Blocking: Gear

A lot of people love shopping.  To them, there’s nothing more exciting than starting a new project and collecting all the gear they’ll need.  They enjoy dropping a couple hundred bucks on top-of-of-the line tools and professional-grade materials.

I am not one of those people.

It’s probably because I was raised in the Midwest, that most pragmatic portion of the country.

I like to get the bare minimum, and, if I can use stuff I already have around the house, all the better.  (After all, the money I save can go to buying more yarn!)

Sure, you can go buy fancy blocking wires, specialty blocking pins and expensive, nice-smelling blocking detergents.  I’m sure they’re all nice to have, but when you’re just beginning to block your knitting, do you really need these things?  No.  (And, frankly, even now, I use these materials for 90% of my projects.)

Here’s what you really need:

(And, FYI, these are all materials for wet-blocking projects.  It’s what I do for almost all my projects, and so far it’s served me well.)

1. Something to put water in.  Do you have a sink, a bowl, a bathtub?  Is it clean?  That’s all you need.  If it can hold warm water, and isn’t gross, you’re good to go.stainless-steel-bowls[1]2.  Pins.  I just use regular sewing pins.  They’re dead cheap, and you probably already have a little box of them squirreled away.  If you don’t, you can get a pack of a couple hundred for a few bucks at your local fabric store.  Some people will tell you that sewing pins will rust and discolor your knitting.  But, I haven’t seen that happen; the amount of time a pin is in contact with moisture is too short for rust to develop.  Of course, I wouldn’t use a rusty pin to block my knitting, but that’s just common sense.sewing-pins-new[1]3.  Something squishy to stick pins in.  For years, I actually used a clean towel, spread out over the Berber carpet in our attic.  The carpet held pins in place nicely, and was free.  But, our new house is unfortunately all wood and tile.  I know some folks block on a spare bed, or the back of a couch, but that’s a pain.  Instead, I went to the kids’ section of Target and got a $20 pack of foam tiles (the kind you’re supposed to put out on the floor so kids don’t crack their head when they fall).  They lock together into whatever shape you need, and work great.  You can get foam tiles that are specifically made for blocking, but they cost a bunch more.

81xrtGJjGNL._SL1500_[1]4. Your knitting.  Obviously.  FYI, wet blocking works best with animal fibers (wool, alpaca, etc.).  I have blocked some cotton things, which works a little, but blocking plant and man-made fibers never has the same amazing results.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow that we’ve gathered the things you need from around your house (or maybe a quick trip to the store), next week we’ll start with blocking something simple!

2 thoughts on “Blocking: Gear

  1. lissymail

    I completely agree on the DIY/hacks and just getting by with what you have. I “borrowed” some of my 10 yr olds old toy bins for wool washing. He never missed them and they have been great for getting wool clean without the risk of felting 🙂


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