What is blocking?
It’s when you stretch your completed object out or finish it in one of various ways in order to make it stay a given size and shape. The shawl I’ve been knitting on, here:
will not be that size or shape exactly when it’s done, and the pattern will really pop out once it’s blocked. As it is right now, you can’t really see the pattern — it’s very muddy looking.
Once the shawl’s complete, I’ll wash it (because I also want the mohair to bloom) by hand in cool water, and then roll it up in a towel and squeeze it till it’s only damp. While it’s damp, I will spread it out someplace big enough, tug it here and there to be make the pattern show and line up and so the whole object is the right size, and then pin it, weight it, or lightly go over it with a not-so-hot iron to make it steam a bit. Once it dries, it’s set in place like that (until it gets soaking wet again, of course).
I’ve promised detailed blocking pictures for the next project to be blocked. 😉