Published: 20 January 2014
Blocking hats, gloves and socks
These items were for sale at recycling centre I am often surprised - and delighted - by what I notice in the recycling centre near where I live. I had to go home for my camera the day I found several hat, glove and mitten boards for sale. I really did not need any more but a hat board and mitten boards found their way home. It is good that someone had the sense to donate these as it was a pleasure to see, and almost all sold.
The square scarves on the left of the photo were handwoven in Voe, Shetland. The blue/grey one now belongs to me.
I have no memory of anything other than a dinner plate of an appropriate size being used to dress (block) berets but obviously some people had wooden ones in different sizes. The holes made drying a bit faster. I am not sure if the smallest ones are big enough for hats but no-one has suggested what other use they had.
To prepare a beret for dressing, use a blunt needle to pass a strong cotton thread through the cast on stitches. Wash the beret, pull it over the board, straighten it, then pull the cotton thread tight and tie in a bow. When the beret is dry, remove the cotton thread and it is ready to wear.
I seldom knit berets but do knit hats (for example Acht hat on my pattern pages) which I put on a cylindrical food container, diameter very slightly bigger than the finished size you need.
Gloves, mittens and socks all had specially made wooden boards. Sometimes there was a wooden piece for the thumbs but we always used the handle of a knife.
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Shetland is the most northerly group of Scottish islands. Apart from mainland Scotland, the other near neighbours are Norway to the east and the Faroe Islands to the north west.