The Not Martha’s Blocking Board
Now that I’m knitting sweaters in earnest, it became obvious that I needed something to block them on. A towel laid over the carpet works in a pinch, but I wanted something a little more substantial, and easier to use with pins. I’ve been eying the official blocking boards that are offered for sale, but the prices left me cold ($89!) That’s a lot of sock yarn. So I did a little investigating into homemade versions (the Ravelry forums are great for this) and cobbled together my own version which came in at just under $15.
First I started with two foam core boards, purchased from Michael’s. They’re about $5 each but I had a coupon so that helped lower my cost. Be sure to choose the 1/2″ thick boards which will hold the pins a little better. My boards are 20″x30″ which is a standard, easily available size.
Next, at Hobby Lobby, I purchased two yards of fabric to cover the boards. I planned on looking at ginghams but found this great black and white checked fabric; the squares are 1 inch which is handy. Any fabric with straight lines would work. The fabric I choose was slightly more expensive than plain gingham but I still paid less than $8 for it (and I probably could have gotten away with 1 1/2 yards)
And then at Staples I bought a packet of T-pins – 100 for under $3. If you do use pins from the office supply store rather than the fabric store, you will want to check that they don’t rust; so far I haven’t had any problem with my Staples pins.
After washing the fabric I cut pieces to fit each board with plenty of overlap. Then I simply used duct tape (which I already had on hand) and taped the lightly stretched fabric across the board. (Color coordinated cats not necessary and in fact, not really recommended) I didn’t add a layer of quilt batting between the board and the fabric, or a piece of plastic to protect the board from the wet knit pieces. So far, I don’t miss these extras – the pins work perfectly in the board alone and the knitting to be blocked is damp, not sopping wet and haven’t hurt the board.
It is certainly not the most scientific or fancy (or beautiful) blocking board, but it works as demonstrated by the back piece of my Central Park Hoodie. And if a piece of the blocking system needs to be replaced at some point, the cost will be minimal. The only thing I would have liked different is the size of the board – 20 inches across is just barely wide enough. Of course, it will be simple enough to pin or tape the two boards together if I do need a larger surface. As it is, these boards are super light and portable, fitting easily behind my craft table out of the way until needed again.
At this rate I’m going to turn into a real knitter yet!