Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DIY yarn blocker

A real fiber find: An inexpensive and easy-to-store tool.

I like to work with light-weight yarns so I've been focusing on spinning single ply yarns. To set the twist to achieve a fairly balanced yarn, that is, one that maintains as little twist and doesn't want to twist back on itself, I've jerry-rigged a clothes line with weighted rods. For the most part, it worked, but it was how most jerry-rigged fixes are.

I hadn't considered making or buying anything more until I spied the pile of PVC pipes and connectors someone (Thank you, whoever you are!) had brought to the guild meeting. (Most guilds recycle equipment among its members for free, for sale or for a donation to the guild.) This was something I needed!

An instruction sheet accompanied the pieces and is attributed to Vonne Grunza who calls it a Yarn Blocker/Display Rack. I don't know if--or even how--she sold these and have been unable to locate her to ask. Whatever, it's a clever design--inexpensive, easy to make and  breaks down to store. Mine came in a long, narrow cotton bag and takes little space.

Last week's blog, which focused on my dyeing, brought a comment from Boud, who said, "That rack looks like something I would build from PVC pipe and connectors! To go with my niddy noddy and embroidery frame made that way!"

And she's absolutely right! A few pieces of 3/4 inch PVC plastic pipe and some connectors is all that's necessary. I made a couple modifications to the original plan by adding a crossbar to the base and a bit of glue to a few of the joints to add stability. (Thanks to M. for directing operations!) Most hardware stores have all the pieces. If you can't find pre-cut lengths, borrow or buy a PVC pipe cutter.

Do it yourself yarn blocker

  • PVC plastic pipe, 3/4 inch. 
    • Two 4:-ft lengths
    • Three 2-ft lengths
    • Four 1-ft lengths
  • Connectors (Numbered parts correspond to numbers on diagram)
    • (1) Four elbow connectors, 3/4"(upper crossbar and lower back crossbar)
    • (2) Two T-connectors, 3/4" (Connects two 1-ft lengths for sides of base)
    • (3) Two T-connectors, 1" arms/ 3/4" single (Larger 1" opening slides over the upright pipe.)
    • (4) Two 3/4" caps or in-line connectors (Stabilizes front of base)
    • PVC plastic glue, clear
  1. Glue is optional, but adds stability and when applied to only a few places, the blocker still breaks down for convenient storage. (Numbers and arrows point to glue points.)
    1. (G1) Glue elbows to each end of two of the 2-ft pipes. (Upper and back base crossbars)
    2. (G2) Glue ends of remaining 2-ft pipe into the 3/4" opening in the larger T-Connector. (Sliding crossbar)
    3. (G3) Glue one end of each 1-ft pipes into each of the 3/4" T-connector ends.  Make two. (Side bases)
    4. (G4) Glue a cap on one end of each side base. (Stabilizes base)
Yarn blocker parts and assembly diagram
To assemble:
  1. Connect a 2-ft length crossbar to each back end of the side bases.
  2. Insert a 4-ft pipe upright into each of the two T-connectors in the middle of the side bases.
  3. Put the upper crossbar and the sliding crossbar through yarn skein(s), slide the sliding crossbar onto both uprights and connect the upper crossbar.
  4. Weight the sliding crossbar as desired.


  1. What a great diagram for a really useful tool!

  2. thanks so much! the directions and diagram are what i have been searching for!!!