If you are someone who crochets a lot of doilies or motifs such as granny squares, you might already own a doily stretcher. However, these are usually vintage and can be rather pricey. Another inexpensive way to block a motif is by using a Styrofoam board or square. Lay your item down, pin around it and then steam or spray it with clear water. However, I had an afghan involving a number of large granny squares. I thought I needed something that would be quick and easy to use – like a Blocking Board.
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I took a flat piece of wood, cleaned it, making sure it was smooth. My squares were twelve inches by twelve inches so I took my measuring yardstick and a permanent marker (since I didn’t want the ink to come off on my project) and marked every half inch along the square’s edges. However, when I began to pound the nails in, I realized I only needed my board to have a nail every inch.
At first I thought it would be better to use a nail without a head. Maybe it was my pounding, but the tops of them turned out very sharp and disfigured. I switched to 1 -1/4 inches or 3.18cm nails with good-sized heads. I added nails to each corner and then every inch in between. I pounded until the nail was about half way into the board.
I made sure the nails were wiped clean since I would be working with the water and being metal rust can be an issue. The nails were galvanized but the packaging warned, “Galvanization . . . does not eliminate corrosion and/or staining due to various conditions such as high humidity”.
I make sure the nails were wiped clean before I put down a new square. My squares were dark in color so it wasn’t as important as if I was using something with white or ecru. Of course, another option was to paint the nails with a clear varnish or nail polish. However, I encountered no problems without the added protection and I used the daily board for several weeks.
I took an old face cloth and placed it inside the nail square. Then I picked up my motif, looped each corner of the motif over the corner nails. Next I looped along each edge, stretching the motif as I went. When I finished, I could either steam the motif or spray it with clear water. I sprayed with clear water until the motif was damp. When dried, I easily lifted the loops over the nail heads.
The granny squares came out the same size and it was easy to do. The board proved to be a great help. It turned what could have been an irritating project into a pleasure.