Friday, January 9, 2015

Blocking With Wires

I did a post some time ago about how to block a knitted item. It wasn't totally serious, but then I try never to be too serious here.

I was asked if I could show pictures of how I block using blocking wires. This is definitely not the definitive guide to the process. The pictures were taken at 10 PM on Christmas Eve, so the scarf could end up under the tree the next day. The quality of the light wasn't great, but I think you can get the idea.

As before, I start by placing the scarf in a sink of hot water, with a drop of hair conditioner added. You will have to use your imagination.

While the water is cooling, gather the supplies.

I have a "blocking mat" (actually, an interlocking foam playmat from Home Depot), blocking wires and T-pins (a kit I bought at Knit Picks), a pen and a paper bag.  Most sources recommend a tape measure and if I were doing a sweater, I would use one, but since this is a scarf, a piece of paper is all that is required.

After the scarf has soaked and the water has been squeezed out of it, spread it out on the blocking mat.

As you can see, the edges of the scarf are rolled and quite wavy.

Take one of the wires and start feeding it through the edge of the scarf.
Stretch out all the edges of the scarf in this way, adding wires as needed.
When you are finished, the edges will be straighter, but now they need to be made square and parallel. This is where the bag comes in. Stretch out the two sides of the scarf as wide as you can get them, in one spot. Place pins into the mat to hold it in place, then mark the width of the scarf on the bag.
Using the gauge you have created, pin the sides of the scarf to the mat, making the scarf the same width for the entire length.
You can see how this really opens out the lace.
Next, square up the corners.
When you are finished, your piece will look like this.
This looks much better than when I began.

After the piece is fully dry, remove the pins and the wires, and enjoy your scarf.

In case you were wondering, LCBO is the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, where we go in Ontario to buy wine and spirits. It is also the best source of heavy brown paper, since the other stores all use plastic bags, these days.


  1. lovely way you describe the process. and what a difference it makes, your scarf is beautiful, delicate, prefect shade for the pattern, and already worn ,

  2. That's a beautiful scarf! Blocking definitely opens up the pattern, doesn't it.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Kate. I had never heard of these wires before, but what a perfect job they do, especially on the lace. Your knitting is beautiful, I can't imagine how you got that lacy scarf finished in such a short time. the recipient must have been thrilled!

  4. And it's so much fun to empty the necessary bags! Lovely work, and the magic of blocking never gets old.

  5. Good explanation. I am going to have to get some of those wires and a matt, what the heck the pins as well.

    Thanks for linking up with Needlework Tuesday.