How to block your crochet projects to make it look better

I have been making a lot of shawls lately and I always block my shawls when I’m done. Blocking is a way to shape your crochet or knitting project the way you want it to be. I thought it would be a good idea to share how I do this. It’s kinda magic what blocking can do for your project!

When following a crochet pattern, everyone has a different tension. If you crochet with a tight tension like me, your shawl might not turn out as straight and flat as you want it to be. Some people say their shawls turn out like a ‘stingray’ shape.  Don’t worry, blocking will fix this!

before and after blocking crochet project

Materials needed for blocking

My free shawl patterns you might like

Ways to block your crochet project

There are three blocking methods: wet, dry and cold. When choosing a method of blocking, consider your yarn type. Different types of yarn respond differently to water, steam and heat. Good to know: too much heat can kill your acrylic yarn, and cotton yarns do need water or steam to block.

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Wet blocking.
1. Start with soaking your project. You can either use a bassin filled with water or wash it in the washing machine. Do not rinse!
2. Put your project between two towels and gently roll the project like a sushi roll, squeezing out the excess water.
3. Lay the project out flat and gently pat it into the desired shape.
4. Pin the project in place using rustroof pins.
5. Leave your projects to dry overnight.
Note: you can increase the speed of the drying process with a fan.

Spray blocking. Spray blocking is almost the same as wet blocking. The only difference is you don’t soak the project.
1. Pin the piece into the desired shape on the blocking mats.
2. Use a spray bottle with water to make it wet.
3. Leave your projects to dry overnight.
Note: you can increase the speed of the drying process with a fan.

Steam blocking. Steam blocking is a quick method that is especially handy with cotton yarns.
1. Pin the piece into the desired shape on the blocking mats. Make sure to put the pins evenly spaced and close to each other.
2. Gently pat all seams and areas the are rippled with your fingers.
3. Hold a steamer or steam iron above the project and move slowly over the surface. Make sure not to touch the fabric.
4. Leave your project to cool off (approx. 30 minutes)

P.s. I’ve also heard people are using a hairdryer to block their work quickly. I have not tried it myself yet, but you might want to try it if you do not have the other tools at home.

Example

I took the following pictures when wet blocking my Pom Pom Happiness Shawl. First I washed it with cold water and then I pinned it to my blocking mat (a yoga mat actually). Normally I use the steam blocking method, but as this one was extremely out of shape (like a stingray), I chose for a more intense method.

The ‘stingray’ shape – yep, even this can be fixed thanks to blocking!
Blocking crochet project to get a better shape

After washing with cold water, I pinned it to the yoga mat
Blocking crochet project to get a better shape

See the difference between left and right!?
Blocking crochet project to get a better shape

Let it dry in this position and it will stay in this shape!
Blocking crochet project to get a better shape

 


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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristine
    31 December 2018 at 8:15 pm

    OMG thanks so much for this! I was about to unravel my stingray when I saw your stingray! It’s blocking beautifully! I was having so much trouble with triangle scarves! You have saved me!

    • Reply
      Kristine
      2 January 2019 at 4:22 am

      Well, alas, the blocking didn’t take… I used the soaking method, then blocked it and it looked great for 1 minute after it dried and I unpinned it. I used an acrylic/wool mix, not sure I can use the steaming method, which is recommended for acrylics. Very sad – it came out great but who wants to wear a sting ray????? I was making it as a gift.

  • Reply
    Joyful Josie Shawl - a round crochet shawl by Wilmade
    28 April 2018 at 8:47 pm

    […] – I do not count turning chains as the first stitches. I just used them to gain height. – Normally you would make 1 turning chain for a single crochet, but I used 3 turning chains, so it would stretch better and give straighter edges. If you use only 1 turning chain, it will be less flexible and might curl. – Like most knitted/crochet shawls the shawl needs to be blocked when it’s finished. So don’t worry if yours gets a bit wonky or curls a bit, blocking will fix this. […]

  • Reply
    Pom Pom Happiness Shawl - Wilmade
    25 April 2018 at 12:09 pm

    […] Did your shawl turn out in a weird shape – or maybe even like a stingray shape as some call it? Don’t worry, you can easily fix this with blocking. I wrote a blocking tutorial here. […]

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