What? We hear you cry. Have you gone mad over at KnitIQ HQ? You make lovely knitty tools, not hairdressing ones. Please tell us you're not branching out into the beauty industry.
Calm down, take a few nice deep breaths and think of your happy place. Better? Good. Then let us explain: You are correct, we do our very best to bring you tools that aid in ensuring all the hard work you put into your creation is shown off to its very best advantage. This is why we chose to concentrate on blocking your knitting and crochet, and why we are so passionate about it. -> See our earlier posts if you are new to our readership on How to Wash Wool, How to Block Knitting or Crochet & Do I need to Block?
We believe that the only way to complete your finished thing of beauty is to block it with tender loving care.
Here is a brief reminder of how to do so:
- Soak your folded section pieces or finished item in a bowl of lukewarm water and a generous dollop of KnitIQ wool wash.
- After 15 - 30 minutes remove and create your 'swiss roll' of garment and towels.
- Now if the weather is being kind and you have outside space, lay your blocking mats out in a drying spot.
- If the weather is misbehaving pick a spot indoors where the cat won't use it as a nest, the dog won't steal it to play, and big or little people won't trip over it.
- Unwrap your ‘swiss roll’ and gently place your project on your KnitIQ Extra Thick Blocking Mats with Grids, pat it into shape, and pin it to the desired measurements using a combination of blocking combs, T-pins and wires as desired.
- Depending on the thickness of your garment, you may need to turn the item over after 12 hours, or once the top is touch dry.
By now you will be familiar with our wonderful Extra Thick Blocking Mats and T-pins, not to mention our No Rinse Delicate & Wool Wash. So we got our thinking caps on about the next step on your blocking journey. Our T-pins are quite wonderful, but we thought what could be even more wonderful may be a combination of pins for those bendy, twisty, tiny bits, along with some beautiful wooden blockers, ergonomically designed with a number of pins in it for straighter edges, swatches, cuffs and such like.
Why ergonomic blocking combs?
Now for a short lesson in the anatomy and physiology of the hand.. there may be a test so pay attention:
- The hand - up to but not including the Radius & Ulna - consists of 27 bones.
- 14 of these make up your fingers and thumb. Your thumb has 2 phalanges, whilst the other fingers all have 3.
- 5 more are your metacarples in the palm, which connect your fingers to the 8 bones in your wrist.
You can see from this basic - by which we mean excluding muscles, nerves, tendons, blood supply - how the bones join together:
And the test is for you to fill in said muscles, nerves, tendons, blood supply… just kidding! Now we appreciate you are probably wondering why we are telling you this?!
This is because one of the most common complaints from crafters is that of aching or painful and stiff hands and fingers. It is a by-product of repetitive movements without adequate rest periods: Just one more row… Anyone?
Then there is the normal aging process: Joints do lose their flexibility as we age. Day to day living, when not busy with hooks or needles we are often found hunched over devices looking for that perfect pattern or skein of yarn.
There are also those of you that live with conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis or autoimmune conditions that cause joint problems like hypermobile syndromes.
Any of these conditions, and others, can result in pain and inflammation as well as loss of dexterity. The thumb alone accounts for between 40% and 70% of hand function depending on the grip used.
Now using blocking pins requires you to use the pinch or key grip. If you have any issues with your thumb you will be no stranger to the discomfort that repeated use of this grip causes. Indeed, if you have required surgery or specialist hand physiotherapy because of chronic problems you will have likely been advised to use alternatives to this grip where practicable.
Our KnitIQ Wooden Blocking Combs
This is where our wooden combs come in. Rather than the comb shaft being only a couple of mm thick we decided to make ours with a chunkier wooden shaft which fits comfortably into the palmer aspect of our hand. The pressure to insert the comb can also come from the palm which spreads the load reducing stress on the joints. Removing the comb can be completed by placing the palmer aspect of the hand on top of the shaft and curling the fingers over the base of the comb to pull out.
Now as well as being ergonomically pleasing and things of beauty our, combs are just extremely useful too: When blocking out swatches to envisage design and colour combinations you can use combs exclusively which will make the process complete in seconds. Using combs down to the edges you will get a sharp, roll free corner.
When using for larger pieces such as for blocking sweaters or cardigans, our combs come in handy because they cover more ground than other blocking combs. We suggest using them at the cuff, centre base or edges plus depending on the design of you garment shoulders. You can then fill in your desired spacing with our T-pins.
Using knit blockers is obviously quicker as you are effectively inserting a handful of pins at once, and more than with any other blocker. Also, spacing is uniform which will lead to less repositioning and therefore less risk of snagging.
Another benefit is that when the cat or dog trots along to help with said blocking and knocks everything over, they are much easier to spot and pick up. See, we've thought of everything.
When not in use, they are stored in a finely crafted wooden storage case. Insert your wooden blockers with the prongs pinching into the foam to prevent blunting the edges and leave them rest beautifully in your craft corner.
We would love to hear what you think of our wooden blocking combs so do let us know. We also love to see pictures of your creations. So please share them with us on our social media pages.