Monday, December 8, 2014

Back to Blocking: 5 Favorite Tools

A few weeks ago, I shared a post about blocking handmade gifts; I thought I'd revisit the topic by sharing a few of my favorite time-saving tools to block finished projects with stellar results every time! This is by no means an exhaustive list of every useful item to have on hand - rather, it's a collection of my favorite blocking tools at the moment.
  1. Sock Blockers: Every now and again, I'm asked if it's necessary to invest in a pair of sock blockers. While they aren't exactly essential, it's undeniable that they make finished socks look extra-amazing (more about that here). Not only do I use sock blockers on all of my hand knit socks for gifting, I also use them on my own every time I wash them! 
  2. Blocking Mats: It was years (as in, at least 10) before I got a set of blocking mats. I always figured that using towels and/or clean cardboard was every bit as good as a blocking mat, and couldn't justify the expense. Then, as I started to do more and more loads of laundry, many of which just consisted of towels, I realized that blocking mats were a way to reduce the amount of towels needed for the blocking process. AHA! Now I'm totally in love with my blocking mats and use them constantly! 
  3. Plastic Bags: You read that right! Plastic shopping bags are really great for blocking shapely items. Not too long ago, I knit a pair of baby booties and a matching hat and used some plastic bags to stuff them and hold their shape while they were blocking, and it worked beautifully. Best of all, this tool is essentially free, since most places still insist on giving out plastic bags. While I'm a fan of reusable bags when I do my shopping, I do try to keep a stash of plastic bags on hand for blocking purposes. 
  4. Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers: Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I am completely obsessed with this relatively new product from Knitter's Pride. I cannot even impart how amazing they are, but I'll try: picture pinning out a long scarf with T pins. It takes a while, doesn't it? Maybe your back starts to hurt a but from leaning over so much - I know mine does, especially when it takes over 20 minutes to pin out one project. Ok, now picture pinning out that same scarf in 5 minutes. Seriously, that is how long it will take with the Knit Blockers, I've timed myself!
  5. Wool Wash: I am totally on board with a using wool wash for my handmade projects. I find that they are worth the investment for a variety of reasons: first, most of them are no-rinse, which means that they save water AND you don't have to worry about accidentally felting your project while you rinse out the excess suds. Second, they are quite versatile - I've used them to remove stains on my clothes, wash undergarments, and even spot-clean my carpet. Third, they smell nice, and I like using a dedicated product to put the perfect finishing touch on my finished project. My new favorite wool wash is Allure, which I wrote about in greater detail on this blog post. 
What are your must-have blocking tools? 

4 comments:

  1. I don't find sock blockers to be particularly helpful for me, especially since I wash like 10 pairs at once, so I just lay them out to dry on a rack. However, I really need to try out some of those knitter's pride pins, they look helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I knit a lot of slouch- and beret-style hats, and I find that nothing beats a 10" dinner plate for stretching out lace crowns and getting a perfectly circular hat. I just slip the we hat over the plate and cinch the brim tight so that it doesn't stretch out.

    Examples here:
    http://images4-b.ravelrycache.com/uploads/whatisaplunk/253380381/Green_medium.jpg

    http://images4-d.ravelrycache.com/uploads/whatisaplunk/268273456/IMG_20141201_224537_medium2.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm wondering how you cinch the brim tight - wouldn't that stretch it out more - just a novice and I have a lace beret that I was wondering if it should be blocked - I looked at your photos but it only shows the top of the hat

      Delete
    2. Yes, I'd definitely block a lace beret hat over a plate as Plunk! recommends. The brim should be just fine provided a stretchy cast-on was used and there is plenty of ribbing to keep its shape! Here is a tutorial for blocking a beret over a plate to get you started: http://blog.yarn.com/tuesdays-tip-blocking-over-a-plate/

      Delete