Crafting

Best Blocking Mats for Knitting: Top 8 Picks by An Expert

So you’re done knitting or crocheting? Everything looks pretty amazing with straight lines and borders. Well, until the item is washed! As though by dark magic, the stitches get stretched and the item becomes flappy and oversized. Or, the garment shrinks and grows rigid.

These are rather unwanted issues, but seasoned knitters will tell you they’re nothing the best blocking mats for knitting can’t solve.

Blocking is an important step in knitting that allows you to create projects with even edges and corners and perfect stitches that don’t stretch or shrink.

When done properly with a good blocking mat, blocking imprints memory on your fibers, letting your garment retain its size and shape for a long time.

The following is a roundup post of the most useful mats on the market. These have been carefully picked to help you easily create crocheted and knitted items that you can be proud of.

Let’s jump in.

Image

Name

Editor's Rating

Price

Knit IQ Blocking Mats Set

Hephaestus Crafting Mats

Woolove Extra Thick Mats

Boye Interlocking Blocking Boards

Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Mats

What Are Blocking Mats For Knitting?

Simply put, blocking mats are flat blocks of foam or rubber that you can lay and pin your knitted projects to for shape correction. Level, spongy, and waterproof, these tools allow your textiles to dry and retain the desired alignment seamlessly.

Blocking mats have 3 major benefits:

  • Relaxing the stitches if your stitches are uneven, they are made even and consistent.
  • Maintains the shape and size your project’s edges and corners are brought into a perfect alignment with each other.
  • Prevents warping even when worn or washed repeatedly, the garment doesn’t warp or become flappy.

Our Selected Top 8 Best Blocking Mats for Knitting in 2022

1. KnitIQ Extra Thick Blocking Mats for Knitting

If you’re looking for a unique design with the highest level of versatility, look no further than the KnitIQ Blocking Mats for Knitting.

With their exceptional features, these guys make it easy for you to come up with professional-looking crochets, lacework, and knits.

When assessing these tools, the first thing we noticed was the great manufacturing. These blocking squares made from a high-quality, durable kind of foam that is 0.75 inches thick. At that thickness, they are provide your pins with adequate depth to sink into. Yet, they are thin enough to be easy to carry and use.

The next great feature are the grid lines. Let me explain why these matter. Usually, when blocking textiles, you have to use a tape measure to see if your item is aligned properly. But, with the grid lines on this mat, you don’t need a tape measure as you can use the grids to make these measurements. That is great convenience right there.

The material that these are made from is heat resistant. How does that help, you ask? For steaming, of course. When steaming, you don’t have to worry that the grid colors will get transferred to your fabric or that the board material will wear out.

Finally, the set is tailored to meet your needs in regards to size. If your piece is small, one board will be enough. But if it is large, you simply interlock the board pieces to achieve the size you need.

Highlighted features:

  • Made from high quality, heat-resistant material
  • Gridded top for easy measuring and alignment of your projects
  • Comes with a free storage bag for the mats and 100 free t-pins
  • Interlocking edges that fit together with ease

2. Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Boards with Grids

Are you seeking a budget-friendly option? You may want to consider the Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats. These come as a set of 9 mats and 150 t-pins to get you started immediately.

The most amazing thing is that they go for almost half the price of other boards with the same specs without compromising on the quality.

The boards measure 12 by 12 inches and they have interlocking edges. Since the edges fit together like puzzle pieces, it is possible to work on large-size projects. And if your project is small, one mat will suffice.

Just like the previous mats, these are very well made. Speaking of that, have you ever used a mat that transferred its colors to the fabric? If so, I know how disappointed you might have been. Having experienced the same ordeal, I know how important it is to have the assurance that your next board won’t transfer any colors to your projects.

Thanks to its high-grade, heat-resistant material, this mat allows you to steam in peace without any worries about your project getting ruined.

The mats have grid lines on them, and what I like particularly is that the lines are visible and they don’t fade. And of course, the lines allow you to pin your fabric correctly without any uneven stretches.

Highlighted features:

  • Nice grid system with 1-inch squares for easy measuring
  • 3/8 inch thick, which provides good depth for the pins without being too bulky
  • Interlocking edges that fit together perfectly for larger projects
  • High-grade material that is heat-resistant, so there’s no color transfer

3. Woolove Extra Thick Blocking Mats

Having blocking mats for knitting with grid is a great thing, but if you’re working with larger items such as shawls, counting the squares can be quite some work. Knitting row counter will help you to keep sanity while working on long projects

This mat from Woolove is here to solve the issue with its revolutionary design. Apart from the squares, these mats contain circles taking the shape of those in the eye iris. The circles are black while the squares are blue.

With this design, it becomes much easier to follow the squares when blocking larger pieces of textile. That makes measuring a breeze.

On the manufacturing, the mats are the real deal. These are dense but lightweight foam boards that are easy to handle, and that will last a long time.

You can easily prick them with the t-pins and still, removing the pins is a piece of cake. Each board has a depth of 0.7 inches, which is sufficient for the pins to hold securely. By the way, you get 100 free t-pins when you purchase this set.

If you’re ordering a set of 9 mats, you probably want to think about the storage. How will I store and transport them? That’s an important question to ask.

Woolove gives you a great answer with their fantastic storage case. The bag is lightweight yet tough and durable and perfect for storing and transporting the boards.

Highlighted features:

  • Creative grid system with circles for effortless alignment
  • Two different colors on the grid increase visibility when measuring
  • High-quality foam material with heat resistance
  • Easy assembly thanks to the nicely compatible interlocking edges
  • Sturdy lightweight carrying bag with a strap

4. Boye Interlocking Needlepoint, Knitting & Crochet Blocking Boards

Are you only a beginner in weaving? If so, there’s no need to get a very big blocking pad or too many pads to connect into one large block.

Let me introduce to you the Boye Interlocking Blocking Boards set. This one comes with four boards, each measuring about 11 by 11 inches. Sure, the manufacturer says 12×12, but the exact size is about 11×11.

Apart from that hitch, and the fact that the squares are not very even, these boards are good enough especially for a beginner.

What I like about these guys is the sturdiness they pack. If you want a set of durable blocking mats that you can use for years, these will do.

Surprisingly, even with all that strength and durability, the mats are soft enough. Therefore, you can sink your pins in them and hold your yarns without a hassle.

Another perk you will enjoy is that of the ease of carrying. The material is lightweight, meaning you will not burn calories carrying these guys or have trouble using them.

The grid system on them surely makes the task of aligning yarns easy. Even though the squares are not uniformly sized, a beginner might agree that they are not totally useless. Besides, they are visible.

If your budget is tight, this is the best blocking board for knitting you can get.

Highlighted features:

  • The boards interlock together perfectly
  • 3/8 inch thick, which is deep enough for the pins
  • Gridded to make it easier to align the yarns
  • Sturdy and durable yet soft enough to sink pins into them
  • Inexpensive and ideal for someone on a budget

5. Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking & Crochet Mats

Having used crochet blocking mats for a long time, I have had experiences that were not so good. For instance, I once had a board that lost its shape and warped within just 3 months of use. Of course, the board was very cheap, but I didn’t expect it to become useless so fast, lol.

If you want to avoid such a scenario, you’ve got to consider your board’s quality meticulously. Tell you what? The Knitter’s Pride Lace Blocking Mats are cheap but their quality holds.

These are made of compressed foam, but even then, they are pliable. What’s more, they retain their shape for ages.

Another important consideration you need to make is the ease of putting in the pins. You don’t want a board that leaves you with sore fingers, do you?

What I like about these tools is that they are sufficiently soft to allow the pins to pierce in without a struggle. And thankfully, once the pins sink in, they stay put.

Do you prefer colorful items? These may be ideal! They come in varying but rich colors such as green, orange, red, and pink. And when you purchase your set, you get a nice colorful bag to carry or transport your mats with ease. The bag as a pair of straps for easy carrying.

Highlighted features:

  • Good depth for the pins at 3/8 inches
  • They have a consistent size of 12 by 12 inches
  • They look together nicely like puzzle pieces
  • No grid lines but the material is easy to handle and it is durable and pliable

6. Red Suricata Blocking Mats for Knitting

Are you a starting or experienced knitter looking for the ideal crochet blocking mats in terms of quality? You may want to check out the ones from Red Suricata.

From their craftsmanship to their ease of use, these guys offer you a wonderful experience.

These tools are made of a high-quality, heat-resistant material designed to ensure your handiwork comes out beautifully with minimal effort.

The blocks, which are made of foam, have a thickness of about 0.7 inches. Thus, they hold the pins securely, preventing your pieces from becoming misshaped.

With regard to the design, I like how these mats are gridded. Unlike some boards I have seen, these come with very vivid lines that make it easy to mark the borders and stretch your pieces of art correctly.

What’s more, the grids are marked with numbers from 1 to 9. That way, you don’t struggle to know where you started or which parts of the yarn you want to focus on.

If you are looking for pieces of blocking board for knitters that are easy to assemble, these are the ones for you. They interlock without a hassle and they stay put, giving you a maximum working area of 36 by 36 inches.

Highlighted features:

  • High-grade material that is heat resistant
  • Vivid grid lines with uniform grid squares of 1 by 1 inch
  • The colors are well-cured and they don’t get transferred to the yarn
  • They lock together easily and stay intact
  • Free carry bag and 50 free t-pins to get you started

7. Blocking Mats by KnitPicks

Next up, we have these guys, which come with a unique texture and a professional-looking gray color.

If you have been struggling to keep your yarns from moving when blocking them, you will find these tools quite useful. The texture works superbly to prevent the fabric from skidding, which simplifies the work.

Do you like to kill fabric? Killing fabric is a common technique used to remove flexibility from fabric like acrylic and give it a relatively rigid size/shape.

Since an iron is typically used to kill fabric, you might ask if can I use the iron for perler beads on this board? Yes, you absolutely can. That is because the material is sturdy and heat-resistant. There is no worry of burning it melting its colors.

When looking for a board, the thickness is one factor you shouldn’t miss to consider. Unless you are working with large pieces of art, there is no need to get an overly thick board. Besides, the bigger the thickness, the more the weight.

This particular boards have a 3/8-inch thickness, which is perfect for small pieces of fabrics like crochets for dinner tables.

For someone on a budget, the Knit Picks Blocking Mats are a perfect pick. Though they don’t have a grid and they don’t come with a free bag, they are quite cheap.

Highlighted features:

  • Professional look with a grey color
  • Textured to hold fabric securely and prevent skidding
  • The sides have interlocking patterns that fit perfectly
  • 3/8 inches thick with a good pin-holding capacity

8. Umien Extra Thick Blocking Boards with Grids

Are you working on a crotchet blanket and you’re wondering which the best blocking mats for knitting are? Try these ones from Umien.

The grid lines on these blocks are vivid and easily visible, allowing you to line up your item’s edges so they are straight. Thanks to the evenly sized squares, it is easy to pin your items and align them exactly the way you want.

If you want to work on large pieces of fabric, you want boards that can snap together and create a big working area. You will find these boards quite useful because they snap together with ease.

Have you ever tried to move connected boards and they kept falling apart? With the Umien blocking mats, you can say goodbye to that issue. Once connected, these crochet blocking mats stay put until you manually disconnect them.

For those who want to start working immediately after getting the board, this product makes a great selection. Why, you ask? You get a free pack of t-pins along with a free carrying case.

I like the case as it is lightweight and easy to carry. The only issue is that I am wary it might not last as it feels a bit flimsy.

Highlighted features:

  • Nine 12 by 12 inch blocking mats
  • Vivid grid lines with even squares for accurate alignment
  • Made of heavy-duty foam with a 0.75-inch thickness
  • The puzzle snaps together easily and stays put

Comparison Table of Blocking Mats for Knitting

Name

Material

Thickness (inches)

Gridded

Accessories

KnitIQ Blocking Mats

Dense foam

0.75

Yes

100 t-pins and a storage bag

Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats

Foam

3/8

Yes

150 t-pins and a storage case

Woolove Extra Thick Blocking Mats

Dense foam

0.7

Yes

100 t-pins and a storage bag

Boye Interlocking Blocking Boards

Dense foam

3/8

Yes

None

Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Mats

Compressed foam

3/8

No

Storage bag

Red Suricata Blocking Mats

Dense foam

0.7

Yes

50 t-pins and a storage bag

Knit Picks Blocking Mats

Foam rubber

3/8

No

None

Umien Blocking Mats

Dense foam

0.75

Yes

100 t-pins and a storage bag

Blocking Mats for Knitting Buying Guide

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been knitting for a long time, blocking squares can introduce a whole new look to your creations. The process involves reshaping your knits and allowing them to have even edges, uniform corners, and an overall professional look.

You want to make sure you get the best blocking mats possible. Just like if you’re getting into weaving, you want the best looms for beginners to make things easy.

If you’re seeking these benefits, you’ve got to use the best blocking mat for knitting. Finding them is not easy, and lots of people make the wrong pick and end up deciding blocking is not for them.

On the other hand, if you know what features to look out for or what factors to consider, you will find the right product. And, blocking will be a great experience for you.

Here’s what you need to consider:

Material

It is crucial to consider the material for two reasons is ease of use and durability.

You want a material that your pins can easily go into. For that purpose, foam and rubber are preferred. These are soft enough to pierce without a struggle.

These materials are also adequately durable. They can withstand months or years of use and they are also a bit self-healing.

Also, when looking for your mat, check if it is heat-resistant and water-resistant. That will depend on the quality of the foam or rubber used. Water and heat resistance add to the durability.

When a board is not heat resistant, the colors might melt and get transferred to your project, which destroys your creations. Heat resistance prevents this problem.

Size

First of all, consider the length. It is best to get a mat with a square shape and a length that can accommodate small items like crochets. Usually, knitters go for 12 by 12 inch boards as these are large enough for small knits.

Secondly, think about the thickness. A thicker mat is preferable as it protects your work table from getting scratched or marked during blocking.

For instance, the pins will pierce the table if the mat is too thin.

A thickness of about 0.75 inches is ideal as it is sufficient for the pins to sink into. Thicker than that might make the mat too bulky/heavy.

Is It Gridded?

The whole idea of blocking is to make sure the alignment is good.

Alignment includes ensuring the edges and corners are the sizes you want. That is where the grid comes in. A gridded board with even squares of about 1 by 1 inch makes it easy to measure your project and align it properly.

Usually, if there are no grid lines, you have to use a tape measure, which is too much work. To keep things easy, get a mat with vivid grid lines.

What’s in The Set?

To start blocking, you don’t just need the mat. You also need t-pins. Unless these are included in the set, you have to get them separately, which can end up wasting time and money.

That is why most people prefer to get a set that comes with pins.

Another important accessory is the bag. A nice and sturdy bag is great for storage and transportation.

Apart from that, you may also want a set that comes with many mats. That is because sometimes, you may want to block a large project. In that case, a small 12 by 12 mat won’t suffice. But if you have many mats with interlocking edges, you can set up one large piece that will accommodate your big project.

How to Block Your Knitting with Blocking Mats?

Blocking your yarns using a mat is easier than you think. Depending on the type of fabric you’re working on, you can do either wet or steam blocking.

 Before you block, think about the size of your project. If you’re blocking a small piece, one board will probably be enough. On the other hand, if your project is large, you may want to assemble many mats into one huge board.

Below, we’ll dive into the steps of wet and steam blocking separately.

Wet Blocking

Also called wash n block, this is the more common method, and it is especially suitable for natural fibers. A notable benefit is that it maintains your fiber’s softness.

Let’s go through the steps one by one.

Step 1: Preparation  

Prepare some warm water. You want it to be adequately warm for the fibers to relax but not so hot that it damages them.

You can add some gentle washing fluid to aid in the washing.

Step 2: Wash It

Dip the piece in the water and make sure it is completely wet. Don’t do any kneading or rubbing as that can damage the fibers especially if they are natural.

Let the garment stay put in the water for a couple of minutes. This way, the fibers will relax. After that, you can do some gentle kneading, but not too much to avoid felting.

After a little kneading, let the piece say in the water for an hour or so to further relax the fibers.

Note that relaxed fibers are easier to mold into your preferred size and shape with blocking.

Step 3: Rinse It

You will want to rinse the piece unless you used a no-rinse washing liquid.

So, to rinse, use clean water at room temperature. Again, avoid agitating the garment to preserve the fibers.

You can get rid of excess water by pressing the piece a bit. However, avoid twisting or distorting the garment. You can use a dry towel to remove the excess water. Simply place the piece between two layers and press gently.

Step 4: Time to Block

Lay the piece flat on the blocking board.

The amount and distribution of the stretch you will apply depends on the kind of pattern you want to achieve. Common patterns include lace, cable knit, and plain knit.

For instance, if you want a cable knit, the stretch only need to be light. But, if you want a lace pattern, you do some heavier stretching.

Using the t-pins, prick the garment at the edges and sink the pins into the blocking mat to secure the garment. It is ideal to leave a gap of 2 inches between the pins.

You can use your hands to occasionally stretch out the garment as desired.

Step 5: Let It Dry

Let the garment stay put on the blocking mat for some air drying.

Once the piece is sufficiently dry, take out the pins. By now, the yarn should be in the size and shape you pictured.

Steam Blocking

Does wet blocking seem like too much work and you want a simpler way? Go for steam/spray blocking. This is a more straightforward method.

While wet blocking offers more protection for the fibers, steam blocking is easier and faster. For starters, it doesn’t involve lots of washing and rinsing.

But before you start, note that this method is only fit for small pieces. If the piece you’re blocking is large, steaming/spraying may not wet it sufficiently for blocking, and in that case, it’s better to use wet blocking.

Step 1: Put The Garment on The Mat

Simply lay the garment flat on the board.

Step 2: Make It Wet

Put warm water in a spray can, then spray the garment thoroughly. If your garment has stubborn fibers, you can use a steamer to relax them. However, don’t put the steamer too close to the garment to avoid burning it or the board.

Step 3: Pin The Garment And Block It

Use the t-pins to secure the piece’s edges to the blocking mat. Pull and stretch the piece to make it take your preferred shape.

As you pull and stretch, you can spray the garment some more to help the fibers relax further.

Step 4: Allow It to Dry

Let the garment stay pinned to the blocking mat so it can air dry.

Once the piece is totally dry, take out the pins. You’ll see the garment will have your desired size and shape.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you need to block your knits?

Blocking your projects gives them a professional look. It allows you to bring your knits to your desired size and shape and keep them that way even after washing.

Which blocking methods can I use?

There are two main blocking techniques are wet and steam. Wet blocking is better if you want to protect the fibers, and it involves first washing the garment them blocking it. Steam blocking means you use a spray or steamer, and it doesn’t involve washing the garment first. For bigger yarns, wet blocking is preferred while for smaller projects, steam blocking is better.

How long does block knitting take?

The process itself takes less than an hour mostly. It is the drying time after pinning that consumes time. The drying time depends on the weather conditions or what you do to speed up the drying. While steam blocking can take a few hours, wet-blocking can take a day or two. The trick to speed it up is to try and get as much water out before pinning. You can do that by pressing the yarn between two towel layers.

What can I use to block my knits?

T-pins are the best tools for the job. T-pins are steel needles with a T at the top to aid in piercing and removing.

Final Word

Adding a clean and professional touch to your work is a cinch. All you have to do is block the pieces. With the best blocking mats for knitting, transforming your wrinkly yarns into gift-worthy items will be a piece of cake.

Simply follow the tips we’ve discussed above. Be sure to look at the size, thickness, grid, and the other factors we’ve talked about. Lucky for you, all the hard work of finding ideal mats is done. All you need to do is select a mat that you like from the ones in the review above.

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