But first, a brief digression…
Published On: June 30, 2022

I thought we were going to dive in to blocking the cowl. But enough people ask what stuff you need for blocking that I wanted to talk about that first.

The answer, as with so many things, is it depends.

Remember, blocking is OFTEN just wash it, smooth it out, let it dry. For that, you need somewhere to wash your knit (I use my bathroom sink) & somewhere to lay it out (I use a towel on the counter or floor).

If you want to go slightly more involved, you can wash it, smooth it over something that matches the shape of the knit, let it dry. That’s perfect for hats & mitts. You’d just need something the right shape (bowls work great for hats, bottles work great for mitts).

If you want to do the fancy version, which again is only necessary for things like lace where you want to open up your stitch pattern, you need…whatever it takes to hold your fabric under tension in a specific shape while it dries.

That means something you can put through your material to grab specific spots on the fabric (pins, wires, some people use thread) & something to hold it in place (blocking mats, mattress, thick carpet, couch cushion, cork board, a stretching frame if you’re fancy & use thread).

If you hardly ever knit lace, don’t invest a lot of money or space in this. Get some pins (I like nice sturdy t-pins because they are strong & don’t rust), & pin stuff out on a bed or thick carpet.

If you knit lace all the time, invest in some blocking mats. The ones for gym/playroom floors are cheaper than the knitting specific ones. If you like having tools & do this often, get blocking wires. They make it much easier & faster. Maybe have a ruler handy to keep things straight & even.

There’s no way to make blocking huge things not take space. The whole idea is that you’re laying it out flat while it dries. But you can speed it up by making sure the fabric damp, not soaking (wrap it in a towel & step on it) or by blowing a fan on it while it dries. And if you have blocking mats, you can lean them up against the wall if you’re careful.

For this project, I’m going to use blocking wires, because they’re awesome for a cowl. But I’ll talk about other options at the end.

P.S. I’m trying to put all this stuff on both instagram and the blog, but instagram has character limits on captions, so I have to be…more brief than is my natural tendency. There’s a blog post from a few years ago here with even more on what tools I use if you’re so inclined.

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