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Blocking the crochet pieces is something that I have ignored for a very long time. I am self taught crocheter and so kind of never had anyone to tell me what blocking actually was. But since I started doing it trust me it is the best trick that explored.
When crocheting with natural fingers like cotton, wool silk etc or the manmade fibres like acrylic or nylon. All need a little help settling down giving your crochet or knitting piece a perfect finish and look.
There are a number of different methods for blocking depending on the type of fiber that you used.
There are a few methods that can be applied to the same type of fiber. like for cotton both we blocking and spray blocking works well. We will discuss this in detail later in this post.
When should you block your crochet?
If you are crocheting something that is a single piece project. Then block it once it is complete. On the other hand if you are crocheting snitching that has separate pieces that need to be joined later then block the pieces first the join them together.
But again there is no rule as such. but this works better.
Projects that need blocking
Not every crochet piece needs blocking. Any fitted piece like a hat or a cushion cover would do just fine without blocking.
Here are some examples of projects that need blocking and those that do not.
Projects that need blocking
Projects that work well without blocking
Tools used for blocking
A blocking board is a soft foam boards which comes in pieces that ca nee joined together to make a large surface. This need not be bought. For years I’ve used a diy board made with styrofoam sheet covered with a cotton cloth. It basically gives you a flat clean surface that can hold pins to keep you crochet in shape.
These are similar to sewing pins and I sometimes use sewing pins too for blocking. But there are a few differences and certain things that you should keep in mind. The pins that you use should be rust proof. This is most important as in wet blocking the crochet piece will be wet and if the pins rust it will leave a permanent stain on the piece.
Other than this the pins should be sharp pointed in order to prevent fraying of the thread or yarn. And these should be sturdy and should not bend easily.
As the name suggests blocking wire are long wires used to keep the piece in shape while you do the process of blocking. These are useful for big projects like shawls, afghans etc so that you can avoid putting in 100’s of pins. These are weaved in the edges of the project and then stretched with just a few pins.
A spray bottle comes in handy if you are going for wet blocking or spray blocking. Both the methods are quite similar.
A steam iron or a steamer will come in handy when you are doing steam blocking or heat blocking. I always use my steam iron and it does the job just fine.
If you are doing wet blocking the fabric can not the dripping wet and most affective way of removing access water is rolling it in a clean absorbent towel.
If you are blocking a piece that has to have a certain finished size, like grannies squares. Use a measuring tape to ensure that all the pieces are of the same size. Stretch them to the correct size and then block them.
Different blocking methods
Wet blocking methods includes soaking the piece completely in water for a few minutes so that the water is nicely absorbed in the fiber. Then gently squeeze out the extra water but ensure now the wring that fabric. Then stretching it in shape. Spread it on the blocking board and hold it in shape if needed with help of blocking pins. Let it dry completely. This method works best on cotton fibres.
Steam blocking in used for acrylic yarns which do not respond well to well blocking. The steam provides slight moisture and heat helps relax the acrylic fibre. But a word of caution here. Stream blocking is irreversible and too much heat can melt the fiber spoiling your long hours of labour. So it is advisable to be extra careful when steam blocking. If you are using a steam iron be careful not to touch the iron to the fabric. You just need to hover the iron over the fabric at least an inch above it.
This is a method I rarely use but it is very affective with acrylic fiber. I use it on my long stem flowers that I make with acrylic yarns. Here you hover the piece directly over the flame of a candle melting the tiny fibres and giving it a neat finish. Again this method too is irreversible and so you have to be extra careful not to over do it. I’ve burned one of my flower when I first experimented with this. Lesson learned the hard way😬.
This is a method similar to wet blocking but here you do not soak the fabric in water. Just stretch it in shape and hold with blocking pins then spear it with water till it is damp.
Let it dry completely.
This is my favourite method of blocking as it creates me favourite crochet pieces. My lace christmas ornaments, Snowflakes, lace Easter eggs, and fairy lights.
You can buy the pattern for these on my etsy shop here:
Starch blocking involves blocking the piece with fabric stiffener and making it hold its shape even more rigidly. Like applying undiluted strong liquid starch will make the cotton piece rock hard making it suitable for lace ornaments or bowls.
If you are still confused it is a good idea to practice on a swatch.