Have you ever wondered what the term 'blocking' refers to in the world of crochet and knitting? Did you know that it’s an important step towards a finished and perfect piece, giving it an identity of its own? scroll to read more about different ways of blocking...
Blocking is usually done at two stages:
When you make individual joining motifs or blocks, such as squares for blankets, garments etc.
When you have completed your project as a whole, for example a doily, shawl, sweater, scarf or a blanket not made with separate components.
Apart from this, blocking is also done in the beginning of a project when you create a ‘swatch’ to assess the gauge of the yarn/thread you will need, or to estimate the size of your finished item after washing.
Why is blocking important?
It gives shape and drape to your wearable.
If your pattern consists of textures or lacework, then blocking helps you accentuate the intricate design, enhancing the beauty of your finished piece.
If you’re knitting, it helps flatten off the curling fabric.
It also helps increase the size of the garment depending on the type of blend in your chosen yarn.
Blocking is usually optional for products like beanies and cushion covers because they maintain their shape as containers.
How is blocking done and what are the materials required?
For most blocking processes, water is sufficient. However, if a finished piece requires a certain level of stiffness, then a starch spray may be used.
You may need some of these materials depending on the method of blocking:
rust proof pins
blocking board / kids’ play mat / yoga mat
1. Soaking method:
mostly used for wool, animal and plant fibers
Soak the garment for 15-20 minutes until the water is completely absorbed. Squeeze out the water without wringing. Lay it out on a clean towel and roll it out to remove excess water. Spread the garment onto the blocking board and pin it with the help of knit blockers (use separate pins to block if it’s a lace item). Shape it as you need working from the center outward.
2. Wet spray method:
mostly used for cotton
Spray water on the fabric to wet it. Then follow the above method of spreading the item on a blocking board and pinning while shaping it. If additional stiffness is required, use starch in water or use ready-to-use starch spray.
3. Steam blocking method:
mostly used for acrylics
Pin the finished piece onto the blocking board first and then hold a steam iron a few inches above the fabric without touching it. Bringing it too close or touching it to the fabric will burn the acrylic fibers.
Blocking is usually not as fun a task as weaving in the ends, but it’s still an important step towards a perfect finish. I hope this post has helped you with an overview of the blocking process.