Wednesday 12 April 2017

Blocking Mats #1

I knit a lot of lace, which means I also have to block a lot of lace.

I have a million pins and blocking wires, and half a dozen of these plastic mats.

If you are in London and would like them, you can totally have them if I have not yet disposed of them. 

I thought about what I liked about those mats:

  • The holes allow for faster drying. 
  • As the holes form a grid, they help me align what I am blocking. 
But what I did not like about them was: 
  • The holes get in the way of accurately blocking my large lace pieces. 
  • They cannot be rolled up and stored in a corner. 
  • I cannot steam or iron a piece after I pin it out. 
I have seen quite a few how-tos to make your own blocking mats, but most of them have it backed by a piece of wood or foam board. That would prevent me from storing it easily, and I was concerned about the wood getting mouldy over time. 

My inspiration actually comes from cloth diapers for babies. They need to be absorbent and prevent liquids from leaking through the material, just like for my blocking mats. They are also easy to clean, can be washed, bleached, whatever. 

Materials List: 

Bottom layer: PUL, just like for diapers. I was originally going to just buy whatever was cheapest, but I went with white in the end because they might be handy for taking pictures. 

Middle layer: Microfleece. This is the absorbent layer. You can also use old towels, and probably even an old duvet. I have two colors only because I was buying remnants. Nobody will see them, and it is easy enough to piece them together. 

Top layer: 1/4 inch checked cotton. The main thing is that it should have regular lines/squares, and be safe to iron. You might also consider getting fabric that is very contrasting with the colors you usually knit, as that would make it easier to see. 

In addition to the list above, you will need basic sewing supplies like needles, thread, fabric pens or chalk, and a ruler. You can quite easily make this by hand, but having a sewing machine would be much much faster.

I'll be back later this week with my first prototype. I'm making one that will be just the right size for swatches. 

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