First wire
Published On: July 5, 2022

So, to block a cowl, I start by threading my blocking wire through the bottom of the cowl. I pick a landmark in the stitch pattern and bring my wire through that spot, all the way around the cowl.

I’m bringing the wire through the same point in each pattern repeat. I picked a point that would emphasize that lovely rippled edge.  On this pattern, I mark on the chart where I recommend you do that. But if you’re using this on a pattern that doesn’t do that, just find a point you can identify (like ‘just to the side of the column of twisted stitches’ or ‘through the yarn over’ or ‘the purl column’ or whatever works for your pattern) and always go through the same one.

Work your way around the cowl, always bringing your wire through your fabric in the same direction (always front to back or always back to front). It doesn’t matter which way you go, you just want it to be the same way each time so the fabric is as uniform as possible.

Depending on how long your wires are and how big your cowl is, you may need more than one wire.

At the spot where your ends finish up, and at any spot where you need a new wire, overlap the ends a bit (so you’ll have some holes where the wire runs through them twice). That holds things in place and makes sure that you have a nice round shape.

You can change the size of your fabric by making your wire circle bigger or smaller, and you should experiment to see what amount of tension you like on your fabric. If your fabric is pushing back and trying to shrink your circle, throw a binder clip where the wires overlap to keep the wire at the size you like.

When you’re done, the fabric at the bottom of the cowl will be held open under tension and your stitch pattern should be all opened up and lovely.

Next up, we’ll do the same thing up top.

P.S. This cowl is called Evolve, and it’s currently available in Jen Arnall-Culliford’s lovely book, Confident Knitting. Later this year the rights come back to me, at which point I’ll release it individually. As part of the prep for that, I got another sample knit, and I’m using it to show you how I block things like this. Don’t worry, I’ll come back and tell you when the pattern is available individually.  Chances are good that will be September, but these last few years have left me wary of promising any specific dates.


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