Happy feet: the best blockers for perfect handknit socks
Keep your socks looking their best by blocking them on a sock blocker every time you wash them. We share nine of our favourites to try today.
You've probably thought about blocking shawls, or jumpers, but have you thought about blocking your socks? If not, now’s the time!
Don't let intricate stitch patterns get lost on crumpled socks. Sock blockers even out your stitches and show off lace and cable designs to perfection.
In this article, the Gathered team explain how sock blockers can give your knitting a professional finish, and help you choose the best ones for you.
What is a sock blocker?
Blocking is the process of stretching out wet knitting as it dries so that the pattern opens up and the stitches become more uniform. You can get the same effect by pinning the knitting into shape on a blocking board, but sock blockers make the process easier by providing a frame for the socks to dry on instead.
Sock blockers are foot-shaped pieces of flat plastic, wood or metal that you can place into your knitted socks. There's a choice of simple outline frames, or solid shapes with cut-out sections to allow for airflow.
Some blockers feature a hanging hole or hook at the top so they can be attached to a washing line, to help your socks dry more quickly. They may also have measurements printed on them so you can check the length of your socks as you knit.
What size sock blockers should I buy?
For your sock blockers to work properly, they need to be slightly bigger than the size of the socks you want to block. Most sock blockers are labelled using UK, EU or US shoe sizes, though some require the length of your foot in centimetres instead.
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Generally, sock blockers will cover a range of two or three shoe sizes, with the most common being UK adult 5-7. There are also blockers available in babies' and children's sizes.
If you aren't sure what size you need, or you also knit for other people, consider buying an adjustable blocker that can be altered to fit a variety of socks, or a set that includes a number of different sizes.
How to use sock blockers
First get your knitting wet, then place it on the sock blocker to dry. Here's the process we'd follow for socks made with a typical wool and nylon sock yarn:
- Start by washing your socks by hand using warm water and a wool wash such as Soak. Leave the socks to rest for a few minutes in the basin to allow the water to soak into the yarn.
- Rinse off the detergent with fresh water (or skip this step if you're using a no-rinse formula) and then remove the socks from the basin.
- Wrap the socks in a clean towel and gently squeeze out any excess water. Be careful not to wring them out too harshly or rub the fabric against itself as this could cause felting.
- Slide the socks onto a pair of sock blockers and leave them to dry. Either place them flat on a blocking board or towel, or hang them up on a clothes airer or washing line.
9 of the best sock blockers
1. KnitPro Aqua Sock Blockers
Give your knits the professional look with KnitPro's Aqua Sock Blockers. Ideal for wet-blocking flat and hanging up, they'll stretch crumpled socks into shape to show off all the stunning stitch details.
These Aqua blockers are made from super-smooth acrylic, meaning you don't have to worry about your socks snagging on rough edges. Find them in three sizes to suit EU foot lengths 35-37.5, 38-40 and 41 plus.
You could also use them as photo props to get your finished socks ready for their social media debut. Slide your socks on and snap away!
2. Baby Sock Blockers
Tiny, intricate stitch patterns on baby socks can get lost in rumpled fabric, so spread them out and show them off with this pair of mini wooden sock blockers. Lightweight and easy to hang, each wooden blocker measures 11cm heel to toe, 13cm heel to top and 4.5cm wide.
3. Pony Woolly Hugs Sock Blockers
Give your socks some shape with these Pony sock blockers, made in collaboration with designer Woolly Hugs (Veronika Hug). There are four sizes available (4, 5-6, 7 and 8-9 UK), each made in a different glossy shade of colour anodised aluminium, so it's easy to find the one you need.
The Woolly Hugs blockers are beautifully rounded with smooth curves to coax your socks into their final form. Use them to open up stitch patterns such as cables and lace, which always look their best after being relaxed and expanded with blocking.
4. Blossom Sock Blockers
"What's better than a thing of beauty?" ask Tribe Yarns. "A functional thing of beauty!" Their stunning Blossom Sock Blockers score top marks for both. You can buy them singly or in pairs, in sizes small (3-4.5 UK, 35-37 EU), medium (4.5-6 UK, 37-39 EU) and large (6-7.5 UK, 39-41 EU).
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5. Bryson Stainless Steel Sock Blockers
These stainless steel sock blockers look like foot-shaped coat hangers! The hook at the top means they can be hung up to dry with your other laundry. They're sold in pairs and come in three sizes: small (children), medium (women's) and large (men's).
6. Adjustable Sock Blockers
Why buy lots of blockers when you can just get one adjustable pair? These nifty tools have an ankle size of 23x7.7cm and a variable foot length – perfect for gift knitting! Choose from three different designs, two with hanging loops and one without.
7. Sheep Sock Blocker
We can't resist this baa-rilliant birch ply blocker with its sweet sheep and lamb cut-outs. It's sold individually, so you can buy the exact number you need, and comes in shoe size 5-7 UK (38-41 EU). Look out for BlotzCraftsBySue's other blockers with different sizes and patterns too.
8. Set of Four Sock Blockers
Knit for the whole family with this set of four wooden sock blockers. They start at shoe size S (35-37 EU) and go all the way up to XL (43-45 EU). Made from 4mm thick sanded wood, these blockers are study, smooth and stylish.
9. Sock Blockers With Measure
No more searching for your measuring tape! With a handy ruler on the side, this blocker enables you to check the length of your socks as you knit. It comes in sizes for UK adult 2-12 (38-45 EU), or you can contact the maker to request a custom size.
Don't skip the final step…
It can be so tempting to skip the blocking stage when you're eager to wear your finished knits, but taking the time to block them properly is always worth the effort.
It's possible to stretch your socks using T-pins and foam mats, but you'll find it much easier with a pair of sock blockers, so take your pick from our favourites above and start blocking!
Block your socks with Gathered
Get the best results from your new sock blockers with Gathered's essential guide on how to block knitting projects.
As well as spending her working life thinking about yarn, Sarah designs knitting patterns in her spare time, too!
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