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Red Suricata Blocking Mats Review
If you knit or crochet, read this Red Suricata Blocking Mats review and find out why you need to block your next project and why you need these!
What are blocking mats anyway?
Blocking mats are literally blocks of a heat resistant material, usually foam.
After you finish a knit or crochet project, to give it a more even look or to reach the measures you want you can block your work. Blocking will soften the fabric and then you’ll need to put your work to dry. That’s when the blocking mats come in handy.
Wait! What’s blocking??
Blocking is a step of the making process that gives your finished project the professional look. When done right, it will soften the fibers in the fabric of your project, giving them a more even look. 🙂
Here are some situations when you should block:
- flatten projects – especially useful in knitting and Tunisian crochet, where the fabric tends to roll;
- ensure panels have the same measures – which can come quite handy when you need to sew two pieces together that should have the same measurements;
- shape projects – very helpful for projects that have should have straight edges.
I have blocked projects in two ways, so let me tell you about them.
With steam blocking, you use a steamer (or even an iron with steam function) and you steam the finished project. You have to be careful not to touch the fibers, otherwise, you may burn them. The steam will dampen your project and make the fibers more malleable so you can shape them a little bit more to your liking.
To wet block, soak the finished project in water. Check the label of the yarn to see if it can be warm water or if it should be cold. You can add a gulp or two of mild detergent or soap. Leave the project to soak for a few minutes then rinse gently. Then, drain the excess water by rolling it up on a towel. Don’t twist or rub your project against the towel. Just roll it gently and let the towel take out the water. When the project is damp, it means it is ready for shaping.
Where do the blocking mats fit in?
Whether you steam or wet-block, you’ll need a place to put your work to shape and dry. And that’s what the blocking mats are for! You place the damp project on top of them, adjust its shape or measurements to what you want and, using pins, you literally pin it to place! This way, while drying, the project will acquire the shape you want and the stitches will become even and clearer because the project will adapt to the new shape while drying.
Do I really have to block?
If you are starting out, this blocking thing may strike you as quite scary. I remember when I heard about blocking, I just didn’t get it. I did give a little steam to projects that I had to sew together, like the Upcycled Denim Top, or even the Granny Square Raffia Bag. The steam and a few gentle tucks were quite helpful to get the pieces to the right measures, but I still wasn’t impressed.
And this didn’t change until I started making squares for the Traveling Knit Afghan.
When I finished Square 2, the stitches were pulling a bit on the fabric and the edge was absolutely crooked. Furthermore, I was halfway on Square 3 and the fabric rolling on itself was already driving me crazy. At that point is was undeniable that I needed to block them to get them to look right.
I wet blocked for the first time and it completely changed the way I looked at finished projects. After blocking, the squares looked SO MUCH BETTER! I mean, the measures right on point, the edges straight, the stitches looking even and defined… They looked great!
So, you don’t need to block everything you make, but it will give your finished work a more refined look. After seeing the results yourself, you won’t need any more convincing from my side. 😉
Are blocking mats right for you?
So, ideally, you should block your projects. But why buy blocking mats? There are probably other things that can be used to block projects.
That is true, and a lot of crafters don’t use blocking mats. Kid’s play mats are a very popular alternative because you can pin things on them and they’re cheaper.
However, when you think of the long run, the blocking mats are a better option for a crafter. To start with, they are thicker, which makes them firmer and more durable. Secondly, most of them have grid lines to guide you while you’re shaping or blocking a project to a certain measure. Also, the fact that you can interlock them to the shape and measure you need, makes them perfect for your blocking needs.
They may feel like an investment, but if you think of the benefits of having good blocking mats, that with the right care can last for a lifetime, it is worth it.
So whether you’re just starting out in your craft or you’ve seen and made your fair share of projects, but never got to block them, these blocks make perfect sense!
What do you get from buying Red Suricata blocking mats?
The Red Suricata blocking mats are made of foam and come in blue. It is a set of 9 blocks, and they come inside a storage bag, perfect to keep them together and store them. On the other hand, the bag also has handles so it is also very easy to carry them around. And if you’re wondering how are you going to carry 9 mats, well let me tell you it is a breeze because they are absolutely lightweight! Another great thing about the foam is that it also cleans up very easily.
Each block is 12”/30.5 cm and they all have grid lines to help you block your projects to the maximum precision. And it doesn’t matter if you use inches or centimeters, because the blocks have both. One side is in centimeters and the other in inches.
But what if you are blocking a project that’s bigger then a block? Good thing the mats interlock and you can join them as needed. Moreover, no matter how you join the blocks, the grid lines match perfectly, so you always have a way to measure your project and keep those edges perfectly straight.
And to close the deal, the mats also come with 50 T-pins for you to pin your project to place! 😉
What these blocking mats have done for me
I didn’t block my projects. I liked the way they looked when I was done weaving ends, so I just put them on and that was that. Why complicate things and delay the moment when I could wear what I had just made??
For some projects, it won’t really matter if you block them or not (I’m thinking of the Cloud 9 Sweater). However, there are others where blocking will make a world of a difference. And the squares have shown me that.
I am now a complete and devoted fan of wet blocking! Just try it out once and you too will go crazy about blocking!!! And you’ll see how these mats will make your life so much easier!
So “Red Suricata Blocking Mats” review conclusion… Should YOU get them?
To sum things up, if you knit or crochet, then these mats are a MUST!
If you have just started out making things, get now into the habit of blocking. This way, it will be just another small step in your process, however, it will make a gigantic difference in your projects. It will give your finished work the look of a professional crafter!
If you are a seasoned crafter but for some reason or another, don’t usually block your projects, try it! See how this little finishing touch will make your work shine brighter than ever before.
I bought the Red Suricata blocking mats for blocking my projects and I’m very happy with them. The only thing I’ll point out is that 50 T-pins will probably not be enough (so many things to block!! 😀 ) so consider buying more pins while you’re at it. Other than that, show your projects some more love and give them the finishing touch they deserve!