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 lots 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 washing or submerging your crochet in water then drying flat (often between towels).
We know how eager you will be to finish your crochet, and blocking your crochet can seem like a tedious extra step, but it’s definitely worth it! Blocking will help to stop your double crochet fabric from curling at the corners, and is essential for getting your delicate crochet lace stitch patterns looking perfect! However, 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. Equally, you don’t always need to block crochet, it all depends on how the fabric is behaving – if your fabric is lying flat and is the size you want then it’s not completely necessary to block it.
You can fashion a blocking board out of a folded up towel, use an ironing board, or even a mattress, but a piece of thick foam works particularly well. For blocking motifs like granny squares or hexagons, you can get special blocking boards with holes and wooden pegs, which means you can layer up motifs and block several at a time. Check out our guide on the best blocking boards for knitting and crochet for more advice!
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!
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!
There are various ways to block crochet fabric, but the three main methods are dry, wet or steam. If you’ve used a lurex, novelty or delicate yarn, these shouldn’t be blocked at all. Most cotton or linen yarns can be wet or steam blocked. Some wool and other animal fibre yarns can be steam or dry blocked. Other fibres (such as mohair, synthetics and wool blends) should be dry blocked. Check your yarn’s ball band for information on how to treat it. The safest and gentlest way to block any crochet fabric is the dry blocking method – here’s how:
You Will Need
- Blocking Board, you could also use a folded up towel or ironing board
- rust-proof pins
- Tape measure
- Water spray bottle
plus drying time which differs dependent on project/yarn type
Lay the item out flat on your blocking board. Pin out the item with rust-proof pins or blocking wires to match measurements given in your pattern (check the schematic for garments). Start pinning at the corners. Don’t pull too tight with your first few pins – you can go back and reposition them if needed. When inserting pins, don’t place them in the actual stitches like in the picture below, or you risk distorting them.
Instead, place pins inside the last row or round of stitches like this. The body of the pin should rest against a whole stitch or chain. Tilt the pin so the point is closer to the centre of the fabric than the head – this way, the force of holding the fabric out will be balanced by the pin facing inwards.
Add another set of pins halfway between the previous set of pins. Ease the shape out slowly, checking the size with the tape measure as you go. Continue adding pins halfway between the previous set of pins, moving evenly around the edges and keeping the edges straight, until the item is the size stated in the pattern.
Once your item is pinned in place, spritz it with water and leave it to dry. When the crochet fabric is dry, remove the pins and you’ll be ready for any seaming.
How to wet block crochet
To wet block a fabric, wash it before you pin it out. Follow the symbols on your yarn’s ball band to wash the item appropriately, then place it onto a towel and roll up to squeeze out excess moisture (do not wring!). Gently pull it back into shape, then pin it out following the dry block process and leave it to dry.
How to steam block crochet
To steam block a fabric, follow the dry block process, but instead of spritzing with water, steam it with an iron. To do this, set the iron to its steam setting, at the temperature advised on the yarn’s ball band. Hold the iron close to the crochet fabric, but don’t touch it. Apply steam, moving the iron slowly over the fabric. The aim is to make the item damp from the steam. Leave to dry.
If your item is a 3D shape such as a hat, place it over a plate or other item to hold it in the shape and size you want, then spritz with water and leave to dry.