Blocking without wires

Sarah and I have been blocking our versions of the Moss Fern Wrap by Kimberly McAlindin (Interweave Crochet Fall 2009). Sarah used blocking wires to block her shawl. If you have these wires, you already know how to use them.

If you don't have blocking wires, you've come to the right place.

I also don't have blocking wires. But I did have a rumply lace shawl that needed blocking.

I found my solution at the Yarn Harlot aka Stephanie Pearl McPhee. Stephanie developed a method of blocking without wires that involves using string. I added two boys and an exercise mat to the mix and here's how it shakes out: 

Start by weaving a string through the edges of the shawl. This is a great shawl for this method, because all of its sides are straight; you don't have to do any fancy point-pinning (though you can do that too with this method). Leave a good amount of string at the ends — the shawl will grow when it's wet.

Then you proceed with the wet part of the blocking:

1. Soak for about 20 minutes (I used lukewarm water and a bit of Eucalan, a no-rinse soap) 2. Gather up the shawl and place it on a towel
3. Ask a boy to step on it to squeeze out the water

(Do not ask the dog to help. Clearly, she's not in the mood.)

Place the shawl on the mat and spread it out. And here is where the boys come in: Place a boy at each end of the string and ask him to hold it. When each has a firm grasp, ask them to gently pull it. The edge will straighten out and you can place T-pins along the string to hold it in place while it dries. (Theoretically, you can do this by yourself by winding each end of the string around a T-pin. In reality, the pin pops out of the mat under the stress. It works for the Yarn Harlot because she blocks on a bed, which you can stick pins into really far. If you're using a foam mat, much better to use boys if you've got 'm on hand.)

Pin along the top edge, then have the boys tug the string on a side edge as you pin along it. See how the lace opens up?

When your whole shawl is pinned, let it dry. All the way. Don't get impatient and try to unpin it when it's still damp or all your lovely blocking will be lost.


I made my shawl full size, so it can be worn wrapped in the front with the triangle points tied in the back.

To see the full details on the Yarn Harlot's method, go here.

To post pictures of your own version of the Moss Fern Shawl, go here.

Happy crocheting!


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