Why block crochet? What is blocking? How do I go about blocking my finished piece? Keep reading to find answers to these questions and a full tutorial!
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If these are the questions running through your mind right now, you’re in the right place. I will give you a bit of background and show you how it’s done. I promise it is not hard at all!
Why Block Crochet – Wait, What is Blocking?
First, let me explain what blocking is all about. Blocking is a technique used to relax the fibers in your finished piece to set them in a specific shape. There are a few different methods of blocking. The most common and quickest way is steam blocking. This technique is what I will be explaining in more detail in this post. Steam blocking is basically the process of giving steam to a finished piece. Another method is wet blocking which is when the finished piece is immersed in water + wool wash, rinsed gently, and laid flat to dry.
Blocking is an underestimated and often disregarded technique. You must be asking at this point ‘why block crochet?’ or ‘why block knitting?’ I’ll tell you why. Blocking is important for many reasons not just for giving a finishing touch!
Often times, when we are working on a project our gauge fluctuates slightly and sometimes we end up with a wonky/dis-shaped project. Blocking is a way to make all of those stitches uniform and give your project the finished shape you desire. I’ve also noticed that blocking softens the fiber a little which will give you a comfortable garment or blanket ensuring the cozy factor is on point! Sometimes the finished piece will have curling at the edges and will not lie flat. Giving it a little bit of steam will do wonders. Lastly, if your measurements are sometimes off by a little bit, stretching and blocking the finished piece can give you accurate measurements.
Now that you know the background about what blocking is and why it’s so important. Let’s find out what we’ll need to do some steam blocking!
Steam Blocking – Materials
First, let me take you through some of the materials you’ll need. You can also use other alternatives but these are the materials I use. For all of the items, you can click on the picture or the button below it to purchase!
You’ll need a good lightweight steamer or an iron. When I started blocking, I started with my regular iron and it was too heavy for me to work with so I had to constantly take breaks. Then I finally invested in a good steamer and I am so happy because I can go on for longer periods without stopping! This steamer is also great because you can easily hold it horizontally without any water leaking out. It also has a lock button so you get continuous steam and it heats up SUPER fast!
Blocking Board Set
A set of foam boards or something to pin your finished piece on. I use this 1 x 1 in. gridded blocking board set by the Humble Crafter that I bought on Amazon. It has been really helpful when I need to stretch the piece out to specific measurements. This set comes with 100 T-pins and a measuring tape. Alternatively, you can use a thick towel or children’s alphabet mats.
T-Pins and Knit Blockers
You will also need a set of good pins to hold your finished piece in place. I love this set of Knitter’s Pride Blocking T-pins. You get a 2-pack of 50 (rust-resistant) T-pins each to give you a 100 T-pins. Although the blocking board set comes with pins, they get used up very quickly. It’s important to have lots of pins on hand especially if you are blocking a bigger piece like a garment, shawl, or blanket. Alternatively, you could use safety pins but I find the T-pins much easier to position and work with. It’s also important that the T-pins are rust-resistant so you don’t get any rust-stains on your finished piece.
Although not required, I found this set of Knitter’s Pride knit blockers really handy. These are so sturdy and come in a really nice case. Instead of using multiple pins you can just use a block and pin a larger area.
You will also need a measuring tape, this Singer retractable one is my favorite!
Steam Blocking – The How
Steam blocking acrylic yarn (or any other yarn) is really easy as long as you have the right materials. I’ve recorded a little tutorial to take you through all of the steps listed below. You can read through or just head over to the video tutorial to see exactly how to do each step!
- Lay a towel down or pick out how many blocking boards you will need based on the size of your finished piece and piece them together.
- Measure out and pin your finished piece on the blocking boards or towel.
- Fill the steamer with water, plug it in, and turn it on.
- Once the steamer is ready, set the steamer to the lock position and staying about half an inch to an inch above the piece, direct the steam over the piece and slowly steam the pinned piece.
- Continue steaming for a few minutes or until the piece is damp to the touch.
- Leave the piece pinned for a few hours or till the piece is completely dry.
- Unpin and do a happy dance – your finished piece is finally ready! if you are still not satisfied you can repeat the steam blocking a few more times or try wet blocking the piece!
You can really see the difference between the unblocked (curled) and the steam blocked square in this picture. This is why blocking is so important!
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Why block crochet? What is blocking? How do I go about blocking my finished piece? Find answers to these questions and a full tutorial over here!