I’m always surprised by the looks I get from long time knitters at my classes and workshops every time I ask them if they’ve blocked their piece.
Most of the time, the answer I get is, “I don’t know what you mean,” or “I don’t do it because I don’t know how to block.”
Yet, their pieces are fantastic, and it might even tempt you into thinking that if they’ve been crocheting or knitting so successfully for so long, then blocking can’t be that important.
True, you might be right; it’s fine not to block your finished project at all. It won’t destroy them, and after all, what you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
Well, as much as not blocking your pieces won’t affect them (for now), failure to do so means you’re passing by an excellent opportunity to give your project a super neat and finished look.
Blocking is necessary to turn your project into the exact shape and size you meant it to be when you first started it.
Of course, some lucky knitters always manage to create pieces with amazingly straight lines and borders. And, as if by magic, they also hit the right size measurement with precision.
Everything looks great until you wash the item, or, worse, the unlucky recipient of your work washes it. Depending on the fiber used, the garment can becoms oversized with flappy, stretched stitches, losing all its beautiful definition, or worse, shrinks to a mini, rigid garment.
Do I mean you should never wash your garment?
Absolutely not! The trick here is blocking before a wash, or just after completing a project.
If done well, the blocking process leaves an “imprinted” memory of your fibers and, by extension, the shape and size of your garment forever.
Here’s a roundup post of the best blocking mats to help you create a fine piece of art that won’t disappoint.
Table of Contents
The Best Blocking Mats For The Money
#1 KnitIQ Blocking Mats - EDITOR'S CHOICE
The KnitIQ Blocking Mats set tops our list for all the right reasons. These mats have a unique design and offer the most versatility.
Knitters and creatives of all skills will benefit from this mat as it allows them to achieve professional-looking knits, lacework, crotchet, and needlepoint.
But, are they the right mats for you?
Features and Benefits
Thick dense foam
The KnitIQ is designed from reliable foam material, one of the durable options used for blocking mats.
The foam isn’t only durable, but it’s also thick, and with a depth of 0.75” pins can be pushed deep into the foam, thus keeping your item taut.
At the same time, the pins won’t poke through the blocking mat so it won’t scratch a table surface, or reach the skin for users like me who like to block on my lap.
Yet, even after lots of use, or rather pin-piercing, the self-healing nature of this mat ensures the pinholes “heal,” keeping the mat looking as new as when you bought it. Of course, you might encounter some holes, but they won’t be big enough to affect the mat’s overall layout.
The foam mat is also thick enough to stand upright and lean against a wall if needed, which I have certainly found quite convenient at times.
Intricate grid system
Another useful feature of the KnitIQ is its grid marks, which help ensure straight edges and consistency throughout your project.
When knitting or crocheting, the KnitIQ’s grid lines help line up project pieces, so everything comes out perfectly aligned. Also, when blocking your finished pieces the grids help to keep everything lined up.
You’ll love the way the grid lines up regardless of how you put them together. For instance, if you buy more than one set the lines line up correctly, and this applies to any set so it’s possible to create a giant grid that is as big as the space available to you.
Adjustable puzzle tabs
I like that each block interlocks with others like a puzzle and the grid matches perfectly.
The KnitIQ blocks are expandable and can be linked like a jigsaw puzzle to create a long, even surface, perfect for odd-shaped projects such as the sleeves of a sweater.
And, make no mistake, the puzzle is fairly tight, so you won’t even realize the block isn’t one solid board.
The adjustability also makes it easier to store the board as you simply take apart the individual blocks for storage.
KnitIQ’s foam mats are moisture and heat-resistant, so you’re not limited to any blocking technique.
You can use the mats for steaming or even steam blocking without fear of damaging the block.
The KnitIQ Blocking Mats are a true value purchase as each set consists of nine boards that you can easily arrange in different sizes and shapes.
Other features rounding up the KnitIQ’s package include 100 smooth head t-pins and a reusable storage bag.
#2 Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle - Premium Pick
Our runner up, the Red Suricata, is hard to beat, especially if you’re in search of a blocking mat that will keep your project taut, firm, and professional-looking.
Sure, it’s on the higher end of the price range, but it has everything you need to deliver a professional-looking project.
Features and Benefits
Blocking with this set is enjoyable, and you can trust the mat to protect the surface of your table or legs as the 0.7-inch foam would never allow a pin to poke through.
For users like me who are fond of thinner mats you’ll love this set because no matter how hard you push the T-Pin, they don’t go through and leave what is underneath unscathed.
They’re durable, too, and will survive constant piercing without losing much of their strength and rigidity.
Yet, they’re pretty lightweight and easy to handle.
Heat and water resistant
As with our top pick, the foam mat on this option is heat and moisture resistant.
It’s a perfect pick for different blocking techniques, including wet, dry, and steam blocking.
Regardless of what technique is used on the mat, you can be sure it won’t compromise its integrity in any way.
The Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle is a great combo set, perfect for beginners starting to block.
It’s super easy to use, and the thick foam mats and combs make blocking painless and easy, even for sophisticated projects like an afghan.
Unfortunately, it’s not big, so not ideal for larger projects like shawls or blankets. And since the blocks feature closed edges, there’s no other way to increase the blocking area.
But I find it perfect for relatively small projects like small baby blankets, scarfs, or even a needlepoint pillow cover.
And that’s not all!
The main reason you might choose to have this blocking mat over the others is the single inch measurement printed directly on the mats for easy reference. The Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle is nice and accurately calibrated, so you can say goodbye to unruly measuring tapes.
Super grid system
Other blocking mats with grids promise perfect alignment, only to disappoint with fuzzy lines that don’t match up.
But not the Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle.
The folks at Red Suricata utilize a new hi-tech printing method to ensure every single grid line aligns perfectly for unrivaled accuracy.
The Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle grid line aligns perfectly 100% of the time, and the best thing is you won’t have trouble assembling the grid as it features a numbered puzzle.
Assemble in 60 seconds
Many blocking mats claim to be easy to use, yet they’re complex, frustrating, and annoying to fit together. Regardless of the number of times you try to rotate or switch the pieces, something doesn’t match up.
But not with the Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle.
It’s the only blocking mat with nine tiles numbered 1 (bottom left) to 9 (top right) with straight edges on the outside.
The mat is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also easy to assemble, and even beginners with no experience will set it up in no time.
I love the Red Suricata Knit Blocking Bundle because it comes with everything you need to complete your knitting project.
The block features good pins and pins combs to hold your work in place. Also, the mat comes with a plastic bag for easy storage and transport.
#3 Hephaestus Crafts Blocking Mats for Knitting - Best for Creating Precise Patterns
Our third pick, the Hephaestus Blocking Mats, fit the bill for the perfect mats for creating precise patterns.
They come with clean and well-spaced grid lines for high precision and ease of use.
Let’s see what other features these mats have in store for us.
Features and Benefits
As with our previously reviewed items, Hephaestus Blocking Mats are made from reliable and durable foam.
You’ll be impressed by the quality of the foam, particularly the self-healing feature that seals the needle poke holes over time.
They’re durable too, and they don’t degrade, even after extended use.
The only flaw we found with the mats lies in their thickness. At 0.45 inches deep they’re quite thin, and though they’re dense enough to hold the pins, you risk scathing the surface of the table or other base if you press the pins too hard.
On the flip side, though, the pins enter the foam easily, unlike my other blocking board with a hard undersurface.
Other than that, the Hephaestus mat’s quality is quite impressive, especially for the cost, and the foam is odorless and offers just the right amount of firmness.
The Hephaestus Blocking Mats have an interlocking grid system, with the sides fitting each other well making it easy to achieve your desired shape without the mat falling apart.
The gridlines will allow you to block your items precisely. At the same time, the interlocking feature lets you work on intricate and sophisticated details that can’t be blocked on a flat rectangular shape.
Individual blocks fit nicely, while the grid lines match perfectly, which makes measuring so easy.
Hephaestus Blocking Mats are versatile and can accommodate different projects because you can choose to use a single mat for small projects or connect them like a puzzle for larger projects.
With the puzzle piece connection it’s easy to put the blocking mat together in different configurations-even just as a perimeter for large afghan knits.
The puzzle edges are crisp, and the pieces connect and disconnect easily.
I particularly like the one-inch grid lines that run from piece to piece, allowing you to easily block straight edges.
As with most of our reviewed items, the Hephaestus Blocking Mats package comes complete with a host of add-ons to improve your overall blocking experience.
The mat features T-pins for holding your project tightly on the blocking mat and nine gridded pieces.
#4 Juvale 9-Pack Thick Blocking Board Mats - Best Value Pack
Fourth on our list of the best blocking mats, the Juvale 9-Pack Thick Blocking Board Mats, is our best value selection.
We chose to label this option as our value selection as it offers the best cost-to-performance ratio.
It comes with a reasonable price tag, yet it has the performance and qualities of a high-end blocking mat.
Features and Benefits
Each of the blocking pieces on this mat is designed with a foam material that is lightweight and durable.
The mats are thick enough to allow pins to push deep enough into the foam to keep your project in place.
You’ll also notice the mats have a generous thickness of 0.7 inches, so regardless of how hard you push the pins, they won’t poke through and will thus protect your table or working space underneath from scratching.
The mat is also built with practicality in mind as it’s not only durable but also heat and moisture resistant to survive different blocking techniques, including steaming.
Beginners will find this blocking mat a joy to use, thanks to the blue grid lines which promote precise blocking.
Creating accurate patterns and a professional finish is now easier than ever, as the grid lines make it straightforward to align your project.
While I find the grid lies simple and easy to use, each square is 1.5 inches, and I feel it would have been more helpful if it was a one-inch grid.
This set of nine blocking mats has a generous dimension of 12.5” x 12.5” to accommodate most household projects.
But, not only that, you can interlock the pieces to create even larger mats for bigger sized projects.
Yet, the puzzle system is robust and will easily fit individual pieces with firmness and accuracy, free of any bumps or bends on the blocking surface.
Taking the blocks apart is also a doddle and a great feature to have, especially when you’re short of storage space.
The Juvale 9-Pack Thick Blocking Board Mats is a true value selection as it comes with a host of accessories for the price to enhance your blocking experience.
The blocking mat comes complete with nine interlocking foams, 200 T-pins, and a zip bag for easy storage.
#5 Woolove Extra Thick Blocking Mats - Best for the Complex Designs
The Woolove Mat is the go-to blocking mat for crafters who wish to work on sophisticated designs.
At the same time, however, it ensures you create professional-looking needlepoint work and crochet.
Features and Benefits
As with all our other previously reviewed items, the Woolove mats feature a reliable foam construction.
They are thick enough to hold your project and sturdy enough to stay together through any work.
You’ll love how it holds the pins well, yet it’s soft enough that you won’t have any problems removing the pins.
I couldn’t be happier considering the mat has a thickness of 0.7 inches, so regardless of how hard I push the pins, I’m assured they won’t get to my skin, since I’m fond of blocking on my lap.
For those using a table surface you’ll also have nothing to worry about, as the mat will prevent the needles from scratching the surface.
The foam is also durable, and I particularly love the self-healing property that closes the holes once you remove the pin.
Yet, even with all the above awesome properties, the foam is superbly lightweight, easy to store, and straightforward to handle.
With these mats you can wave goodbye to uneven edges and mismatched, improperly measured projects.
With WooLove you benefit from a two-colored grid system that lets you achieve straight, precise edges every time.
The grid lines align perfectly to each other, so it’s easy to eyeball your grid alignment and project for detailed accuracy without the hassle of counting squares.
But, there’s more!
The ease of changing configurations and the grid lines also make it easy to adjust and block almost any project.
Of course, with a two-color grid line I was skeptical that the red color would bleed. Thankfully my fears were put to rest because it doesn’t bleed, even when used for sophisticated blocking techniques such as steaming.
Woolove mats are slightly bigger than the standard mats on the market, with this piece measuring 12.6 by 12.6 inches.
The mat’s large size is a good thing since it becomes easier to handle sizeable projects with ease.
However, it also accommodates small projects since the shape can be adjusted to fit any project’s needs.
The puzzle-like edges allow users to combine individual pieces to suit the needs of their projects.
In addition to its already awesome performance and features, the Woolove’s package comes complete with a host of extras, including T-pins for holding your project and a handy storage bag.
Best Blocking Mats Buying Guide
A set of blocking mats can make a big difference to your work regardless of your skill level.
However, it can be challenging to find the best blocking mat for knitting as there are numerous brands and models on the market.
Fortunately, the section below contains all the essential information you need to know before selecting your next blocking mat.
Essential Features to Consider When Selecting your Best Blocking Mat
Size and thickness
A substantial thickness is essential for your blocking mat as it helps to protect your table, lap, or work area from ugly marks and scratches from the T-pins.
However, if you don’t need to care for your table or under surface, then thickness shouldn’t be an issue.
The bigger the better, because large blocking mats are versatile and can accommodate more varied projects.
Even better, you can opt for detachable blocking mats, or rather mats that can be rearranged to suit your different work plans.
The choice of material determines the longevity of the blocking mat.
Two of the most common materials are foam and rubber.
Both materials are durable and can easily survive lengthy projects with pins for extended periods.
It’s also a good idea to choose a mat with heat and water-resistance properties, especially if you intend to steam or wet-block your project.
The grid is an essential consideration, especially if you need to achieve high-precision and professional neatness with your project.
We would recommend you choose a set of mats with clear gridlines to help you gain better accuracy and precision for ease of use.
The more the number of accessories included in the package, the better the purchase will save you some pocket change.
Some of the essential accessories you should be on the lookout for include T-pins, storage bags, and pin combs.
Knitting blocking methods
The two primary methods used in knitting blocking are:
Wet blocking technique
In this method, all you have to do is lay a piece of your hand-knit on the surface and shape it to the desired size.
Then, you fill a clean bottle that has a spray top with water and moisten the piece gently.
Misting is an ideal method for beginners who are not sure of the fabrics they’re using.
Misting is a good option for blocking, but if the fabric doesn’t come out as desired after misting, you can opt for immersion.
In the immersion technique, you dip the whole piece into a bucket of cool water and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
Ensure the piece is saturated before bringing the work out and gently squeeze out the water without wrinkling as that could rupture it completely.
Then, roll it in a towel to absorb the water from it.
Once free from any running water, spread the piece on the blocking mat and align it to the measurement you’ve set.
Use the pins to hold it in place before allowing it to dry before removing.
Steam blocking techniques
It’s easy for some fabrics to go out of shape and stretch more during wet blocking.
For such fabrics, steam blocking is another alternative to consider.
For steam blocking, you simply lay the piece on top of the surface and pin it to the appropriate measurements.
From here, hold a steam iron over the fabric, but don’t allow the iron to touch the material, instead hover just above it letting the steam reach the work. If done correctly, this will flatten the stitches.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Knitting Blocking Mats
In the section below, we shall discuss some frequently asked questions regarding the best knitting mats on the market.
Q: What are the uses of a knitting blocking mat?
A: Blocking boards offer an easy and convenient way to achieve a professional-finish and exceptional-looking project.
They play a role in helping you finish your work beautifully and provide a smooth surface to shape your project.
Q: Can I knit without a blocking mat?
A: Yes, it’s possible to knit patterns and projects without a blocking board, but you’ll not enjoy the professional finishing a blocking board offers.
Without a blocking mat, it’s easy to encounter mistakes when aligning your stitches correctly, and your work may look shabby in the end.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
Our list of the best blocking mats consists of some pretty amazing options.
However, if you’re still not decided on which one to choose, I would suggest our editor’s choice, the KnitIQ Blocking Mats.
These are pretty amazing blocking mats that seem to tick all the boxes for the best blocking mats.
First, they are a durable option and will survive extended needle piercing without losing their rigidity.
More importantly, they are thick enough to hold your project in place yet soft enough to allow you to remove the pins without any hassle.
Also, the 0.7 inches will let you drive the pins deep, without the worry of scratching your table or under working surface.
And that’s not all!
The grid lines are accurately labeled and align perfectly, so it becomes simple to align your project for a neat and professional look.