Ok, so this is neat…look at the difference blocking makes.
The first picture is the blocked swatch, the second one is the exact same swatch fresh off the needles before blocking.
Look how much more clearly defined the stitch pattern is after blocking. Look at the lovely scalloped edge on the bottom of the blocked one (that you couldn’t even see on the unblocked one). Look how the fabric opens up and drapes so much more nicely.
All knit fabric benefits from blocking, even if it’s just to let the stitches relax and even out. But fabric like this, with a bit of a lace pattern going on, doesn’t even look like itself until it’s blocked.
This is a swatch for the cowl pattern I contributed to Jen Arnall-Culliford’s latest book, Confident Knitting. Jen’s made two lovely videos talking all about how to block this cowl (or other projects like it where you want to block under a bit of tension but need to be sure you don’t end up with creases). You can find them here, along with pictures of the cowl and more about the book itself (it’s nifty, you’ll totally learn stuff!).