to a modelling career ;)
    lol

  10. Angela says:

    Very sweet set you made! You’re so clever!

  11. Lindsay Ann says:

    My knitting teacher always blocked her shawls on bulletin boards.

    I wonder, for you or your knitting buddies, can (or should) this be done with mohair? I am working on a loose knit mohair shawl, and I assume it shouldn’t be blocked, but I don’t know!

  12. Angie says:

    For me? Oh, you shouldn’t have….;)

  13. Amanda says:

    the colors are beautiful! when i have more time i’d like to learn to crochet, my grandma tried to teach me once when i was little and staying with her for a week. I made a potholder :)

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  15. Honey says:

    Ok….I love pyrex. I buy it any time I can find it but I never can find my favorite pattern which is the wee mushrooms like what you have. I want to say thank you as I didnt knows they were named. Now I hope to find more for my mushroom kitchen.

    Thank you …I’m off hunting. ;)

    Honey

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  18. cherry says:

    I want to re-shape a boiled wool hat. will try conventional blocking first! ps: a cowl is a hood.

    • imadeitso says:

      true. it’s also the name for the draping neckline on women’s garment. i think just the neck part has come to be known (perhaps inappropriately) as a cowl amongst knit garments. though, what would you call it? a neck warmer might be a more appropriate term. i think originally, a cowl was the full garment worn by monks, wasn’t it?

  19. Julie says:

    Hi Ana! Is it possible to share this pattern? I checked on your Ravelry and it says that it’s a personal one…. I wouldn’t be able to knit it, but my MIL probably could. I would love to have something like that for my baby! BTW, we just found out that we are having a baby girl… and so far… we will be naming her Anna! ;-)

    • imadeitso says:

      hi julie! congrats on baby girl. anna is a lovely name :D

      as for the pattern, i’m so sorry. i just winged it. i really need to write things down as i go, but i rarely do (and it makes re-creating it just as hard for me)…. i’m sure your MIL can make something even cuter for you! it’s just a basic hat, embellished with crocheted flowers. wish i could help more.

      • Julie says:

        No worries! Yours just looks so nice and soft! You are very good at winging it! Hopefully one day I’ll move away from dishclothes and do something else! Thanks!

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