An important step in knitting is blocking, a technique of steaming or wetting your fabric pieces to adjust and set their shapes. Blocking mats are incredibly useful tools that can improve the precision of this process. Resembling the interlocking pieces of a child’s play mat, these lightweight boards can be arranged to accommodate pieces of many sizes. They’re designed to handle being pricked with pins and often feature gridlines to assist with alignment. Improve the shape of your knitted works with the top blocking mats we’ve found.
1. KnitIQ Double-Sided Blocking Mats
At ¾ inch thick, these are some of the chunkiest mats you can buy. That’s a good thing: When blocking, you want a mat that readily accepts pins and keeps them secure but prevents them from poking through to your work surface. The foam—dense yet light—is also heat-resistant to tolerate steam blocking. Like many mats, these are printed with grids, but KnitIQ’s thoughtfully feature 1-inch squares on one side and 1-centimeter squares on the other. The lines are clearly marked and always line up no matter which blocks you piece together, so they can easily accommodate asymmetrical designs. Plus, they’re nicely sized, each one measuring just over 12½ inches.
2. Woolove Blocking Mats
These mats feature not only a 1-inch-square grid but also circular guides, making them a handy tool for knitters who frequently block round items. They’re slightly thinner than our top pick but still satisfyingly sturdy to hold up through many projects. Each mat is numbered to ease the process of piecing them together. Since the mats are printed to align according to a certain configuration, you are limited to this order if you want to use the gridlines.
3. Boye Interlocking Blocking Boards
Boye’s boards are a great student pick: They get the job done, and you don’t have to spend a ton on them. Sold in packs of four, they allow beginners to build up their mat collection bit by bit as they get more familiar with knitting bigger pieces. These ⅜-inch thick mats are a little flimsier than higher-grade options, but they’re easy to pin, feature bright-green, 1-inch grid lines, and are suitable for wet blocking.
4. Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats
KnitIQ’s mats are our top pick, but at roughly $5 a mat, they’re also pretty pricey. This nine-pack is a less expensive option that will still serve you well. The white mats feature highly visible black lines that form a 1-inch grid, and they’re numbered for quick alignment. They’re also heat- and water-resistant so you can use them for both steam and wet blocking. Our biggest gripe is that these mats are just ⅜ inch thick, so you’ll want to protect your work surface with a thick piece of cloth or cardboard.
5. Knitter's Pride Lace Blocking Mats
If you’re confident in your measurements and can do without gridlines, consider picking up these mats from Knitter’s Pride. Sold in a nine-pack of bright colors, these pieces fit together seamlessly no matter how you combine them. The ⅜-inch mats, made of a durable material that is more rubbery than foamlike, anchor T-pins properly and hold up well to steaming.