It took me a while to get over my fear of blocking, to actually take that first step and try it. Now I laugh at my procrastination. I’m not sure why I had this thought that blocking would be a horrid, despised task to complete a crocheted project. (I mean really, what could be worse than weaving in ends?!?!) A few garments ago, I decided I was going to try and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy (and cheap) it can be. Check out the end of the post for a side by side comparison of the same garment before and after being blocked! But for now, let’s start with the basics.
What is blocking?
A finishing touch! Just like adding a button, a zipper, or another kind of embellishment, blocking is a way to make your garment shine! Though an embellishment can be seen, blocking is just as important. Proper blocking can shape a garment to perfection. Even an older project can be blocked over to help restore its shape. There are two ways to block (wet and dry), but this tutorial will be focusing on Wet Blocking.
It’s easy, I promise! And you don’t need to go out and spend a ton of money on blocking mats (though that is on my wishlist). A lady at my local hobby store showed me what she uses for blocking after regretfully telling me they don’t carry blocking mats. She uses a cardboard Pattern Cutting Board (under $10) found in the fabric section of the store. Find out how to Wet Block using this cardboard cutting board below, and to preserve it for future blocking!
What you need:
- Yarn Label
- Mild Detergent, Water
- Blocking Mats or Pattern Cutting Board as used in this tutorial
- Cling Wrap if using cardboard Pattern Cutting Board
- Tape if using cardboard Pattern Cutting Board
- Measuring Tape
- Rust Proof Pins, T Pins or Pin Blockers
How to Wet Block
- Wash according to yarn label using a mild detergent and lukewarm, clean water. Rinse.
- Using as many towels as needed, place garment between first towel. Roll (like a jelly roll) to absorb as much moisture as possible. Repeat with additional towels if needed. DO NOT TWIST OR WRING as it will result in unwanted stretching beyond correction!
- If using anything cardboard to block your item, place cling wrap down and tape in place. This will preserve the life of the cardboard. Make sure any surface you’re using is clean. Shape your garment or project as desired or by measurements provided. (Wet blocking can increase length, take care not to stretch more than desired.)
- Pin into place. Use measuring tape to ensure proper measurements. Take care not to distort the stitches.
- Air dry until thoroughly dry. Using a fan may speed things up as this process may take 24 hours or more. The more damp the project, the longer it will take to dry.
Though Wet Blocking is most common, Steam Blocking may be better for certain projects whereas certain fibers should not be blocked at all. If you’re unsure, it’s best to block a swatch before the entire project.
- Stitch flexibility will alter the amount a project can be stretched. The garment shown in this tutorial stretched very easily with the lacy fabric.
- Blocking ribbing is not recommended.
- Though not required, it’s best to block pieces of a project before any sewing as the project will lay more flat.
- Weaving in ends before blocking will help secure them in place.
- Climate will play a factor in drying time.
- Make socks? Get yourself some sock blockers!
I hope this tutorial has helped anyone with fears of blocking. Please let me know if you found this tutorial helpful or if you have any tips or tricks to share!