Blocking lace

I just finished my fourth(!) Zen Rain Shawlette; this one was for the Knitalong (Rav link). Actually, number 3 isn’t quite off the needles yet; I’m in the middle of the very long bind off. But I thought I’d walk you through blocking on blocking wires, if you haven’t done it before. Blocking is magic for lace! (Don’t weave in your yarn ends until after blocking. There’s going to be a lot of stretching going on.)

First, I soak the knitted garment in the kitchen sink with a little bit of Soak, my favorite non-rinse wool wash. Use warm water and allow the garment to soak for at least 20 minutes.


The garment is really saturated and stretchy at this point! Squeeze out as much water as you can with your hands. Do not twist or wring. Next, lay it on a folded towel, fold the towel over that, and walk all over it. Really. This will get most of the water out.


The next step is to thread the edges onto the blocking wires. I put the wires along the garter edges, going over and under the garter ridges. If you’re pinning out points, you run the wires through the points. This particular shawlette has a row of eyelets along the bottom, above the ruffle. A perfect place to thread blocking wires.


If you have an especially long edge, you would use two wires to cover the length, but overlap the wires by an inch or so at the place where they meet. Now the fun begins. Stretch out the garment so that the lovely laciness shines! Use the metal t-pins that came with the blocking wires to hold the wires in place. You’ll need to be working on a surface that can take your pins. I’m lucky to have a futon sofabed in the basement, so that’s where I block. There are also blocking mats that you can purchase specifically for this purpose, and I’ve seen knitters use foam interlocking alphabet blocks (a useful child’s toy!), too. I’ve also used a towel over my cardboard cutting board that I use for sewing, but cardboard eventually gets tatty after being pinned a bazillion times. (Please excuse the lighting in my basement. It’s a basement! I played with the colors post-processing, but this is the best I could get it to look.)


Let the garment dry completely, and then un-pin. The result? Instead of a crumpled wad of knitting, you have a diaphanous piece of gossamer loveliness.

pink zen

This Rambouillet single bloomed a bit, and softened wonderfully after washing and blocking. I had two grams of yarn left when I was done. I knew it would be close! I’m a big fan of using my kitchen scale to keep track of how much yarn a row takes as I get close to the end of a project. I could have ended a row sooner if I needed to, but not a row later!

2 oz

Now to finish binding off Zen Rain #3, and then I get to block again! After that? Here’s my new project…I’ll tell you about it next time.


6 responses to “Blocking lace

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve never understood how to use those long blocking wires. I’d love to see how you do points with them!

    It’s a beautiful shawl! I’ll be starting mine in the next few days.

  2. Beautiful! Motivation to keep knitting to have the fun of blocking

  3. Gorgeous shawl! I like your idea about walking on the towel over the shawl after washing -will try this with my next shawl!:-)

  4. Oh your shawl is beautiful! I love SOAK too 🙂 Thank for the “Do not twist or wring” advice. I do that for my socks sometimes, but I see a delicate project like that- my rough hands might ruin it!

  5. How many yards is 2 grams? I might need your leftovers for my multnomah 🙂

  6. seriously, pictures of blocking never get old.It’s part of the addition isn’t it?