Blocking is an essential technique for most knitted items. Shawls and scarves with lace patterns open up and show their stuff after they're blocked, and sweaters are infinitely easier to seam when the pieces have been blocked flat to the correct measurements. Blocking can seem like a tricky proposition, but if you have the right tools, and a little know-how, it's really a snap.
The first element is a good blocking surface. I am loving Cocoknits Knitters' Block, which is a set of 18 interlocking EVA foam pads each with a fiber top. The foam bottom protects the surface where you place your mats and holds your T-pins nice and securely. The fiber provides a gentle gripping surface that keeps your fabric in place and helps move moisture away while your fabric dries. The fiber topping also makes the blocks heat resistant -- essential for steam blocking or lightly pressing your fabric!
You can arrange the blocks in any configuration to block a long shawl or pull out just what you need for a single sweater piece. The handy gingham cloth woven with 1" squares makes it a breeze to not only measure your fabric, but ensure that your pieces block out straight and true.
The whole kit, blocks, pins, and cloth come in a handy jute tote back so everything you need is right there when you need it and easily stowed in the closet when you don't