Tutorial - Blocking the homemade out of handmade in doll knitting

We all know what the difference between the two usually is.   Handmade is unique, one of a kind,  made with love, attention  to details, and finished to perfection. 

Homemade can have almost all of the above, yet we distinguish between the two at a glance.
So what’s the difference?
Most often that’s the way the item is finished.  Finishing is a tedious process, especially when the item is all done and ready to be used.  But it is imperative if we are in business of selling out creations and want your customers to come back for more.
 Here I will show you how I finish all my  samples.  I do not sell those,  but keeping a sample that looks exactly how the finished item made from my pattern should look  is a great visual reference  when I need to compare the cut, the look of the stitches and the feel of the knitted fabric.
 I always use steam blocking with steam settings appropriate for the fiber content of my yarn.
When knitting from the bottom up I block the skirt after it is finished but before I begin the bodice. If knitting from the top down I block the bodice before I close the armholes.
 Blocking a skirt is easy.  Almost always it is either a rectangle or a semicircle.  For semicircle I use very thin easily bendable stainless steel wires. You can see the wire on the pic below.  I am using a small board for the purposes of this shoot only.  The small red plastic thingy is a head of the wire.

 I block on a table that has a bigger blocking board on it.
On a small blocking board I would block a big skirt in several stages.
If you don’t have bendable wires  you can use a thicker cotton thread and thread it into the open stitches of the skirt.
 
Next, the skirt gets a couple of puffs of strong steam,  but be careful and do not  touch the fabric itself.  Hover the iron  above the fabric, though rather close to it.  Sometimes, if the steam does not  work   immediately,  I  pat the fabric down to help it get the look I want.
I do actually touch the fabric with steam iron if  it has  some wool content in it.  But wool will shrink somewhat .

 After blocking the skirt I let it rest, then return it on the knitting needles to continue the bodice.

After the bodice is done but before I finish the neckline and the armhole  it gets blocked. It’s so much easier to block the “row” piece.

 

Short blocking wires are threaded through the loops of the edge stitches.  The blocking pins ( the stainless steel ones to prevent corrosion) keep the wires in place according to the measurements of the bodice.  Steam the bodice with its wrong side up.

Remove the wires, turn the bodice right side up. Arrange in the board and secure with the pins again ( the edges of the knitting might still roll) to straighten up the edges.  Give the bodice another  puff of steam.

  Let the item cool down and take it off the board.

Now it’s ready for sewing the shoulder seams, finishing neckline and the armholes (or sewing in the sleeves ).  Sleeves should be blocked before setting them in ( block only the body of a sleeve but not its ribbing, if you have one).  

Actually each element of the design should be finished before being assembled into the outfit.