I am in the process of knitting a jacket and I am using Alpaca. The jacket is knit from the top down. What is the best and safest way to block Alpaca? I usually use the wet block method for most of the knitting that I do, but have read that Alpaca may stretch alot in the wet block process. Would steaming it be better? Does anyone have any experience with this? Any help will be most appreciated.
Elaine, all fibers stretch more when wet than when dry, but what makes it necessary to be so careful with alpaca is the fact that it doesn't have memory, or elasticity, like wool, which means it won't go back to a smaller size/shape once it has been stretched out. Thus, you have to be very careful when taking it out of a wet bath, supporting all of the weight of the item fully, and then being careful to not overstretch it in the blocking process.
For this reason, if you have the ability to steam block, I would recommend that method. You can more carefully block it to the right size while dry and then set it with the steam.
I leave it to Nutty and Peggy's advice!
Thanks Nutty and Peggy. I believe I will go with the steam blocking. I have knit this jacket on size 8 needles. Since it is knitted from the top down, it is knitted all in one piece with no seams. Therefore it is going to be quite heavy when completed, especially if it was all dripping wet. It is special to me since I know the animals that the fleece came from. They are Huacaya Alpaca from a nearby farm. I would be very sad if I ruin it.
Keep us posted on how it turns out, Elaine, please! With pictures?
Yes! Yes!! Pictures would be wonderful to see! That will be a very special sweater indeed when you know the animals personally! =)
Thanks again for much needed help. I'm over halfway knitting it. I promise to send pics when done. I'm trying my best.
Elaine, we can be patient. Enjoy your knitting process, alpaca should not be hurried through!! =))