Here's the situation: you've just finished knitting something with fantastic texture, either in cables or knits-and-purls, and now you need to block it. Wet-blocking, where you soak the project before laying/pinning it out to dry, can really flatten out texture, especially if you've used a yarn that doesn't 'bounce back' much once it's dry (like an alpaca or silk blend).
I had just this dilemma when I finished my Beeswax Scarf! I had wet-blocked my swatch and been disappointed by how flattened-out it was:
Scarf above; swatch below
Scarf on the left; swatch on the right
Obviously, I was keen to try a different blocking method that would preserve more of the lovely texture!
I settled on a method similar to wet-blocking, but with the order of the steps switched up: first you pin out your project, then you wet it. I used pins to stretch the scarf slightly and open up the eyelet-holes, and then I sprayed it liberally with a spray-bottle full of water. And I made a stop-motion video showing exactly what I did:
This method also has the advantage of taking less time to dry, because the yarn isn't fully soaked through. :)
I really want to try it next time I knit a cabled hat, because putting the hat over a balloon and spraying it has got to be easier than prodding a floppy, wet hat into shape.
Do you have a favourite blocking method I need to try?