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?
Love this idea! I told my hubby who owns a cabinet shop I need a blocking square. I haven’t received one yet, thankfully I found your post on facebook before hubby made me one! Love this one!
Thank you for this post! I have already told the hubby to head out and get what I need! By the time I get home from work tomorrow I recon it will be made.
What an ingenious idea!
Off to Home Depot!!
Meeps. Your blocking dock is gorgeous. Mine has now run away and is hiding in a corner feeling inadequate! I love your squares too. So much inspiration, so little time!
I thankyou for this post, and the measurements. I saw this and have showed my husband. This looks like it is very handy for alot of sizes.
Happy 4th to all.
Thank you for this fantastic idea. Off I go to nag my husband 🙂 🙂
Love those pinwheel squares.
Have a lovely day. Regards from India.
Haha, thanks Dedri! Yours is quite large, though, so you can probably add a few holes and block larger pieces on it. And talk about inspiration – your Sophie blows my mind every time I see someone share it!
A cabinet shop? Oooh, lucky lady! Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you! I am still waiting but he has the specs! 🙂
I would like your fish scrubbie pattern, but it does not come up under search on you blog
This is genius! Way to go on a blocking station that can be used for different size squares. I love that you can put squares on the diagonal, too, to get different sidelengths!
I can’t wait to give this a try…. I’m so excited!!!
I’m in the middle of a blanket… and have been putting off the blocking…
Now, I will have no more excuses!!
A very clever idea.
I’m thinking that if I use a rectangular piece, like a large-ish cutting board from a thrift shop maybe, I could even set out squares to see how a color combo feels when I’m trying out yarn palettes. You have inspired me! Thanks! Sometimes a spark ignites a flame, don’t you think? ;D
So glad to see the flame of inspiration and crafting!
Do you have any advice on blocking? Dry vs steam. Natural fibers vs synthetic. I get confused!
This is AMAZING! I finally made one (after having it pinned since you posted it!) and I used an old, but never used, cutting board.
I had an awakening when I finished though! Golf Tees! I’m going to use the dowels to anchor the corners but I bought some golf tees to put along the edges of larger projects. I actually ended up drilling mine in a 1″ grid and it worked fine. I lucked out and the wooden golf tees fit the same holes perfectly – and they come in natural wood. Walmart had them 200 in a big bag for $6.00! I like that the ends are pointed. And you can get them 3 1/4 inches tall!
Thanks again for the great idea!
Blocking boards are a great piece of kit, and we make them here at Daisy Boo for anybody that doesn’t want to go down the DIY route. They are available at http://www.daisyboo.net and we ship worldwide!
Paul @ Blocking Boards by Daisy Boo
What does the blocking do? Does it square off the pieces on its own or do you have to add steam?
A 15″ round is to small for a 12″ Square cardboard to fit. Hast to be at least 17 or 18 inches round
18 inches would definitely fit!
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You usually dampen them by spraying water on them, it doesn’t need to be steam. And you leave them until they are dry. Some people completely wet them. That is the reason of the sealant, so that the wood is not damaged by wet squares sitting on it for days. The effect is yes, that they all get a consistent neat shape, especially if they are a little wavy or curly. In lace things, blocking brings out the corners and reveals the beauty.
I would also make holes all around for doilies and mandalas.
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I took this project one step further, with a 2 inch grid on one side and a 1.5 inch grid on the other side. Since I had a project with 3 inch squares, this was perfect!