Spray blocking on a blocking board
After years of blocking my knitting and crocheting on kitchen counters, floors, and dryer tops, I finally broke down one day and bought an Official Blocking Board. All that time, I'd been telling myself that I didn't need anything fancier—that is, until I started dealing with a serious lace habit. One day, I tried blocking my newest shawl on a makeshift foam board that I thought was waterproof … but guess what. It wasn't. The board warped as the shawl dried, and the shawl warped along with it. I ended up having to re-block the shawl all over again. (Not fun, especially when I was anxious to wear it and show it off!)
A blocking board definitely makes the task of blocking a lace shawl easier, but you don't need an Official Blocking Board to do the job well. Knitters have been using mattresses, towel-padded floors, and other ingenious solutions throughout history.
Whatever creative solution you come up with for use as a blocking surface, be sure to keep these guidelines in mind:
Use the right surface for the task. A kitchen counter-top or a table padded with towels works fine for pieces that can be simply patted into shape. For items that need to be pinned out, such as lace shawls, you can try waterproof foam-core boards, an ironing board (for small pieces), or cork bulletin boards (covered with towels). Someone once suggested those interlocking rubber floor mats used for children's play areas—I thought that was rather clever.
it out of range of cats, kids, dogs, and well-meaning housemates.
The comments on a previous post here contain dozens of clever ideas for blocking surfaces from your fellow readers, so check them out! And be sure to leave your own tips in today's comments, because no doubt some of you have even more great ideas from your own experiences.
Sandi's Pick: Stocking Stuffer Idea
Does your family fill your stocking with toothbrushes and little bars of herbal soap at Christmas? Those are nice and all, but wouldn't you really rather have something knitterly? There are, after all, plenty of little things that fit in your stocking that aren't just your average stitch markers…And your family may think (silly them!) that you already have all the stitch markers and wee pairs of scissors you could ever need. (They're wrong, of course, but that can be a tough sell.) So maybe they need a little hint?
How about The Harmony Guides 101 Stitches to Knit Card Deck? The cards–each with a different stitch pattern–are a nice readable (yet portable) size (5.25" by 6.5"); they're quite sturdy, with rounded corners to help prevent damaging the edges. The front of the card has a color photo of the stitch, and the back has the full step-by-step instructions for the stitch. The stitches are favorites from The Harmony Guide series: some are from the Lace & Eyelets book, some are from the Cables & Arans book, and some are from the Knit & Purl book, so you get a little of everything! The set comes with an 8-page insert that tells how to use the cards.
And lest you think we've forgotten the crocheters: Check out The Harmony Guides 101 Stitches to Crochet Card Deck, with stitches from both The Harmony Guide: Basic Crochet Stitches and The Harmony Guide: Crochet Stitch Motifs.
Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily.
What's on Sandi's needles this week? I took my Leaf and Nupp Shawl to Alabama with me–it's amazing how fast lace knitting goes on a cross-country plane trip when there's no one to pester you! How far did I get? Check back later this week for photos!