knitting patterns, techniques

Blocking an Asymmetrical Shawl

So! I’ve got a few asymmetrical shawl designs in the works, and something that several of my testers have asked is how to block these shawls. I haven’t seen any step-by-step how-to’s out there, so I decided I’d make my own. Please bear in mind that this is what works for me – your mileage may vary! But, hopefully my process will give other knitters an idea of how to get a nicely shaped finished object.

Step 1: Soak your item! I didn’t take a photo of this step, because, well, how exciting is a lumpy knitted thingy sitting in a sink of water? But, I usually soak my to-be-blocked items for about 30 minutes. But, here’s a nifty trick I picked up somewhere – after washing your item (with a cleanser that’s appropriate for the fibre), I’ll add a little dollop of hair conditioner to the soaking water. This works especially well for wool that’s not particularly soft, and it makes everything smell nice, too!

Step 2: After I’ve squished some (but not all) of the water out of my item (don’t wring it, whatever you do!), I place it on my blocking mat. Then, I weave wires into the straight edges. This shawl has a picot edging along the cast-on edge, so I’ve woven the wire about three rows in from the cast-on so that the picots are nice and loose. It’s possible to weave the wire through the picots, but that will give the picots a triangular shape, which I don’t really like (YMMV, of course).

The wires are partially in…..


Step 3: I secure the ends of the wires at the tip of the V (the base of the shawl).


Step 4: Then, I stretch out the straight edges and pin them into place.




Step 5: Next, I weave a curved wire through the center portion of the curved edge.


Step 6: Then, I pull the curved wire away from the v to open up the body of the shawl.


Step 7: Then, wires go into the ends of the curved edge, and the curve is pinned into place.


Step 8: The last step? Adjust the angle of the v. I often repin the straight edges at this point, as they sometimes get a little bunched up due to all the pulling and pinning of the curved edge.


That’s it! The shawl’s currently drying, so I can’t post a finished photo just yet, but I will once it’s off the wires and mat!