Earlier in this thread, I wrote in about a home-made blocking kit I'd just put together.
I've been using it to great effect and just wanted to let everyone know how it was working.
I went to a welding supply place and bought a tube of 3' "tig rods", stainless steel rods about i/16" thick and three feet long (under $16). At Lowe's, I bought a package of "alphabet blocks", ($16.88) 1 foot square dense foam type blocks you can use to make a floor mat for kids, and a perfect surface to stick pins in.
The alphabet letters separate from the larger blocks, so when I needed a longer size surface to pin an afghan to, I took some blocks from the center portion and left the alphabet letters in place. This gave me a great surface with no sagging because of missing blocks!
The "tig rods" (there were about 34 of them in the tube) have a flattened end that makes threading through the knitted piece so easy. No snags, and easy to overlap on the long sides of the afghans.
So for under $33 I got a killer blocking system! It works SO well, and the finished pieces look finished, very professional! I just put the afghans (all acrylic) in the washer on "hand-wash" or delicate, then take them out damp, thread the stainless wires along the edges, stretch and then pin the rods in place with stainless rust-proof T-pins.
I use a ping-pong table to spread out the blocks, but they'd work just as well on a bed or the floor.
Hope this is useful for you. It's made a huge difference for me and I can finally get a beautiful finish for my projects!
Right now I'm working on yet another afghan (one for each family member! I'm on #6 of 8) and starting to knit winter scarves for my yearly holiday gifts to friends, family and the elderly in the community. They will all get blocked, many at the same time, thanks to the foam blocks and the large number of rods that came in the tube from the welding supply shop.