One of the things about attending lots of lovely wool shows is that Nicola and I spend a lot of time in a car. As I can’t get my head around an automatic gear box she gets to do all the driving and I get to think up new products …. or sleep.
On the way back from Yarndale I was knitting a sock for a sample of our hand-dyed yarn and suggested we stock some blockers for the simple reason that I wanted some. My previous sock blocking involved the kitchen cooling rack.
We started off with a sock blocker and by the time we’d got back to Surrey for some reason a rabbit had been added.
A rabbit sock blocker is quite a hard concept to explain to someone who doesn’t knit, that you want a piece of wood in the shape of a foot with holes in and a rabbit’s head on top. I know I’ve had to do it quite a lot recently. When I drew it out on a paper napkin for Linsay she pointed out that no one was going to buy anything that looked like mad scientist roadkill and that she’d take over rabbit design. It was probably best. After a few test runs and ordering the wrong size wood due to an inability to work in millimetres – mitten blockers anyone? Linsay has produced the cutest mouse mitten and bunny sock blockers ever and who doesn’t like a bit of alliteration?
To get the essential smooth finish the sheets of ply are sanded before cutting, small marks can be taken off with sandpaper afterwards without removing any of the laser burn. Then they’re wiped down, coated with beeswax and hung up to dry. Outside on a sunny day but I’ve put the greenhouse to use when it’s cold.
A rub down with wire wool and another coat of beeswax before being given a final polish with finer grade wire wool to make sure they have a beautifully smooth surface with no chance of snagging.
After a trial with beeswax or varnish we went with the beeswax. The varnish tends to raise the grain on the wood and make it yellower whereas the beeswax can be polished smooth and will be easy to re-apply at home if you feel that your blockers aren’t as water-repellant as they once were. They’ll do many socks before they’d need that though.