What can I reuse or recycle to make knitting/crochet blocking pads?

If you follow my simple living blog The Really Good Life, you’ll know that I’ve been crocheting recently. I can’t stand to touch yarn in the warmer months but now it’s cold outside, the hook is pretty much glued to my hand.

I’m currently crocheting a tank top thing to wear as a woolly layer over long-sleeved t-shirts and it’s going to need blocking. For non-crafters, blocking is a finishing technique used for handmade items using natural fibres, which involves gently stretching the dampened garment into its correct shape and pinning it in place to let it dry. It’s not essential but it can improve the hang/drape of the finished item and needs to be done, to a slightly lesser extent, whenever the item is washed (which is why some items have “reshape while wet” on the label).

Purpose-bought blocking mats can be bought – usually rubber or foam mats that allow the item to dry without developing damp mould, are flexible to use (often interlinking so you can use a small piece or a large sheet, depending on your need) and easy to store. Crafters tend to plough all their hard-earned money into precious yarn though so are good at making their own or finding cheaper alternatives: I’ve heard of people using swim floats, garden-kneelers or the like from the £/$ store, of others using clean carpet tiles and others still using cardboard in a pillowcase or under a light towel.

They’re all good ideas but I wondered if the Recycle This community, which I know contains a lot of crafty people, had any other ideas.

What do you use for blocking? Have you made or repurposed anything for the task? Any ideas or advice will be gratefully received!

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8 Responses to “What can I reuse or recycle to make knitting/crochet blocking pads?”

  1. Su says:

    I just use a pile of bath towels.

  2. Anna says:

    I got an old cork pinboard off Freecycle. It lives under our bed when I’m not using it, and when it has stuff pinned to it it’s easy to move about and stand up against the wall.

  3. I’m not a yarn user at all but I read blogs where they are and they use the carpet. Whether this is viable in a house with animals I don’t know :) Also it would have to be an area where you aren’t going to walk much!

  4. Dorian says:

    I use the spare room bed.

  5. Karmae says:

    I use an old Ikea desk top that is covered with old flannel sheets. I ditch the sheets and put it on top of an old blow up mattress and this sits on the bed as my cutting table for sewing. When I was younger and more flexible I used to most of this stuff on the floor. By the way, I believe that acrylic and other fibres also benefit from blocking.
    If I need to “mangle” something (usually lace) I just use a wooden rolling pin.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I use a big cardboard sewing board that I got at an estate sale for 5$. It works well for light things. If you want something bigger, I keep seeing the packs of foam “blocks” for kids rooms. When one of the characters goes out of style, they cut them drastically.

  7. suz says:

    I use the broad end of my ironing board.

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