Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I've been knitting most of my life, but I've never been much of a blocker... until now. I recently made this Fishtail Scarf". It was really lumpy bumpy and the holes looked pretty messy.
I did some reading on blocking, and for this project, I learned that I need to pin the piece in shape on a blocking board. I went to some yarn shops and saw very nice systems with very high price tags. I'm happy to spend money at yarn shops, but I want to spend it on YARN! So here's my brainstorm...
I got these interlocking spongy rubber mats that are used in garages. I know people who put them around their long arm quilting machines to ease foot and back pain standing for long periods.
They interlock, like puzzle pieces. I can change the configuration to make a long mat for a scarf, or a large square for a sweater.
I put a few towels over them. I'll probably get some of that flannel fabric with a 1-inch grid to put over it for projects that need to be blocked to a particular measurement. But for the scarf, the measurements weren't critical.
I soaked my scarf in SOAK. I have also used a product called EUCLIN. This was the first time I tried Soak. (Just follow the directions on the bottle).
Then I gently squeezed the water from the scarf (emphasis on GENTLE and SQUEEZE (not wring)). Then I put the scarf on a clean towel and rolled it- and gently squeezed the towel roll. This gets most of the water out of the scarf.
Then I took lots of pins and stretched it and patted it all down where I wanted it. It's important to put lots of pins in so you don't get funny places where the pin pulls it. You need enough pins to make it smooth. The pins go right through the towel and into the squishy floor mats.
Here's my scarf- all pinned on my new "blocking boards". It's important to just leave the item alone until it's dry. I visited it in the laundry room a lot-- giving it nice little "pats".
And the finished product! The Soak made the scarf soft and it smells really nice. It almost looks like it was ironed, but it's not smushed down like it would have been if I ironed it. (Not to mention the fact that ironing it would have felted the wool).
And the best part? The garage floor mats cost $12.95 and the blocking boards in the yarn shop were about $50. That leaves more money for yarn- yea!