#Crochet #TipsTuesday: Blocking Basics for Crocheters and Knitters

While some crocheters and knitters block all of their projects and others block none, most seem to take a middle ground by blocking some of their projects. If you’ve been hesitant about blocking your work, follow these easy tips to find out how to block your crochet and knit projects for best results.

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In this post, I’ll explain what blocking is, what tools you’ll need for blocking your crochet and knit projects, and how to block your crochet and knit projects using spray blocking, wet blocking, and steam blocking. I’ve even embedded video tutorials in case you are a visual learner.

But first, what is blocking anyway?

Consider for a moment the life your yarn has led. It started out on an animal, as a plant, or as a synthetic material.

If you are crocheting or knitting with wool, your yarn started it’s life on a sheep!

Then, through several stressful processes, it was transformed into yarn. It may have been wound into a hank or a skein as it travelled to the yarn shop, and then you may have wound it up again into a ball when you got it home. It may have sat like that for weeks, months, or years before you began crocheting or knitting.

And then, you may have stitched it tightly or loosely, and you may have even ripped back your project a few times. Finally, it was transformed into a particular project. Once you finish off, the yarn begins the process of relaxing into its final fabric form.

Blocking is a way of speeding up (and controlling) that relaxation process. When you block a project, you nudge it (or force it!) into its final form while making your project easier to wear or use.

Blocking is also a great way to adjust sizing and shape, and even to fix minor inconsistencies in your project after it is complete.

So, how do I get started blocking?

Blocking requires a small amount of equipment. The most commonly used are pins, blocking wires, blocking boards or mats, a small spray bottle, and a steam iron or steamer.

I use the WeCrochet Premium Blocking Mats set for most projects. It includes interlocking mats and 100 T-Pins.
  • Pins: Pins are used to hold your projects in place while blocking. Because blocking pins will be exposed to water, always choose stainless steel or another material that is resistant to rust. T-pins or quilter’s pins both work well.
  • Blocking wires: Many crocheters and knitters find blocking wires helpful for blocking large projects, like sweater backs or blankets, or curved projects, like crescent shawls. Blocking wires are rust-resistant wires available in several sizes that you can use to guide your project into the right final shape or size without leaving “pin points.” In general, you need fewer pins when blocking with wires, so they are particularly suitable for delicate projects.
I use (and love) Lazadas blocking wires.
I use Lazadas blocking wires for shawls. Read my review here.
  • Blocking boards or mats: Blocking boards or mats provide the surface to allow your project to dry while blocking. Because you will be securing your project with pins, it helps if the surface is one that allows pins to be inserted and removed easily. I used to use children’s foam play mats, but I found that they weren’t that great over time. The letters would pop out with pins still inserted (not safe for cats), and I was always worried about transferring dyes onto my yarn accidentally.
As you can see, I use children's mats.
I used to use children’s foam play mats for blocking.

Now I use the WeCrochet Premium Blocking Mats. You can piece these mats together to create the size you need for your project. One side is white, and the other side has a grid in inches. That is so helpful when blocking motifs and other projects to size.

  • Spray bottle: Water is the key ingredient for blocking. A spray bottle helps you to apply just the right amount, or add some more as needed for a challenging piece.
  • Steam: Some methods of blocking require steam. You may find a steam iron or a garment steamer helpful.

How do I block my project?

There are several methods of blocking. The most common are spray blocking, wet blocking, and steam blocking. Many patterns include blocking tips or instructions, but if you substitute a different yarn than recommended in the pattern, you may need to change to a different method because each of these methods impacts yarn differently.

If your project includes multiple pieces that will be assembled, such as for a sweater knit in pieces or a bag, it is generally advisable to block each piece before assembly. This allows you to nudge the pieces into the best sizes and shapes for assembly, and avoids puckering after seaming.

If your pattern doesn’t include blocking instructions, or if you are working with your own design or a yarn substitution, remember that it is easier to “block more” than it is to “unblock.” You may want to start with the least invasive method (spray blocking) and get progressively more aggressive about blocking if your final project hasn’t achieved the look you wanted.

  • Spray blocking. This method is the least aggressive and avoids a flattened appearance. It is suitable for use with all types of yarn. To spray block your project:
    • Pin your project to shape or size, using as many pins as necessary to avoid adding artificial points to your final project.
    • Spray with cold or room temperature water and adjust pins as necessary.
    • Allow your project to dry naturally and then gently remove pins.
    • You can watch a helpful spray blocking video tutorial by BobWilson123 below.
  • Wet blocking. This method is slightly more invasive and is most suited to projects that will be washed frequently or which need significant shaping adjustments (like lace projects that need to “open up”). To wet block your project:
    • Wash your project (or pieces) following the washing instructions for your yarn. If you are hand washing, do not wring your project out. Instead, wrap the wet project in a towel and gently press out excess water.
    • Pin your project to shape or size, using as many pins as necessary to avoid adding artificial points to your final project.
    • If you need to, spray with cold or room temperature water to adjust pins as necessary.
    • Allow your project to dry naturally and gently remove pins.
    • You can watch a helpful wet blocking video tutorial by TL Yarn Crafts below.
  • Steam blocking: This method is the most aggressive blocking technique and should be used with caution on non-elastic yarns that tend to stretch easily. To steam block your project:
    • Pin your project to shape or size, using as many pins as necessary to avoid adding artificial points to your project.
    • Place a pillowcase over the area you are steaming, and apply steam to the project until it is moist.
    • If using a steam iron, avoid pressing the iron directly on the knitted fabric.
    • Allow your project to dry naturally and gently remove pins.
    • You can watch a helpful steam blocking video tutorial by Noor’s Knits below.

Now that you know the basics of blocking, give it a try! Choose the method that is most comfortable for you and seems to work best with the yarn and project you have crocheted or knit.

24 thoughts on “#Crochet #TipsTuesday: Blocking Basics for Crocheters and Knitters”

    • Lisa, this a great question. This really depends on the method you use for blocking, the yarn used in your project, and how much you’ve stretched the project out for blocking. In my experience, most shawls and scarves that have been spray or wet blocked would need only light blocking (if any) after washing. I haven’t blocked any placemats so I can speak to that, but if you want something to keep it’s shape permanently, you may want to use steam blocking.


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