Blocking your crochet is something that many people overlook, after all, when you’ve spent month’s crocheting all those shapes to make a fab blanket that last thing you want to do is wait any longer! But it really can make a huge difference to your final result, and not only that but it will also make joining your motifs a whole lot easier!
Put simply, blocking is the process of making your crochet lie flat and to straighten out any wobbly edges that can occur because of fibre types or slight differences in tension (if you make a load of squares, take a look at the first and last ones that you made, you’ll probably notice slight differences as your tension relaxes or improves). By getting the fibres wet you are essentially helping them to relax (a bit like how when you wash a new jumper for the first time it may shrink or change the drape ever so slightly). Most people do this with the help of a spray bottle and plain water, but there are alternative methods which are normally used for blocking larger projects like lacy shawls or scarves, which involve submerging your crochet in water then drying flat (often between towels).
There are a few important things to consider when attempting to block a piece of crochet. Firstly, your fibre type is important – wet blocking works best with real wool or blends, but has little effect on synthetic fibres like acrylic. Cottons will respond to wet blocking to a degree, but can also be ironed or steamed. Acrylics can be tricky to block as the fibres won’t ‘relax’ like natural fibres do, but you can iron or steam it on a very low setting – but be warned – remember that acrylic is basically plastic, so too high a temperature and you risk melting your crochet (and ruining your iron!)
You also need to remember that blocking isn’t a miracle cure – it will help correct any slight difference in size, but if your shapes are too small or large it’s not going to magically fix that. Many blocking boards will come with holes or guidelines for specific sized shapes. When you come to laying out your shape for blocking, you want your shape to be ever so slightly stretched (not too much though, you want your edges to be pinned out straight without having to force it into shape).
There are various types of blocking boards available, ranging in materials and price. Foam boards are particularly good as you can also use pins to hold it your crochet in place if you have more detailed shapes. A top tip from us is if you are blocking larger shapes/projects, you can often get large interlocking foam mats that are used for children’s rooms/workshop spaces that are normally quite cheap and work a treat! With the print edition of issue 87 of Simply Crochet we also included our fab little foam blocking board, which is perfect for granny squares, triangle and diamonds!
But if you’ve never tried blocking crochet before, then don’t worry – we’re here to help! We’ve made this handy quick tutorial video to show you just how easy it is to achieve crochet perfection!
Now that you’ve mastered blocking shapes, why not try hooking up our fabulous picnic blanket by Vicky Gorry. The pattern is available in our bonus Crochet Home booklet that also came with issue 87 (in both the print and digital editions). It’s brought to you in association with Yarn and Colors and includes handy step-by-step instructions on how to join your motifs too.
Simply Crochet issue 87 is still available to purchase online from our back issues website here. Issue 87 is also available as a digital edition, for Apple phones and tablets, Android phones and tablets, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and to read through Zinio as PDFs. Click here to find the right version for you.