Blocking crochet projects is something I didn’t really understand until I started designing my own crochet patterns–truthfully it wasn’t until I designed the Max Jacket inspired by Season 4 of Stranger Things!! I wasn’t sure why my crochet projects needed to be blocked (and I didn’t know how to block😂) so it just felt like an unnecessary step.
Let me start out by saying you obviously do not HAVE to block your crochet projects—no one is going to force you to! 😂 BUT if you are here reading this blog post it’s probably because your crochet project has a bit of a gangster lean going on that you just can’t bring yourself to ignore… so this guide should help!
What does Blocking mean?
Blocking uses water or steam to shape your crochet project, help it to lay flat and not curl, and open up the stitches. If your project isn’t quite sitting/fitting right or is curling over on itself, blocking can help to fix these issues.
Benefits of Blocking
- Blocking can add length and width to your garment. Ever made a sweater that is just a bit too snug or too cropped for your liking? Blocking it can help a lot. You can add a few inches of width and/or length just by blocking your project!
- Blocking can give your garment improved flow and drape. Blocking loosens up your stitches a bit, giving the project a more flowy look and feel to it.
- Blocking can straighten out and uncurl your projects. If your ribbing or edges are curling up at the ends or your whole cardigan is leaning to one side or refusing to line up, blocking can fix these issues.
- Blocking can sometimes fix minor mistakes within your project. Have you ever had to make two panels for a project and found that one was slightly shorter? Blocking the panel that is shorter can bring it out to the correct size that it needs to be.
3 Main Ways to Block a Garment
There are three main ways to block your project. Each way can produce different effects, so it’s important to know what your end goal is before blocking. If you’re new to blocking and need to purchase supplies, this Blocking Starter Took Kit from WeCrochet is a great deal on what you’ll need. You can also just purchase a blocking pins kit like this one and some interlocking foam mats like these.
First, decide what the goal of blocking is. Do you want more drape? Ends flat? Do you need to add length and width?
- If you are just looking for some drape and a little bit of growth, steam blocking will do the trick.
- If you want some real drape and growth, wet blocking is your best bet.
- For somewhere in between or to lay your edges flat, spray blocking is a good choice.
Also, the fiber content of your yarn will need to be considered when choosing a blocking method.
- For natural fibers like wool, wet blocking works well for adding growth and drape. Superwash wool is known to expand more after being soaked so keep that in mind.
- Acrylic and acrylic blends can be steam blocked.
- Blends and delicate fibers usually do best with the spray blocking method.
Whether or not you need to block your garment every time you wash it will also depend on the fiber. Be sure to lay the garment flat to dry and if it looks like it needs some re-shaping then pin it to your blocking mats to dry in the shape you want it to be.
This method of blocking can be done using just a handheld steamer or an iron. This process usually loosens up the stitches a bit, and offers a bit of drape and growth.
- Pin your garment to a blocking mat. You can also hang it from a hanger if you are just doing a light steam over it.
- Heat up your steamer and hold it about 1-2″ away from your garment. Do not touch the steamer to the garment. Do not hold it in one place too long. Go up and down the garment in a slow, steady motion.
- Let garment cool completely and then take off the mat or hanger.
This method of blocking is done by completely submerging the garment into water for a short period of time. Then after squeezing the excess water out (never wring it out), pinning it to some blocking mats to dry. This process usually provides the most growth of the garment and gives it the most drape. This is the method most of my testers used to block their Max Jackets! This method is not recommended for projects made using acrylic yarn. Moisture does not affect acrylic in the same way as it does natural fibers.
- To start, wet your garment in a sink, tub, or bucket of cool water. Let it soak for at least 10 minutes.
- Then, take the garment out of the water and squeeze the water out. Do not wring or twist the water out. Just squeeze gently.
- Lay the garment on a towel and roll the towel up with the garment inside to get out any extra moisture.
- Pin wet garment to blocking mat in the shape and size you want it. Let dry, usually 8-12 hours.
Here is a super helpful YouTube video by Sheep & Stitch explaining how to wet block a sweater. Note that the example she uses is a knitted sweater but the concept is the same for a crocheted sweater.
. Spray blocking is perfect for smaller projects, ones that need to be blocked, but not stretched drastically.
- Pin the dry garment to a blocking mat in the shape and size you want it.
- Use a spray bottle of cool water to saturate the garment.
- Let dry, usually 8-12 hours.
I hope you guys found this guide helpful! If there is anything helpful you feel I should add, please let me know in the comments!