I’ll admit, I don’t usually make crochet blankets. My last big blanket project, with its billions of loose ends, sorta turned me off to the whole idea of a mess of granny squares. So, I’ve tended to stick to cute little things, like owls and fish scrubbies and things. BUT love can make you change. One of my best friends is having twins; I wanted to make blankets for both of her children, and hope that they become something the kids will carry with them for a long time.
I thought about what sort of blanket I wanted to make, and decided to play on the same theme as my pinwheel granny square by building it like a patchwork quilt. This meant I was going to be making a lot of small squares. Once I started making a few, it became obvious I was going to have to block them. Ugh. Full confession: I have never blocked any of my work. And there it is.
Both Sarah and Dedri have awesome blocking stations that I used for inspiration, but I decided to make mine my way. I’m always a fan of flexibility and multi-functionality, so I really wanted a blocking station that I can reuse over and over again, for a wide variety of sizes and shapes. I mean, now that I’m going to be blocking my first project, why not just suck it up and make it easier on myself for the next time, right?
This blocking station is made from a piece of round wood, which I found at Home Depot. It’s probably used to make lazy-susans or cheese boards or something, but I just wanted a finished piece of wood that was bigger than 12 inches on each side.
Grab some dowels from Michaels (you can buy a pack of precut ones or get a few long dowels and cut it down to size), a drill and some acrylic sealer, and you’ve got yourself a modular crochet blocking station!
15″ diameter round wooden board
3/16″ diameter dowels
power drill + 3/16″ bit
various grit sandpaper
1. Use a 12″ piece of cardstock as a template for the holes. Use the cardstock to mark the corners of the 12″ square. Then using a ruler, make marks every 2 inches in a grid.
2. Use an awl (or a sharp knife) to create a divot at each hole marking, so the tip of the 3/16″ drill bit doesn’t squirm when you start drilling.
3. Drill at each hole marking, going about halfway through the board. (The wood may splinter a little because of the size of the bit. Drilling a pilot hole didn’t help very much in this case).
4. Once all the holes have been drilled, go through and sand down the edges of the holes and any other rough spots on the wooden board.
5. Clean off the board and seal with a few coats of polyacrylic sealer.
With a grid pattern of holes, I can block (or dock) lots of combinations of shapes and sizes. All it takes it reconfiguring the dowels in the different holes.
For this project, I put dowels in almost every hole and docked my 4 inch squares. Once you add about 5 squares, the dowels start leaning inwards, but I found that by “sharing” dowels between squares, I can use the tension of the squares themselves to straighten out the dowels. Basically, each square adds a bit of pull to the dowel, preventing it from falling over too much.
When you’re done blocking, just pull the dowels out. The board itself is nice enough to leave out in a craft area until the next time you need it.
Now I’m wondering what other fun shapes I can block on this contraption. Definitely triangles, right? What else would you use this for?