Your work probably looks good just off from the hook, but it’s not finished until it has been blocked. That’s the truth. Have you ever heard about blocking? Do you know how to block your work? Most don’t know what it is or how to do it, and that’s why I’ve been asked to provide information.
Not every yarn, or thread, is suitable for blocking, but most are. In the case of acrylic yarn it remains in its straight format long after you have crocheted it into many different twists, bends and angles. In my opinion, and in my constant practice, acrylic yarn must be blocked in order to set the stitches and to give it a finished sheen. I always use a pressing cloth, too. If you are ever in doubt, look at the product’s label for pressing instructions, and test on a crochet sample of the yarn/thread.
So, what will you need to block your work?
- Steam iron or hand held steamer.
- Blocking surface: Ironing board, flat & smooth surface of a bed, carpeted floor covered with towels or blankets.
- Rustproof pins & tape measure.
- Pressing cloth: Muslin, cotton, or thick high-pile towels
- Spray bottle
Very useful on work with a high relief, such as cables, popcorns, crocodile stitches. Lay your work flat onto an ironing surface. Pin it into place making sure it is arranged straight, square, symmetrical, etc. Make sure the item measures the same as the pattern requires. Pin it into place. Hold the steam iron (or device) slightly above the surface of your work and then allow the steam to come in contact with the surface. DO NOT touch the item with the iron. If necessary run your fingers along cables and/or other elevated portions of the work just to smooth them a bit. A LITTLE BIT! Let it cool and air dry and then remove. If the item is two-sided, such as a scarf, then turn it over and steam block the other side.
Pin the item in place and let it dry naturally. This is the most common method used to block doilies and other thread crocheted items. Cotton thread and yarn really respond well to wet blocking. Sometimes the item is lightly starched before it is pinned into place.
SPRAY STRETCH BLOCKING:
Spay the item, smooth it, and place it onto rack a stretching rack. Then, start crocheting another motif / granny square. This is a very clever homemade rack.
Or, stretch the item to its required dimensions, pin it in place, spray and let it air dry.
PRESSING CLOTH BLOCKING:
Honestly, I use this method almost exclusively, except for doilies. It sets the stitches, does not allow the surface of the iron to come into direct contact with the crocheted item, the steam from the iron and from the wet cloth gives a double steaming, and it is rather quick. The item is pinned onto the blocking surface and then the wet (not dripping) cloth is smoothly laid on top. I use the lowest iron temperature possible to produce steam and then gently place the into onto the wet cloth, listen for it to sizzle for a couple of seconds, and then slowly move the iron all over the item. Remove cloth and pins, let it air dry, then remove. If your item has a raised texture, such as waffle stitches, then use a very fluffy bath towel as your pressing cloth, and put one underneath the item, too!
About E. Christina Dabis-Appleby:
I live in the Gold Country area of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California in a very small community known as Grass Valley. We’re so small that we don’t have to use our turn-signals because we all know where everyone else is going. I’ve crocheted for 45 years and began by making a rug with a J-hook. Eventually I found that crochet was cheaper than a psychiatrist and I began crocheting very complex doilies: I effectively blocked out stresses with the demanding accuracy of crochet. Well, it worked! I prefer thread crochet most of the time, but in the winter I keep warm with a lap full of worsted weight. Visit my brag website: http://www.ladyfiddler.com Yes, I also play fiddle, designed and made stained glass, was an elected official for 39 years, and used to ride a motorcycle, too. I am married to Paul Appleby and we met on the Internet 12 years ago, quite by accident. He moved from Winchester, England to be with me. We fell into laughter and every day is filled with happiness.