Something I used to share a lot about, especially on Instagram, was my obsession with blocking. I don't love to finish my knits - like, I could do without weaving in ends, I grit my teeth around the time seaming needs done, but I always . always . always look forward to blocking. I have a lot of little DIY blocking contraptions around made of things like dowel rods and foam balls, along with the usual suspects like blocking mats and wires. I've strung, hung, propped, and pulled many-a-garment but I've never added flexible wires to my blocking toolkit. I don't really have a reason for this other than that there have been few occasions when I felt like I really needed them. The blocking wires I have are extremely rigid, but when needed, I've bent a few of them out of whack to suit my needs. The obvious down-side to this is that I now have a nice set of wonky wires that I have to wrestle back into straight (unsuccessfully, if you're wondering).
I've been knitting more round-ish things lately, and it really hit me when I was working on a giant, full colorwork, handsome hum-dinger of an oval shawl for my upcoming book. Dear curves, I thought to myself, why do you hate being blocked? Why do you fight me so when all I want to do is ease you into your full, beautiful, potential? Then, as a break from book knitting/writing, I took a little side-step into an off the cuff pi shawl and again, it refused to bend to my will. The stars aligned and a review opportunity popped up for these blocking wires.
Honestly, my first impression is that blocking wires are hard to take pictures of in an interesting way. I mean, they're little metal wires all wound up and tied together. Ah, but they're wound into these tiny little bangle-sized rings and that alone says something big. I read the inside of the packaging that was as follows: Carefully uncoil the wire, then remove the coil holder. Be really careful, the wire will spring straight! I thought, okay... they're being really cautious here. Nope, they aren't, I really could have lost an eye. This is a good thing! They're so flexible and so springy because they have excellent memory. These wires will not be doomed to the same fate as my who-knows-how-old and who-knows-from-where wonky rigid wires. I was really impressed.
Now, this isn't about this little off the cuff pi shawl, but in a lot of ways it is. I tried blocking Passiflora before I had these wires and it didn't go great. I knew I would be re-blocking eventually because the way it's designed (by some ding-dong) the edge is very even and wavy - added fun is the fact that it's a pi shawl which can be a pain to block evenly regardless. So, the above photo on the left is the shawl just before getting to the final edging and as you can see, there is a lot of distortion in the fabric because of the increase and decrease patterns. I really should have taken a picture of the failed blocking, but I was so eager to re-block I didn't even think of it at the time. The above photo on the right shows the blocking in progress with the super flexible wires. The set comes with T-pins also which I love. I don't care how many pins I have around here, when I need them, they sprout legs.
Ok, so... I know I said I'm sort of blocking obsessed, but I really hate using wires - or - my rigid ones that I keep bringing up and my apologies for doing so because that's annoying, but I feel like it's really necessary here. The rigid ones have a very jagged edge that snags my yarn every step of the way and it drives me absolutely bonkers. I was a bit hesitant when I put the wire to the yarn for the first time because of this - my reasoning that the wires are so thin, they would really, really snag the yarn like little pin points. Thankfully, I was mistaken. The ends of these wires are so smooth I never hit a snag once. They're so flexible that I was able to move the wire in and out of the fabric in a sewing motion, even turning and winding back once without issue. I used two of the 70" wires to make the entire circumference and as you can see, the wire flowed right along the wavy edge of this baby while providing enough tension to smooth all of that distorted fabric from the increase and decrease pattern. The entire shawl was washed, the wires threaded, and the pins placed within 20 minutes.
I think the results speak for themselves. I wanted the deluxe set because I also want to be able to block all of my circular swatches (that I used to knit a ton of!) - the deluxe set comes with  T-pins,  35" (90 cm) wires perfect for the swatches or curved hems and  70" (180 cm) wires perfect for pi shawls as I demonstrated today, but also for semi-circle or any other sweeping shawl that doesn't come to a point. The wires are also easy to store since they wind up so nicely and can be tucked into a small knitting bag. The set comes in a small plastic bag that you could certainly use for storage also. I have an ick response to plastic, so I'll be keeping mine in my little linen hobo bag instead. I do want to mention here though - Lazadas has some new project caddies that look like they might be silicon (?) but they're pretty cute and handy. You can find them on the Lazadas website HERE.
The flexible wire world is honestly new to me, so I'm chomping at the bit to play with these wires more and see how else they can be used - I need to tap into that creative blocking side and see what I come up with! Also, I feel like this is becoming a really played out topic in the knitting community, so I hesitate to even bring it up BUT unless you're working with 100% acrylic, block everything! But it's only a hat you say? Block it. It's just a quick little pair of fingerless gloves? Block it! It's a sweater you spent three months knitting? For the love of all that is good in this world, BLOCK IT. I don't really understand why I still see posts about how someone knit this that or the other and then just never blocked it. Blocking isn't a scary, scientific, or dangerous thing. Some folks steam, some folks soak. There are certainly times when one is better than the other, but I'm a full soak kind of lady because I like to live life on the edge. I sure have plunged a freshly bound-off sweater into a bath of cool water, carefully drained it, pressed the sopping sweater against the side of the tub, gingerly lifted it out onto a towel, rolled and squeezed as much as I could, carefully slid it onto the blocking mat, and still managed to stretch it too much. I then slap my forehead and wear it any way because a too-long sweater isn't the end of the world. At least those stitches were on . point . even!
Disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review; I did however receive the product in exchange for posting my honest opinion and review. I am in no way affiliated with the company mentioned in this post. Your experience with the reviewed products may differ from my own.