It’s been a while since I’ve posted – to be perfectly honest I was just kind of stuck what to write on. But for the first time in my crochet career I finally got around to trying blocking my pieces! I’ve blocked three pieces now and I’m a little mad at myself for not doing this in the past, especially with all of the triangle shawls I make!
Blocking is the process of shaping a finished piece using water, hot steam, some foam boards and some pins. In the past I always thought it was kind of unnecessary because I never had any issues with the edges of my pieces lying straight or anything being crooked. However, as I wrote in my last post I’ve been doing a lot of Tunisian crochet recently and with that came the necessity of blocking. Tunisian crochet by nature of its structure just has a mind of its own and wants to curl up on the edges, but blocking is the easiest way to get it to lay flat.
The first thing I blocked was the Tunisian simple stitch cowl I made, which was real curly on the bottom edge because I was using too small of a hook and had my tension much too tight.
One thing I learned Tunisian can’t fix is a major tension issue like the one I had on the bottom of this piece! Blocking can certainly fix edges curling from tight tension but it can’t shrink loose tension. It did end up fixing the curling completely. This piece was made using a wool/nylon blend, so I decided to do a full wet block. So I filled my kitchen sink with slightly warm water and a splash of fabric softener, and completely submerged the piece and let it sit in there for just a few minutes because it didn’t need to be softer, just completely soaked. Then i squeezed some of the water out of it (NOT WRINGING IT) and rolled it in a big beach towel to get as much water out as possible, then pinned it down to my blocking mats and let it dry. The result was that the curling had been completely fixed and I was able to seam the square into a cowl much easier than I would have if I hadn’t blocked it because the edged were perfectly straight (except for where my tension problem was!).
The next thing I blocked was a big Tunisian triangle shawl I made with Hobbii Twister in Light Elegance. The pattern I used is the Loveland Lite shawl by Toni of TLYarnCrafts. It was a large project and the last row I bound off a little too tightly, so the center tip really wanted to curl up. I wanted to block it anyway to practice so I decided to see if I could fix that corner with some aggressive pins.
I used the same method with this piece with a full wet block – except I had to get a little creative with finding a spot in my house I could lay this huge piece out flat where the cats couldn’t reach it! The edges as a whole were already pretty dead straight so I pinned those down pretty gently but on that center corner I made sure to give it a good stretch to lay it out flat and pin it down with some very close-together pins. And that did the trick, as you can see in the photo above the center corner is laying and draping perfectly!
The last piece I tried blocking on was a baby blanket. The pattern is also by Toni – the Bias Tunisian Baby Blanket. Now, this one was made using an acrylic yarn, which doesn’t respond well to wet blocking, so I tried out steam blocking for this. This piece was laying pretty well except for two of the corners that were wanting to pop up so I pinned it down on my mats and applied hot steam using the steam function on my iron. If you ever try this with acrylic yarn make sure to not actually touch the yarn with the iron because it will definitely melt it!
You can see the corners in the first picture curling up quite a bit, the middle is while it was drying on the mats and the last picture is after I removed the pins. You can see it didn’t fix the curling 100%- next time I would make sure to steam the problem corners a little more aggressively. I also don’t recommend using the steam function on a regular clothes iron for this type of blocking. Invest in a separate steamer that functions at any angle – I definitely had issues getting enough steam to come out when I moved the iron horizontally and I think that contributed to the slightly subpar result. You live and you learn!
I’m definitely going to continue blocking all of my pieces from now on. I have my wedding shawl and another triangle shawl I’ll be gifting soon that have been sitting in my closet that I never bothered to block, and they both have really intricate patterns that I think will shine through infinitely more with some love and blocking!