How do you block a woolly hat?

As predicted, when Lovely Littlest saw my baa-ble hat at the beginning of December she wanted one. Being a daughter request I couldn’t ignore it, but was busy with Christmas preparations,  so didn’t get started until three days before Christmas. With all the celebrating, guests and visiting there was almost no time for knitting, but being a small project I managed to finish it late on New Years Day.


Although the hat was finished, there was still the need to block it before lovely daughter went away again. For this I used my patented hat blocker, aka a pyrex basin sitting on top of a small casserole dish.

Yes, that’s the same shape as Lovely Littlest’s head

This does work well, but I often think it’s only a matter of time before the pyrex basin gets knocked off and meets an untimely demise.  Maybe I should add buying a head form to my  2016 goals list. Unless you’ve any other suggestions for hat blocking?

My own Baa-ble hat has been lying around unblocked for ages. If the weather ever gets properly cold again I will get round to it – Honest! However, having two identical hats, one blocked and one not, really did show up the improvement blocking makes. Even lovely littlest was impressed – and she’s definitely no a knitter.

Blocked hat is on the right.

So the second baa-ble hat was my first finished object of the year, but mostly knitted in 2015. So should I claim as 2015 achievement or a 2016?

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bekki Hill

53 thoughts on “How do you block a woolly hat?

  1. Very interesting to see the contrast between the two. I think you should go out on a damp day wearing the hat, then come in and sit around the house for 24 hours or so (with it still on your head) until fully dry. That should give you a custom fitting 😉 You would also look a bit silly and get a cold but needs must.

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    1. Slow means you’re giving it proper attention 🙂 Blocking does feel like a bit of a mystery, but, like most things, once you’ve done it, the mystery disappears and you see it’s really quite straightforward.

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  2. I’ve just knitted myself a cable hat from tweedy wool and was just about to block it when I stopped and realised it’s lol the better for being un-blocked. I fear blocking would flatten the 3D texture and when I’m wearing it, it stretches and flattens a little anyway. See what you think when I blog about it:)

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    1. Good thinking – you can’t unblock once blocked. Am flying past to fast here to explain other stuff I’ve done with hats, but yes, don’t block aggressively. However first wash will effectively block it, so you’ll need to do it gently then, but if you’re happy with evenness of stitching, I cant see any reason not to wear it until that time comes.


    2. Just got to the comment below from Paula, she’s put a link to one of the techniques I was whizzing past too fast to explain 🙂 That should work for cables. She doesn’t say pin it each time you put it back down though – but I do. I’d also squish the cables into shape each time too. It’s more time consuming – of course and you have to remember to keep doing it or you’ve get a line where it’s folded and you can’t block over night obviously 🙂

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  3. 2016 achievement…most definitely! I’m going to count my projects that I started in 2015; however had to put on the back burner for gift knitting as 2016 achievements because that’s when I finished them 🙂 Love the hat and it looks super cute on both of you. To tell the truth, I just flat block my hats. I hand wash, roll up into a towel, lay it and press it into shape on a towel. Then every hour or so, I pick up the hat and twirl it around on my hand to incorporate some air. I learned about it via VeryPinkKnits video:

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    1. You’re right, something I finish in June from 2015, I would count as 2016, so there has to be a line somewhere and jan 1st makes sense. Thank you. I feel happy about that now 🙂 I’ve done the twirly thing with some hats depending on how much time I have and how aggressively I want to block them. I just like the bowl, if that’s not essential, as I’m good at forgetting.

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  4. I do like the balloon idea – even though I really don’t block much. Just lacy scarves….. and sometimes even then I resort to using the iron just because that is what I am most familiar with. Blocking is an alien skill to me really.

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    1. I had a very traumatic experience with an unblocked sweater in my early twenties, because I didn’t block it – so I tend to block everything these days. I might even now need therapy because you’ve mentioned blocking with an iron 😉


  5. Such a lovely photo of the two of you. Both hats look great to me, but I know how much difference blocking makes. I like your improvised ‘head’. Clever idea. I actually bought a new bobble hat at the Lincoln Christmas market, but it’s really too big for my head. Unlike the commenter above, I have small head and have a terrible time finding hats small enough. (No comments about lack of brains here please! 🙂 ) I even had a job getting a mortarboard small enough all those years ago. Sorry – that’s nothing to do with blocking a knitted hats. 🙂

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    1. You aren’t very tall, so I’m thinking you’re probably petite all round? So brains in proportion 🙂 Shame the hat doesn’t fit, but another reason for you to start knitting, so you can make sure they fit 🙂

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      1. That’s true. I used to knit a lot of hats to use as toilet roll covers years ago! Lol.That’s so dated now, but they were popular (at least ‘up north’) in the 70s and 80s! I’ve also made lots for the children when they were little, too, but never one for myself. Later this year, perhaps I’ll do that. 🙂

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      2. I never did understand what toilet roll covers were about. Especially those with a dolly with her feet in them and her skirt covering the paper – of which there is still one in my MIL’s toilet and in the toilets of our village hall!

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      3. I think they came in in the days before many bathrooms and loos had built-in cupboards in which to store the necessary ‘next’ loo roll. No one wanted extra loo rolls ‘on sight’. All very odd, looking back, but most houses had somthing along those lines.

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  6. I think it counts as 2016. Most of the time when I’m trying to block hats they are either blocked flat or I wait till I can go to my parents, my mum has a wooden hat stand that I cover with a plastic bag and use to block hats.
    ps the hats look lovely. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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