Recently, I was invited by astridl on Ravelry to review a set of blocking wires from her company, Lazadas. Since, like many crocheters, I have a love/hate relationship with blocking, I thought I’d share the review as part of my celebration of (Inter)National Crochet Month.
When the package arrived, I discovered that Lazadas Knitting Accessories is based in Israel. Not to worry, as their products ship worldwide with a flat $5 fee.
The sets come in small packages with snap closures and handles.
The set package has a gusset so it can stand on its own.
I tried out the Mix Set, which includes four 35″ (90 cm) blocking wires, three 70″ (180 cm) blocking wires, and 30 nickel plated T-pins.
There are three other sets available. The Short Set includes ten 35″ (90 cm) blocking wires, and is recommended for shawlettes, sleeves, sweaters, and cardigans. The Long Set includes five 70″ (180 cm) blocking wires, and is recommended for stoles, big shawls, and baby blankets. Both sets include 30 nickel plated T-pins, and, like the Mix Set, are priced at $28.90. The Deluxe Set includes ten 35″ (90 cm) blocking wires, five 70″ (180 cm) blocking wires, and 60 nickel plated T-pins and is priced at $56.
The wires are coiled and the package (wisely) advises you to carefully open them.
So… back to my love/hate relationship with blocking. I only started blocking my crochet a few years ago when I started designing. As I’ve mentioned before, I prefer spray blocking. I don’t like my projects to get that “overblocked” look, so I generally avoid wet blocking and “killing” the fabric with steam. (If you’d like to try either of those methods, Tamara Kelly shares tutorials on wet blocking and steam blocking on the Moogly blog.)
To test out the wires, I chose this version of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl pattern (available for free here in English and here in Italian). This shawl is crocheted with SHOKAY Orient in Cerulean. As you can tell from the pre-blocking picture above, it is a bit “squishy” looking and the pineapples aren’t very opened up.
Thankfully, simple instructions are included in the set as I’d never used blocking wires before.
In the past, I’ve applied seemingly endless amounts of pins across the edges of my projects. For this shawl, I used one 70″ (180 cm) wire for each side. (If you look closely at the bottom of the picture above, you can see the excess of the wires sticking out.) With the wires, I could pin to shape just a few times and let the wires do their work. I was also able to bend the wires on the bottom edges and pin them to allow the pineapples on the edges to fan out.
Here’s the shawl after blocking. You can see that the edges are more defined, and it is less “squishy.”
The pineapples are completely opened up and they look great.
I have since used these wires to block several other projects, including two baby blankets, which I can’t share on the blog yet. In each case, I found the process significantly easier than pin blocking alone, and the results were much neater looking.
I would highly recommend Lazadas Blocking Wires. The package is small enough to be portable – with the gusset folded flat, it can easily flat. At the same time, it stands up so you can find it on your shelf. The wires are very flexible and easy to uncoil and recoil (carefully, that is). The T-pins can easily be positioned so that they hold the wires in place. The instructions are straightforward and effective.
As for sizes, thus far, I have used the 70″ (180 cm) wires for everything except for squares/motifs. I like having extra room on the edges, so the 35″ (90 cm) wires feel too short for most of my projects. I have used the 35″ (90 cm) wires to block several squares at once.
I should also note that with one particularly fiddly blanket that I blocked, I needed more than the 30 pins in the set, so I used the quilting pins that I relied on previously to pin the rest of it.
If I were buying a set, I’d probably purchase the Long Set or the Deluxe Set, but if you mostly make smaller projects, the Short or Mix sets could work. Thanks to the Lazadas Blocking Wires, I am now leaning much more closely towards a love/love relationship with blocking!
Edited to add: You can also find Lazadas on Etsy. The Etsy shop includes the blocking wire sets and other knitting accessories such as stitch markers, sock blockers, and needles. (There are even a few crochet hooks.)