After completing a project, it is good practice to block your fabric. Blocking is done differently for different fiber types. In this post I am going to write about my experience with blocking and how I block my projects.
What is blocking and why you should do it
Blocking is a way to shape your project after you have completed it. It is particularly useful when multiple small pieces of fabric (like granny squares or small squares that are joined to make a blanket) need to be of the same size. Blocking gives a nice finish to an already beautiful project. It makes a world of difference and you should definitely try it if you don’t already block your projects.
There are 2 main ways of blocking a project: Wet blocking and Steam Blocking. Both of these methods are discussed in detail below. But first, let’s talk about the supplies you will need.
What you will need (with clickable affiliate links)
- Blocking mats – To block a project, you will need a blocking mat that you will pin your project to. You can get specialized blocking mats for this but I have been using these foam mats that we got for my son to play with when he was younger. They work great and don’t cost too much.
Edit: I have now tried the KnitIQ blocking mats and I would like to add that it makes a world of difference to have the right blocking mats for your projects. Even though the foam mats I was using were working out okay, the KnitIQ mats make it so much easier to block projects. They are sturdy and I don’t have to worry about them bending and twisting while my project blocks. They are pricey but worth the money if you knit / crochet a lot and need to block projects on a regular basis.
- Blocking pins – You will also need a set of pins to pin your project to your blocking mat. I used pins like these earlier and while these work really well, I love these Knit Blockers from Knitter’s Pride. It makes pinning my projects to my blocking mat so much easier than the pins. It does not matter which pins you use, just make sure they don’t rust by testing them before you start blocking.
- Spray bottle – You will need a spray bottle if you choose to mist your project (see the Wet blocking section for details).
- Steamer – You will need a steamer (click here to see the one I use) if you choose to steam block your project. You can use a regular steam iron for this purpose as well (see the Steam blocking section for details).
I have found that wet blocking works best for natural fibers (like cotton and wool). There are 2 ways by which you can wet block a project:
- Submerge in water and then pin the project to a blocking mat and leave it to dry.
- Pin the project to a blocking mat and then mist the project until it is wet and then leave it to dry.
You can choose one of the above methods based on the size of your project.
There is another way that I have wet blocked one of my projects. This is a little unconventional but it worked out just fine for me. I submerged my Ruffled Waters Shawl in water and then hung it on a clothes line and used some wooden clothespins to stretch it. Here is a picture:
Steam blocking works best for acrylic yarn. Pin your project to a blocking mat and then use a steam iron or a steamer to steam it. Make sure to not press on the project while steaming. You just want to relax the fabric a little bit and take the shape you want it to take. I have used a regular steam iron and kept it on the fabric while steam blocking – this is not something you’d want to do. I learnt my lesson the hard way!
For larger projects like my Luxury Plaid Tunisian Poncho, I don’t pin them on a blocking mat. I hang them on a hanger and steam them. This is only because I don’t intend to give them an exact shape. I was able to fix some curling in the fabric by just doing this.
Note: Do not touch your steamer to the fabric while blocking. Keeping it about an inch away works best for me.
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