Long ago before the internets, when knitting was something you learned through books and actual person-to-person learning (back in the 1980s), I took a sweater design class from Leslye Solomon at a lovely sewing store called G Street Fabrics near Washington, DC, which is where I also learned how to sew a fully lined and tailored blazer. At that class, I bought myself her video on sweater finishing (VHS, but still a good video), and some blocking wires.
I still have some of those wires – the straight nonflexible ones are pretty cool – about 36 inches long. Somewhere in my many moves, I lost the smaller flexible ones, which was a bummer. But the wires I have are still in great shape after all this time, and I use them all the time – they are smooth, well-finished, non-rusting. They are, however, a bummer to store and move. The only box I could put them in when I’ve moved is in the wardrobe boxes for hanging clothes. and at my place they are stored in a corner of a closet with newsprint surrounding them so they don’t wander off.
Inspinknity Premium Blocking Wires
Recently, I heard on The Knit Wits podcast about a new set of blocking wires – they’re called Inspinknity Premium Blocking Wires. And they are the perfect addition to my blocking tools. They have two great qualities for my blocking needs:
- They have memory – so that you can use them to block a curved edge, but they will return to straight once they are released from pinning – See this example of a wire in its straight natural shape, and another pinned to a curve.
- They will be easy store in the large zip-loc bag that they come in on a shelf.
You get a number of different lengths of wires for different uses – the smallest ones are great for the small curved edges of a sleeve, neckline or armhole, the medium and long ones work for the sides of a cardigan. The package I bought would require you to combine wires to block a large shawl, but there is another set you can buy with extra-long wires for such projects. As of this writing, the wires are only available through the Etsy store.
A couple of things to know about these wires. They are smaller in gauge than my stiffer wires, and so they are very pointy. They come with plastic guards, but you’ll probably want to take those off to put the wires into the knitting -but I recommend you put them right back on after you put the knitting through – you could easily poke something and break skin without them. I wouldn’t want to store them without the guards, and those little things will be easy to go missing. I wish there’d been a small packet of extras in a tiny zip-loc included in the package, because I know I will eventually lose some. Because the wires are thinner, you will need to use several T-pins even for straight line items if you want to stretch block the item — not a big deal, but you will probably want to have more than is included in this set – a minor thing, but something that is good to know.
These have made a great addition to my blocking tools – I will be trying them out on a lace shawl soon, and will be able to report on that, but already, I am pleased with this purchase!