I have had a revelation. Perhaps I have been in knitting limbo but I had no idea about blocking knit garments. When I finished my last sweater, I asked the question if anyone knew how to steam a sweater once it was completed.
Ann suggested that I ask Ann Rowley at Stitcher's Guild so I did. Ann asked what the fibre content was, and if it was wool, it could be steamed into shape. She suggested "wet-blocking" which would entail completely soaking the sweater in warm water in the tub, then lifting it out and pinning it into the dimensions desired and leave it to dry. And I thought I could just press this sweater! Hah!
A google search on blocking sweaters has been eye-opening. Even though I grew up with a mother who was constantly knitting, I don't ever remember her blocking anything. I don't think she did. I know that she pressed the pieces before sewing them together, but she didn't pin anything into a shape.
What I found here in this article, To Block or Not to Block is fascinating. So I thought I would pass it along to anyone else who knits or crochets. The advice is so valuable. I had absolutely no idea that you could mold the shape of your garment by wet-blocking. You can build in shape where required, such as a little bust shaping, and you can lengthen sleeves if they are too short. All of this depends upon your fibre content, I am sure, with wool being the most cooperative.
What a surprise! How could I have been around knitting and crochet for so many years and not know this? But I don't recall any patterns that concluded with instructions to block the garment before sewing it up. It must be assumed that we all know this.
Perhaps all you knitters know this already. And I am just late to the game. Or maybe I have just been blissfully ignorant of this technique. But, if it is of any use to you, I am happy to pass the information along.