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Tips Tuesday: How to Block a Shawl February 18, 2014

If there’s a windy windy rain storm going on outside,
the best thing to do is get cozy,
then get busy…

Today in Portland, after bundling up in some comforting wool, I got to it.

I’ve been finished knitting my 4th ALBY shawl for quite awhile but have been putting off blocking it because, ew, blocking.

The first three Alby’s that I made were blocked upstairs in the attic – on the carpeted floor. This was the biggest area I could find that wouldn’t be disturbed while the shawls dried to measure.

Several times during the mulitple blocks, I felt time stand still – had to keep pinning and re-pinning, all while crawling around on the floor. Torturous.

{hint: don’t wear skinny jeans while doing this – heh!}

It seemed to just go on and on and on, like my own Personal Ground Hog Day, Shawl Style.

Never again, I vowed.

Tips for Shawl Blocking on the Chic Knits Knitting Blog

This time around, while I was soaking the shawl, I did a little more surveying around the house looking for someplace I wouldn’t exhaust both my back and my patience.


Tips for Shawl Blocking on the Chic Knits Knitting Blog

The dining room table.

Evolution: the very first surface I used to block on was a big cardboard box that I’d flattened. I thought it would be good to pin into and protect the carpeting. By the time I got to Shawl #3, I’d quit fooling around and was now the owner of a rubber play mat made of interlocking pieces that you could build-to-size for any blocking project.

Why not combine the two to protect the table AND be able to walk around the entire thing while shaping and pinning…

Handy-Dandy Shawl Blocking Tips:
clockwise from l. to r. Upper Picture

  • Soak the shawl in some warm, slightly soapy water for about 1/2 hour, then rinse.
  • Place out on a towel in general final shape then roll in towel to remove excess water. I find this “pre-shaping” trains the fiber to want to go into the blocked shape more easily.
  • Remove from towel and place on blocking surface in final shape, anchoring with a few T-pins to match pattern schematic dimensions. Thread blocking wires through outside edge then start pinning out points.
  • Adjust as necessary so all points are as equal in size as possible and no stress or mis-shaping is appearing on other areas of shawl.
  • Let air dry.

But wait, I forgot something – here’s the real secret to my success…

Can’t wait for this to be ready to wear – it is made from some very lovely comfy yarn – Bare Naked Wools Breakfast Blend Fingering (in Oatmeal) and Araucania Ranco (in Navy). perfect to Mind the Gap I’m feeling inside here today. :)

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