Friday night question: Gift Blocking


Okay, so you’ve made a beautiful gift for someone you love. Maybe a shawl or a scarf. This lacy beauty isn’t made from some cheap acrylic yarn you got from the local all-purpose craft store, oh no. It’s made from one of those amazing skeins you purchased at a fair for that special future project you knew would have its day in the sun. Maybe it’s cashmere, silk, baby alpaca or even possibly angel hair. This baby is hand wash only.

But you know how it is. It’s lacy. When it comes off your needles, it looks like something the cat pulled out of the recycling to bat around. Maybe chew on. Your partner wonders if what you’re calling lace is really just yarn barf. Solario Solario


You soak it, gently roll out the extra water, spend hours carefully weaving the blocking wires through the stitches. And then you stretch it. You pin it. You pull it like Atreyu trying to save Artax from the Swamp of Sadness. You make it bigger and you make it better and when it finally dries in a locked room so the paper-ball-chewing cat doesn’t eat a hole right through that beautiful yarn, you are amazed at your own talents. You are awe-struck and what a talented maker you truly are. Maybe there are tears.

(I promise, there is a real question today)

So you take that beautiful shawl, wrap it up and give it to the worthy giftee. You know they’ll love it. And they do. There are more tears. Immediately the gift is wrapped around a neck. Gently, yarn is caressed against face.


But eventually they may want to wash this piece of art. So…

When you give a lacy knitted gift, what do you do about future washing? Do you offer to wash and re-block or do you cut and run, figuring you’ve done enough simply by creating this miracle? Or maybe you tell them never to wash it again for fear of diluting the fairy magic? Let me know in the comments what you do with your lacy gift-giving items!

7 thoughts on “Friday night question: Gift Blocking”

  1. I look forward to seeing this mysterious glorious gift! I usually tend to write a card/postcard with me wishes or a short message and then add the care instructions. Problem begins when the recipient misplaces the card… But in the age of the internet, they can always contact you for help!

    1. Ha! It’s not even one gift, it’s most of the things I’ve knit that require aggressive blocking before gift-giving. Though it was my dropped stitch project that prompted this question. I guess I’ve never gotten to the point in my knitting career where I’ve had to worry about this yet!

  2. Cindy Finnamore

    I’m at the point where I only gift hand-knit objects to other knitters (who know how to block) or close family (who will just ask me to do it. Other things, like baby gifts, I always make with washable yarns.

  3. I don’t generally give gifts that would require blocking. I did give a gift to a friend with the instructions to spot clean only. I haven’t fretted about it since, and she hasn’t asked me more about it. Generally if you get a fabulous gift, you only wear it on special occasions, so it never really gets dirty. There are lots of cowls and scarves that don’t need blocking (cabled and waffle weave patterns come to mind). I’d recommend that you either find a textured pattern that doesn’t need blocking or block that special something and tell them to spot clean only. You could always offer, down the road, to thoroughly wash and re-block if needed.

  4. I always attach a card with fiber content & washing instructions with all knitted gifts. For non-knitters I keep it simple with hats scarves or mitts that can just be dried flat. Anything that needs to be blocked will go only to another knitter or sometimes a non-knitter that knows how to properly block. I do have one friend that is very knit worthy & a non-knitter… that friend returns items that need blocking when they are in need of washing/blocking & I do it for them.

  5. I am still laughing at the Neverending Story reference LOL. Actually this is a good question because I will shortly be sending a lace jumper to its new home. I think I’ll just write out some instructions and put them in with the jumper.

  6. I recently gave a lace scarf to a young lady who lives across the country. I included a hand written note which told her what the fiber content was, to spot clean only, and if she absolutely needed to wash it she should google ‘blocking lace’ before she did so. Not an ideal solution, but I know it would work in a pinch.

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