Posted in Knitting

Blocking Knitting: Wires and Blocking Boards

I have another knit shawl shawl on the blocking boards, and I used blocking wires on this one, so I thought I’d share it with you.

I’d love to take credit for this beauty, but it’s actually Mimi’s work—isn’t she a great knitter? I did do the blocking, though, so I can brag about that!

Vittorio knit lace shawl by Corinna Ferguson
The Corrina shawl on the blocking board

This is the Vittorio Shawl by Corrina Ferguson, knit from Becoming Art Cielo fingering in the Carousel colorway. Gorgeous.

The shawl gets larger until the halfway point, and then smaller, decreased back to the original cast-on number, so it’s sort of a wedge shape. Mimi thought it was an easy knit, and the payoff sure is worth it, so this might be a great project for a beginning lace knitter. It’s definitely a wonderful way to use up some of that sock yarn we all have hanging around.

As you can see, I used blocking wires to help block this piece. I threaded the wires through each of the points on the border and then stretched it into shape on the board and secured it with pins. Blocking wires are really a godsend! It took me about five minutes to thread the wires through the points in the border, and then five more to secure the shawl to the blocking board. Seriously!

A finished object: Vittorio knit lace shawl by Corrina Ferguson
Here’s the finished shawl. Isn’t it pretty?

If I had used just pins, it would have taken me at least three times as long to pin it into shape, and I’d have had to repin as I went, because I always stretch lace projects more at the end than I do at the beginning, so I need to repin the first part to match the last part. Anyone else do this??

Mimi wearing her new scarf. It looks great bunched up and worn loose. I love it!

I love how this turned out; I can’t wait to steal it from Mimi and wear it!

About those Blocking Boards

On my last post, someone asked me about my blocking mats, asking if she needed two sets. I do have two sets of blocking mats (link below), and I recommend getting two if you can swing it. Since they’re individual blocks, you can put them together any way you want to, which enables you to make your blocking board fit your project, and not the other way around.

So, if you’re blocking a sweater, you can build a square, and if you’re blocking a scarf, you can build a long rectangle. I love this flexibility.

Links and Stuff

Here are links to the items I talk about in this post. Some things are available at other stores, too.

Vittorio Shawl by Corrina Ferguson

Blocking Wires from Webs

Blocking Mats from KnitPicks

Posted in Knitting

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl

It’s confirmed: blocking works magic. As you know, I was skeptical a simple soak and stretch could fix my mess of a garter-stitch scarf, but it did. The Lori Scarf by Carrie Bostick Hoge is a smooth, soft, beautiful finished object!

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl gets a good soakBlocking knitting is easy, really. I filled my bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a little Soak wool wash, and put the scarf in. The important thing here is to get the piece totally submerged and completely wet. So I squeezed the scarf a few times to make sure it had absorbed the water, and let it soak for an hour or so.

Then I squeezed out as much water as I could, and “squeeze” is the operative word here. Do NOT wring out your knitting, ever. When the fiber is wet, it’s fragile, and you can really stretch it out of shape, or even damage it, if you wring it out.

What I like to do for this step is drain the water and let gravity do its work for awhile, and then gently squeeze the knitted piece until no more water runs from it.

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl after it's soak
The Lori Shawl after squeezing the water out

In the case of this shawl, that did the trick because it’s such a light and relatively small item. If you’re working with a sweater, you’ll probably need to roll it in some clean, dry towels after you squeeze out the water. I do this for almost all of my sweaters, and it works great to absorb most of the excess water. You’ll have some wet towels to deal with, but we must suffer a tiny bit for the beauty of our knitted garments!

Now comes the fun part: The stretching and pinning. I use blocking boards that I got from KnitPicks (link below), which I love. They’re like those interlocking play mat squares that kids use on floors; in fact, I know many people who use those mats for blocking. Why not? (I have two sets of blocking mats, and they’re slightly different colors, so that explains the checkerboard effect in the photo below.)

Normally, and especially when I’m blocking sweaters, I check the measurements that I need the finished object to be and block the item to those measurements. This time, though, I wanted to see how big I could make this scarf, and since garter-stitch S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-S, I knew I could make it pretty big. So I pinned the two right corners and used Knitter’s Pride’s awesome Knit Blockers (link below) to pin the larger end of the scarf in place so I wouldn’t pull it out of shape. Then I stretched that sucker out!

Blocking Knitting: The Lori Shawl on the blocking board
The Lori Shawl on the blocking board. That white piece of paper is the directions for the knit blocker pins, although they’re pretty self-explanatory!

It’s now about 52 inches long and 36 inches tall at the tallest point, and I think that’s the perfect size. I can wrap it loosely around my neck or bunch it all up.

Kathleen Cubley modeling the Lori Knit Shawl

Lori Knit Shawl modeled by Kathleen CubleyThe bunching option is what I’m going for today, since it’s 10 degrees out! And the cashmere (Habu Textiles N-86 Pure Cashmere) will keep me nice and cozy.

So that’s the scoop on this FINISHED OBJECT. I love it so much, and all my worry was for naught. Thanks to those of you who reassured me that blocking would indeed fix my problems—you were right!

If you have any blocking knitting tips, or if you block your knits differently than I do, leave a comment and share your wisdom.

Have a wonderful day, and stay warm.



Links to Cool Stuff

Knit Picks Blocking Mats

Knitter’s Pride Knit Blockers

Madder: Anthology 2—Simple Pleasures by Carrie Bostick Hoge contains the Lori shawl pattern, plus gorgeous sweater and accessory knitting patterns.