Definition 1. The thing we knitters sometimes forget to to do at the end of making a sweater.
Definition 2. The thing we knitters remember to do at the of making a sweater, except we don't have that expensive blocking thingy in order to complete the task, so we still don't bother with it.
If you are in the Definition #2 category, and you don't want to spend oodles of money on a giant blocking pad (or you don't have space for something that large), I have an easy and fairly cheap solution for you. Simply purchase an interlocking child's puzzle play mat and save your money to purchase more yarn. Save your space to store that yarn.
I purchased mine through an online children's retailer. Their website seems to be totally outdated at the moment, and I couldn't find the actual product any more. However, I did find this one from Overstock, available on Sears website. And if you're a pureist and want an actual knitter's product, KnitPicks sells these.
You can search yourself for 'puzzle foam mats' or look in stores that sell children's' products. Be cautious of exercise quality and gym mats -- some of them are way overpriced. I certainly didn't pay anymore than $20 for my set, including shipping. The set I got has a total of nine squares that are one square foot each. It's just enough to block one sweater. You may need more than one set if you're going to block a larger garment or a shawl.
No excuses knitters. Start blocking.
* (Craftsy has a great tutorial here if you're wondering what 'blocking' really is...)
PS: Want more cardigan details? Go here, for the previous post with links to the pattern.