Knitting Blog

Holden KAL: Blocking & A Soak Wash Giveaway!

NOTE: To win today’s giveaway, you MUST be a member of Craftsy.  (It’s fast and easy to join.)
This post is part of our free Holden Shawl Knit-Along.  If you still need a copy of the free pattern, you can download one from designer Mindy Wilkes’ Holden Shawlette page here on Craftsy. While you're at it, check out Mindy's other great designs!

WOOT!  My Holden Shawl is finished! I'm so excited to wear it! Please forgive the darkness of these pics, it's been cloudy the last few days.  The Lorna's Laces Solemate in "Franklin's Panopticon" really looks awesome after blocking!

Here's a closeup of the lace points:

Here's what my Holden looked like pre-blocking:

It looked good, but it  looks better as a nice big triangle shape!

My blocking process goes like this:

1) Fill up the sink with lukewarm water and a squirt of Soak Wash.

2) Immerse the shawl and gently squish the water through.

3) Spin out the extra water in the dryer.

4) Wait for the kiddos to go to bed.

5) Pin the shawl out on top of a rug.

6) Want to wear it the next day, so dry it with the hair dryer.

How do you block your shawls? Do you use Blocking wires? Do you use a wool wash? I'm very curious about this.  I've just ordered a set of blocking wires from KnitPicks and wonder if I'm in for a life-changing experience!

Leave a comment letting me know how you block your shawls and you could win a bottle of Soak Wash!

soak bottles

From the soak website:

"Soak is a pure, gentle and deliciously scented way to wash the delicate items you care about most.

This rinse-free formulation is perfect for washing your laciest lingerie, your softest sweaters, hand-made quilts and even baby clothes. Soak is designed with fabric-friendly ingredients that revitalize fibers so they look great and last longer. Soak is safe for both hand and machine washing, including HE.

Use Soak on lingerie, swimwear, knits, quilts, workout wear, dance wear and all the stuff you love most!"

FOUR lucky blog readers, chosen at random, will win!

Leave a comment below, letting me know how you block your shawls and you could win a bottle of Soak Wash!

REMEMBER: To win today’s giveaway, you MUST be a member of Craftsy.  (It’s fast and easy to join.)



I haven’t made a shawl yet, but mostly I block with a steam iron and ironing board.


Blocking wires changed my life! It’s much easier for me to block my shawls with wires rather than just pins.

I prefer to wet block but have blocked w my steam iron when ombigottawearitnow hits me hard.


I haven’t done any shawls, but I am working on a sweater that will need to be blocked with wool wash. 🙂


I love your Holden. So pretty! I block my shawls about the same. Though I use hot water and leave it in the sink for awhile. It is neat to come back and see the fiber relaxed and ready to be reshaped. If I have any hint of color bleed I add vinegar to that hot bath to make sure the colors don’t fade. With the Soak it makes for an odd combo of smells but it is worth it to keep the colors true. Then I find myself a nice patch of freshly vacuumed carpet and go to town with the pins. I use my blocking wires depending on shawl. A lot of the times I find I’m much faster with the pins than the wires. Though if I were blocking Holden I would definitely go for the wires to block out the points and use the carpet to help block the picots out.


I think the shawl is lovely….and yes, those points are perfect after blocking.
I mostly felt, but am learning to knit….so Soak looks doubly good to me.

Becky Cheek

I too am interested in this topic since currently I’ve been spraying my work with water in a squirt bottle and then pinning out on a giant towel on my kitchen table. I like your idea of drying with a hair dryer to speed the process!

angie S.

I haven’t sprung for the blocking wires, but maybe when I knit more shawls. I usually layout some towels on my guest bed and carefully pin away.


Would love to win these and really want to knit the shawl. I soak and pin on an ironing board.


To be honest, I’ve never blocked the shawls I’ve made. I would LOVE to try Soak and give blocking a try. Thanks for the giveaway!


Well done! I have that shall in my queue. One of these days I’ll have the courage to tackle it. I’m still obsessing on sock knitting.

Before you use your blocking wires for the first time, make sure you wipe them down, as I’ve recently read a post on Ravelry about residue from the factory left on the wires. That can soil your garment. I am trying to remember what people used to clean the wires, I know one poster used Simple Green on a paper towel.


I block on an old crib mattress. I spritz with plain water following pinning. My first Holden was dyed following knitting, so I dyed the shawlette and pinned the still damp from dying shawlette. Turned out great! I just use quilting pins. Would love to hear about the blocking wires. More knitting toys…yay!!


I block my shawls either by immersing them in water or using a spray bottle to wet the shawl. I then pin it out on foam mats that I bought from Sam’s Club. They are huge and I have the flexibility to adjust them to the shape I need. I am going to buy some blocking wires from Inspinknitty (I think) on etsy.

Your shawl is beautiful!


I love soak. I cover my bed with a vinyl tablecloth before pinning out knits to dry. This keeps the moisture from soaking into the bedding. I also turn on the ceiling fan.


Your shawl looks fabulous! I’m this close to blocking mine, and I plan to try the Knit Picks wires. I’m hoping it’s less time consuming than pins…

Megan Curtis

Wow! I love lace projects because there is such a difference between what comes off your needles and what it looks like once it’s blocked. Your shawl is stunning! Thanks for sharing!


I love that pattern; it looks fairly easy without being boring. It’s so pretty; the yarn works so well! Thank you for the detailed blocking directions; it’s finally starting to cool off here making me want to knit!


When I block my shawls I use a combination of wires and pins The pins are essential for the points of the lace, but to get good straight lines, I need the wires.

Kendra (missknitta)

I wet block with just a tiny bit of conditioner in the final rinse. I wrap a towel around the piece and squeeze the water out (I’m not brave enough to spin out the water in the machine!), then I use the Knit Picks blocking mats and lace wires, with T-pins here and there where needed. Blocking is like magic on lace! Thanks to Craftsy and Soak for the giveaway 🙂

Jeannie D

I just finished my first “Baktus” scarf/shawl and I blocked it on a folded beach towel using straight pins. It took 2 days but it looks great! Thanks for the chance to win!


If I’m blocking something bulky I’ll often be lazy and use my clothes steamer on it for a while and then shape it and smoosh it under some heavy books. I pin onto cushions for more delicate pieces.
Might have to try those blocking wires myself..


I don’t have blocking boards or blocking wires. So what I do is soak the shawl for twenty minutes in wool shampoo, squeeze out the water as much as possible. Then I lay it on cotton bedsheet on the floor, stretch it out the way I want it and use craft pins to hold it in place. I like to let it dry out by itself which might take a day or two.

stephanie-deliberately creative

Blocking?? Well…I’m still learning how to do it! Love your photos of the before and after blocking of this shawl. It really shows the difference it can make.

Evelyn J. Gonzalez

I use a “board” of foam insulation, readily available at any Home Depot or Lowe’s store. Then, I block using stainless steel pins. It’s portable, inexpensive and it works great for me!

Thanks for asking and for offering a prize!


I aven’t blocked a shawl but I blocked a scarf by essentially washing it by hand with wool wash.


First off, beautiful job on your shawl! I am working on my first shawl so I was very glad to read your blocking tps. I have never blocked my knitting before, but after seeing the difference it makes I have decided it is a must do.


I use stainless steel t-pins and 2 feet x 2 feet foam squares from my local warehouse club. The foam squares come nine to a package for a little over $20.00. They fit together like puzzles pieces and can be put into several configurations to accommodate large or odd shaped items.

Lynn Reedy

Wow this stuff sounds great, much better then baby shampoo. This would be a wonderful win!!

Shannon Crouse

I use blocking mats from KnitPicks that lock together like jigsaw pieces, and blocking pins from KnitPicks too!


I use some great KnitPicks blocking pads and T pins Santa brought me last year for Christmas!


I soak my shawls in lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes, then gently squeeze the water out. Then I lay them on a towel and fold the towel over the top and press more moisture out. I use interlocking foam mats (the kind kids play on) and blocking wires and pins from KnitPicks. Although I am always impatient to wear them, I try to let my shawls dry fully before unpinning and weaving in the ends. I try, anyway!


I use blocking wires because I find they allow me to use less pins. It means less time spent pinning things out, and I find it easier to adjust the project with wires to get it just right. I’m super lazy so anything that makes it easier is great!


I just got my blocking wires. I think I’m a little faster. I like that I don’t have as many pins to keep track of. It was worth the investment for me.

Olivia Thomas

Mostly wonkily. I am eagerly awaiting the birthday treat of a set of blocking wires, which might improve things!


I don’t block very well, just wet the garment, lay it out and finger block…much like finger ironing. It seems to work although pins and a mat would make the process a lot easier and end result would look much better.


I use pretty much the same process although I wash my woolens in the same shampoo I use on my hair. When I block my EZ pi shawl I like to lay quilts out in the sun and pin it out. It has a fairly large circumference and I am limited on floor space. I prefer t-pins because the heads don’t get lost in lacey knits.

Linda B.

I used to use an old piece of a cardboard box, but just this past weekend I bought a kids foam rug from Home Depot ($16.99!). It has 4 pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, so I can take it apart and put it away. Also, I can make it as large or as small as I need it! I am out of Soak, however, so a new stash of that would be quite helpful. 😉


in the past ive just used pins on a towel. but im ready to try to interlocking mat and lace wires from knitpicks for my first real lace project


I love the scented soaks! Very cool.


I’ve never blocked a shawl before. I’ve only made two others before and they were done in acrylic yarn. But it was great to read these tips because I’m currently knitting one in a bamboo yarn, and I’ll need to block it!


I do all the soaking in the washer with hot water, and then I pin my shawls out using pins like you. I have to pin them out on the floor in our bedroom and remember to *keep the door closed at all times* because my naughty kitty likes to try to eat pins…yes, he’s tried it before, and hubby and I chased him around the apartment so we can pull the pins out of his mouth. He’s a bright one, our little George.


I am in the process of knitting my first shawl – using Stroll yarn by Knitpicks. I’ve never blocked before – didn’t even know I had to until I started this. Thank you for the demo of how to block. I would love to win a bottle of Soak – don’t even know where to find it.


The hair dryer trick is interesting. Sometimes I just put my ceiling fan on high and whoosh! All my hand-washables are magically dry by morning. Also…could a spin in the salad spinner work for this shawl? It looks like it could fit almost. Maybe on second thought a spin through the washing machine was ideal.

Pam Rapp

thank you for sharing this…..Alot of my friends use Soak……and love it…Iam planing on using it on my crocheted pineapple top……….The shawl came out beautiful….I’ve just started knitting …..still on hats and washcloths..thk you again.


I block my shawls using warm water and Soak then I gently wring out the water roll it up in a towel and step on it. Then I wait for my kids to go to sleep and use the other side of their Toy Story play mat and pin it!


To block shawls I use knit picks blocking wires on playground mates that can be reconfigured into any shape needed. I soak the items in kookaburra. I’ve never used Soak and am interested in trying it.

Barbara L

I block my shawls by pinning them on those foam blocking squares. Then I spray them with water and let them dry.

worldknit & handspun

I just used soak for the first time a couple of weeks ago when blocking a shawl. I have blocking wires and use them, but to get nice points in the lace border I pin them


The colors and textures of the shawl are gorgeous. I have never blocked anything yet. I just made a wool bath rug that should have been blocked, but I didn’t. Sometimes I like things a little wonky.


I do a similar process to the one written in the blog, but sans kiddos or hair dryer (what a great idea — thank you!) and using blocking mats instead of a rug.


I love my Knitpicks blocking wires and my blocking has so improved since I got them. I also love love love SOAK. I have only ever wet-blocked my items, but I have a friend who swears by spritzing her projects. To each his/her own!


How I block my shawls depends on the shawl itself. Always a good soak in wool wash of some kind, then I have to squeeze excess water (don’t have a washer of my own I can spin it out in). I use blocking wires for straight edges, then pin out any curved edges. If I’m feeling SUPER lazy, I’ll just leave it out without any pins or wires, but then I run the risk of the cats messing it up.


I love my blocking wires, don’t know where I would be without them. Just wait ’til yours come, you’ll love them!

Dell Ann Teschendorf

Blocking wires are the best! I also love my self healing blocking mats that let me set up any size and shape and pin down as much as need.


I wet block my shawls after a soak in wool wash – usually pretty fiercely! With 3 little princesses in the house, blocking gets done after bedtime. My blocking wires really make it easier on my OCD-Everything-Must-Be-Symmetrical brain.


I blocked with t-pins once and swore next time I’d use blocking wires. I just haven’t made a shawl or scarf since then! But I think I must get some soon. They seem like the perfect blocking tool — besides SOAK that is!


Blocking wires changed my life when I blocked afghan squares. You’ll love them!!

Susan Havens

I first soak the item to be blocked with Euclan or just plain water. Then I usually block on a spare bed with lots and lots of pins. Not always easy but it works. I would love to have blocking wires–and SOAK of course!


My shawl was a mohair blend so I pinned it then sprayed with a mister bottle filled with water and few drops of euclan (sp?). I sprayed a few more times during the day & voila it was done by morning. Would love to try the SOAK solution you used!

Ellen Burnett

I wasted a lot of time being afraid that the pieces in which I had invested so much time would either spontaneously melt away or shrink to the size of a postage stamp when they were immersed in the soaking liquid. Finally , I HAD to block something – a baby blanket for a soon-to-arrive first grandchild. It soaked and rinsed just fine, but I couldn’t come up with a usable place to stretch and block it until I realized that there was valuable real estate across the back span of our couch. The blanket was easy to pin into the fabric and upholstery with towels underneath, there was no rush to get it off a floor or bed and I didn’t need to worry about pet hair from the cat or dog wanting to walk or lay across it.


Currently, I block both my knitting and quilts by wetting, blotting out as much moisture as possble with a towel, and, using rustproof pins with big heads, pin to an old quilt to dry. I measure a lot and use a t-square if approprate to make sure corners are square. I like the using thre quilt as a blocking pad because I can roll it up if necessary to move the item –kind of like a horizontal design wall. I can take pictures as it is drying for my files. Items dry quickly here so for thinner items I sometimes spray to moisten as I pat the project into position. I am making my first lace piece with an intricate border in the really awsome Craftsy on line lace knitting class and am looking forward to using Laura Nelkin’s hints on blocking for my projects.
Thanks for the opportunity for us to share our info–learning for each other is such a wonderful way to continue the arts.


I have a blocking board and wires that usually gets me where I want to be. Unless it’s socks – then I have sock blockers.

Colette Wilson

I’ve made several of the Holden Shawlettes as gifts. I love SOAK and would love the opportunity to win some.

Denise Covington

I haven’t made the Holden shawl yet, but I have made the Lilac Leaf shawl by Nancy Bush. I soaked the shawl for about 30 minutes in Woolite, then rinsed until the water was clear. I then used a towel to get out the excess water and pinned the shawl out on my brother’s bed and turned on the fan. It was dry the next day. It came out like a cloud and so soft. This was my first piece of lace and I gave it to my niece as a wedding gift for her wedding this past July 4. I have 2 more Lilac’s in progress as gifts for Christmas.


I have not made the Holden shawl yet but I have made the Lilace Leaf Shawl by Nancy Bush. I soaked the shawl in Woolite, rinsed until the water was clear, and pinned out on my brother’s bed along with the fan turned on. The next day it was dry and it came out fantastic!! I used irridescent beads instead of doing nupps. I gave it to my niece as a wedding present. I have 2 more in progress for Christmas gifts.


Does anyone know how to join pieces? I am having people in our church crochet or knit 10x10inch squares and we are going to join them all together for a present. But I need to know how to do this. I am a good sewer, so-so knitter and a good crocheter. I could learn this quick if someone could give me some much needed tips. Thank You


I block shawls via wet blocking – using either Soak or Fibre Wash in cool water, and vinegar if the dyes are running. I have the blocking mats from KnitPicks – they allow me to make any size/shape of blocking mat and I have the table space to put them on. I use blocking wires for the straight edges or the flexible wires in the kit for the neckline area of a circular or wedge shape. I then use pins to hold the wires where I wan them and to hold the points or shapes. For sweaters, I usually steam block after all the finishing is done. I just finished 3 shawlettes and have been know to put a small space heater near by so I could wear the next day.

Nicole Sender

I am just finishing my first shawl and appreciate the blocking information. I have blocked previous sweaters on towels after gently washing the article in Woolite.

Ellen Reeher

I finally finished the Holden Shawlette (I blame the delay on late night knitting – kept losing my place!) and washed it out with Soak. After a quick swish and rinse, I wrapped it up in a beach towel and left it for a few hours. After that, I pinned it out on a spare bedroom bed with large “T” pins.

I don’t like blocking wires. I like the individual control that pins allow me.

linda a roller

I do wsh with Soak.To block I have gently used a steam iron over a towels with my project under the towel or between 2 layers of a


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply