I recently completed a pair of colorwork mittens for a friend. The yarn is a superwash wool from my LYS, pt5 sport. The pattern is a dear little twist on tradition: Peace and Love Mittens by torirot design.
Fresh off the needles, you can see the stitches of these mittens are rather bumpy and rough looking. There is puckering at around the heart on the mitten on the left, and both points are rather goofy looking.
You know what would smooth it out? Blocking. For these mittens, I’ll use steam blocking.
Wet a dish towel and wring it out so that it is not sopping. Cover the mittens with the damp cloth.
With an electric iron set to the Wool setting, hover lightly over the damp cloth. Do not press down, just skim over the surface. Copious amounts of steam will burrow through your knitting, allowing the wool to relax into its newly knitted configuration. Move the iron to steam every bit of this side of the mitten. If your mitten has a ribbed cuff, you can skip that part. Then, remove the cloth, flip over the mittens and have at the other side in the same manner. And don’t forget the palm-side of the thumb.
While the mittens are still warm, smooth out the fabric if any stubborn bumpy spots remain. Resteam as needed until you are satisfied. Some puckers cannot be steamed out; in such cases, check your floats are not too tight.
Here are my freshly blocked mittens. Ta da.
Steam blocking is generally just necessary just after knitting, to create a smoother fabric. When the mittens are washed, they can be smoothed flat and allowed to air dry.