My knitting friend across the pond, Mary Russell, says of her blocking wires, as she considers how our shapes change as we age:
I put my middling ones (the middle sizes) to use when I wash and stretch jumpers, fair isle or otherwise, on my shetland jumper horse/frame*, to keep the bottom rib evenly pulled when drying, so threading the needle along the bottom of the waist welt, and stringing them in the gaps and round the rung of the frame which is of itself adjustable for length. This also then keeps the body long as required, This is often needed when the (husband) wearer becomes more rotund. (Can be accounted for in the frame set up, but who doesn’t get shorter from shoulder to hip, where the bottom rib might sit.) The added tension is also necessary to keep the sleeve hole depth large to accommodate that area while if I only considered girth, the arm hole would be both too short and too tight around for all that (fat and) muscle.
I have used these skills on a jumper I knitted in the late 1960s for my dad and which I repossessed on his (long time ago) demise, and for jumpers I knitted in Shetland all that time ago but I don’t grow smaller either! The postie is always surprised to find a wooly horse leaning in the sun against the garage door.
*I learned the term “wooly board” as an alternative name to what she describes as the “jumper horse” or “jumper frame”. I love her last sentence–meaning the postman is surprised as s/he comes to deliver the mail and finds Mary’s jumper frame, with her sweater drying in the sun, against the door.
Used with blocking mats, knitted or crocheted pieces can be laid out under tension by inserting the wires along the edges or borders. T-pins will hold the wires in place on the mats. It is essential to block lace, which allows the fabric to open up so the patterning can show.
This set is also useful for garments worked flat. Blocking before seams are made helps keep the edges flat and easier to join. The varied pieces can be stretched or coaxed to a certain dimension, such as two fronts for a cardigan, so they will match in length and width.
The set includes:
• Measuring tape (1)
• T-pins (20)
• Stainless Steel Wires, 37.5″/ 95 cm long (6)
• Stainless Steel Wires, 19.5″/50 cm long (6)
• Flexible Wires 37.5″/ 95 cm long (3)