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Tutorial: Blocking Ruffles

In the last issue, we talked about working a 3-needle join, which is great for layering ruffles. Today, we are going to go over how to shape and block those beautiful ruffles to really make them pop!

Blocking ruffles is actually very easy and can be done with wet or steam blocking, depending on the fiber content. Speaking of fiber content, synthetic yarn blends are a bit trickier to block, but if you knit your ruffles with a slightly smaller needle, you'll find the denser fabric pinches the ruffle into shape without the need to follow my steps below.

To prepare, either soak your ruffled piece in a sink full of lukewarm to cool water for 15 to 20 minutes or gather your materials with a dry ruffle piece ready to go. You'll need a place to block (blocking mats, ironing board, mattress, etc.) and pins.

Lay out your ruffled project. I begin by shaping the body of the piece first, and then working with the remaining fabric for the ruffled section.

Step 1: Decide on your ruffle size. I tend to use my finger to make them all consistent.

Step 2: Push the fabric into the ruffle shape you desire.

Step 3: Hold in place.

Step 4: Pin into the valley between the ruffled hills. Repeat steps 1 through 4 until you have shaped all the fabric.

See? Easy! I tend to think of it like shaping your hair for a fancy event and using hair spray. Now, if you wet-blocked, let it dry a good 24 hours. For steam blocking, take your steamer (I like continuous steam from a garment steamer) and blast away, making sure the ruffles get nice and saturated with the heat. Let cool and set for about 10 minutes.

When ready, remove your pins and admire your defined, beautiful ruffles!

Be sure to use this technique on the pleats in the free pattern, Pleats Aplenty, by Lynne LeBlanc and let me know how it goes! In the meantime, visit the Free Knitting Tutorials & Videos Pinterest board for more how-to inspiration.

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