Just like an artist who stretches their canvas over a frame, nice and tight before they begin their masterpiece. We crocheters do the same but in reverse. Depending on the yarn and pattern sometimes our masterpieces need a little helping hand in becoming display ready. Smoothing out any little kinks or ruffles can transform the overall look and size of a project.
This is called blocking. There are a few methods of blocking, wet blocking, steam blocking or dry blocking. You basically pin your project out and allow the fibers to readjust themselves.
I recently finished a pattern called Petra and as you can see the transformation in the before and after photos. Blocking gives your project definition and allows the intricate patterns to shine through.
Blocking a circular project is a little different than blocking a square or rectangle project. A square project is easy to judge and measure, making sure all your side are straight and each side measures the same, where as a circular project is a little more difficult to judge.
My preferred method is to pin my project out dry and then apply water to dampen and relax the fibers. I find pinning out when dry allows me not to over stretch the fibers, once fibers are wet they have more give to them and can be easily over taxed. We want to give our stitches definition, not pull them until they are unrecognizable.
1. Lay your circular project out on your blocking mat. Your blocking mat should be serval inches bigger than your project in all directions. Start by placing a few pins in the center.
2. Working in an outwards direction, smooth out your 4 compass points a few inches from your center point. Remember you want your work taut.
3. Now repeat.
4. Continue in this pattern until you reach your edging. Use as many pins as you need.
5. When working with a intricate edge use plenty of pins to mark out the details.
6. Now fill a spray bottle with warm water and spray your pinned out project until damp. You want to make sure to spray enough to soak through the fibers. Now let your project fully dry.
I’m not one to block blankets, they get used so often and run through the wash cycle regularly, but I highly recommend blocking decorative pieces especially if made with cotton or a cotton blend. You don’t need any fancy tools. There are lots of blocking mat out there for this purpose and they are nice but any regular foam floor mats will work just as good. You will need lots of pins, I buy mine in packs of 100 from my local dollar store. Cheap and cheerful!
Love Emma May