The numerous hours you spent crocheting your vests, sweaters, and jackets will bear fruit only when you are done with the finishing touch. A process known as ‘Blocking’ achieves the finish that completes the product. Blocking provides a professional touch to the crocheted work. It is as simple as spraying the design with water or just immersing it into a tub of water to moisten it. Blocking can also be done by using some heat in the form of applying steam from the steam iron.
Items such as three-dimensional designs or cotton doilies, require a bit of extra shaping using starch or some stiffening agent. The final design helps you determine the appropriate blocking method to use. The type of yarn is also to be given serious consideration. Different types of yarn respond differently to steam, water, and heat; using a wrong method may result in disaster. Thus, before beginning any project, there is a need to ascertain you have the right tools ready at hand.
Crochet Blocking Essential Tools
Firstly, ensure you have the dimension of the finished design readily at hand so that you know what shape you need. Secondly, find a padded, flat surface that is large enough to accommodate the design as you stretch it to fit in its finished measurements. There is a need to pin the piece down on the surface, to ensure the surface is perfectly padded. Anything can work correctly as a padded surface such as the floor, a bed, an ironing boards, a large, sturdy cardboard piece covered in plastic wrap, a mesh or an ironing board.
The other tools required depend on the blocking method you plan to use:
- A large tub or sink
- Ruler or Tape measure
- Several absorbent towels in large size
- Spray bottle
- Straight rustproof pins
- Steam iron
- Thin cotton towels
- Liquid starch, spray starch or fabric stiffener
Choose Your Blocking Method
Blocking methods are in plenty. You can choose from dry, wet or cold. The way you select actually varies depending on the yarn content, your preferences, and the final use.
- A thorough examination of the yarn label will give you an idea of the different fibers combined in it; the most delicate fiber takes superiority or preference. The natural fibers such as cotton, wool, mohair, and linen may be dry or wet- blocked. Some synthetic fibers get ruined with careless blocking. The metallic and novelty threads require special care and are not suitable for blocking. Thus, it is always recommended to do a test swatch to check gauge for any pattern.
- Fibers that can bear heat and moisture will benefit from dry blocking. After deciding on the size and shape, pin the piece into the blocking board. Pins should be kept close together, and they should be evenly spaced so that the fabric is not distorted.
- Smoothen all areas and seams that may be rippled or puckered with your fingers. Hold the steam iron or a steamer a half inch above the item. Move the iron slowly such that it does not touch the fabric. After steaming, keep the piece undisturbed to cool and dry.
- Wet blocking is appropriate for fibers that tolerate submersion. It is about washing and squeezing excess water, but not wringing out water. Pin it using rustproof pins, and for round pieces blow a balloon to the required size and leave the piece undisturbed to dry.
- Cold blocking is for fibers tolerating moisture. Pin on the blocking boards, spray clean water so that the piece is wet. Use extra pins for stubborn areas so that they are flat. Leave it to dry.