How to Block a Crochet Blanket
I recently did an amazing summit of everything you can think of pertaining to crochet blankets! I specifically spoke about blocking crochet blankets from the best ways to block blankets to deciding which method best!
We had such a great conversation that I decided that I wanted to put together a comprehension blog post about the topic covering the main things we discussed!
Below is a ton of great information on blocking crocheted blankets that I hope you find helpful, scroll past the picture to begin reading.
If you have other questions on crochet blankets like blanket math, making graphs, blanket sizing, tons of information on Tunisian crochet and more than we made some of the topics into mini courses!
You can take look and pick and choose if there are any you would like to watch! Check out the mini courses! Not everyone opted to make their topi into a mini course, so you can check out the full summit here.
What is Blocking?
Short Answer: Blocking is used on a finished piece or pieces of crochet projects (or knit) to make it the proper shape and size.
Sometimes, stitches can be a bit misshapen or edges can curl. Blocking using water or steam will even out your fabric and create straight edges and achieve desired dimensions!
There are 3 different ways to create a professional finish for any size blanket, even large blankets! These different methods can be used on any project including crochet sweaters, cardigans, scarves and bags for a more finished look.
There are two main types of blocking and a third option of combing them or using a washing machine and dryer can be an option, more on that explained below!
These easy methods will work on acrylic blankets, a wool blanket, acrylic blends and other natural fibers and types of yarn. Happy Crocheting!
Type 1 – Wet Blocking
- The first step when you wet block an item is you will completely submerge the item in water. GENTLY remove as much excess water as possible, then lay it out to dry on a flat surface.
- It is highly recommended you use wool wash or some fabric softener to help soften up the fibers wether it’s acrylic yarn, natural fibers, cotton or any other fiber or blend.
- Wool wash can be a significant extra cost, I like to use baby shampoo. It’s gentle and smells great!
- Use lukewarm water or cold water. You do NOT want this water to be hot if you are using wool since felting can occurs if you agitate the material.
- Felting is when the wool fibers are opened up and start to stick together to create a solid material and will ruin you final project.
- Do not wring out your project, you want to gently pick it up out of the water and give it a little squeeze. Try not to stretch it. This is an essential step to reduce the time of the drying process.
- You can then lay it out on a towel and roll it up gently to absorb some excess moisture.
- Once you have removed enough water that your item isn’t dripping you will then lay it out on blocking boards or a blocking mat and pin it to shape. Then just let it dry!
- If you do not have a blocking board you can lay your crochet piece out on a towel if it fits.
- If you have trouble pinning it down, grab some cardboard and put it behind the towel to poke your pins into.
- Use rustproof pins.
- This method works best for small items but if you have enough space it works well for larger items too.
Type 2 – Steam Blocking or Spray Blocking
- Steam blocking is done by using a hand held steamer and running it over, NOT on, your piece.
- Steamers work best when held upright however, if you are lucky you might be able to find one that works pointing down, like using a steam iron. It can be hard to find a steamer that has that function.
- I have seen people using the steam function or steam setting on their clothes irons to steam block crochet or knit pieces. I have not tried this, do NOT put your iron on your piece.
- Since the steam is hot you must be careful with synthetic fibers more so than animal fibers. When too much heat is applies to acrylic yarn it can be ”killed”.
- Killing acrylic fibers isn’t bad and actually softens the yarn and adds wonderful drape to a crocheted fabric. You may lose some stitch definition.
- If you are worried the heat from the steam may ruin you project test it in a small swatch first.
- This method is a great way to block a large project since the fabric will not get over saturate.
Type 3 – Combo Blocking
- If I am in a time crunch and steam blocking won’t cut and wet blocking will take too long, I combine the two!
- First I get a spray bottle with water (I like to add some essential oils like lavender or cedarwood) and I spray my piece that needs blocking. This doesn’t completely soak the fibers but makes it workable.
- I then lay it down or hang and start to steam it. Once I see the fibers open up (the stitches get more drapey) I pin it to shape. I will then either steam or use my spray bottle on any areas that need more attention.
- With all 3 of these techniques I’ve ended up in a time crunch and I have successfully finished drying my items using a hairdryer on low with the warm, not hot, setting!
- Not every item will need to be blocked, like a blanket. Sometimes the yarn and stitches just work out perfectly. You can substitute with a wash and dry. Garments however should always be blocked to account for stretch and a proper fit.
Why do we block yarn?
- We block yarn to make sure that our finished item is the right size, especially a garment.
- We also block to make sure that an item will not stretch out over time.k
- If what you are making needs to be seamed together you should block your piece a before seaming so that your edges are nice and straight. This will help you to make sure everything aligns properly and you don’t end up with pinched or stretched seams.
Quick Blocking Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t have foam mats or a foam board with grid lines, a yoga mat will work great.
- Make sure to use rust-proof pins.
- Different fibers will respond differently to each method of blocking, experiment on a test swatch.
- Try to find a garment steamer that can steam diwn and does not need to be used upright.
- A hot iron can “kill” the type of yarn you used and distort your stitch pattern.
Using a Washing Machine and Dryer
- Always check the fiber content of your yarn listed on the label along with the washing instructions.
- If matching washing and/or drying is not recommended, you can try washing a swatch of your crochet item as a test. This will ensure you don’t ruin your hard work!
- If your project had an even tension and straight edges a quick machine wash and dry may be your best method of blocking!
How to Decide Which Type of Blocking to Use
- Always check the yarn label for washing instructions. Some are machine washable and dryable. Some SAY they are not.
- Think back to other crochet patterns and how you blocked them. Did you have a preferred method?
- If you think something might be ok in the wash, try it on your test swatch. Can’t hurt!
- Worried about trying a blocking method? Use some rust proof pins and do a dry blocking. That may be just enough to get your desired shape but may need to sit for a long time.
- Make another test swatch or use the same one and steam block or wet block to see if you like the result.
Learn How to Fix Uneven and Wavy Crocheted Blankets
If you have an uneven and wavy blanket read my post “7 Tips How to Fix Uneven Crooked Wavy Crochet Blanket Edges”