How to Block Your Crocheting: 3 Methods

Ever read the phrase, “Block to finished measurements” and shuddered? Maybe even scoffed?

If that’s you, worry no more. Trust me–I was exactly like you. I read that blocking phrase and shuddered. I even scoffed, thinking there was absolutely no reason to block. On the one hand, I didn’t have any idea how to block. On the other hand, I had no desire to learn. It wasn’t worth my time, I said.

Do You Have to Block Your Crochet?

So if you’ve heard about blocking, but you’re wondering if you really HAVE to learn it…let me just tell you something.

Although I used to wonder the same thing, I am SO glad I finally learned how to block.

Obviously, you do not HAVE to block your crochet—no one is going to force you to.

But let me tell you—once you start blocking, you won’t want go back. Not convinced? I probably wouldn’t have been either. So let me show you why you should learn this helpful technique.

WHY Block Crochet?

Blocking does a lot of GOOD things for your crochet projects.

It makes the stitches open up—be less crumpled and more drapey.

Another reason blocking crochet is so beneficial is it gives your items a professional look.

Let me show you a couple pictures to get you thinking:

Here is a swatch of a cowl I was in the process of making. As you can see, it is not very attractive, but wrinkled and squished together.

block

Here is the same cowl laid out while blocking.

block

And here it is all finished:

block

As you can see, the stitches have opened up and look both beautiful and professional.

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How to Start Blocking Your Crochet

Hopefully the examples above give you an idea of the world of difference blocking can make.

So if blocking is so beneficial…how can you do it?

Well, step one: don’t be afraid! Seriously—if you treat blocking like a scary monster, you will never take the jump and start doing it.

Trust me, it’s not as hard as you might think. I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but I actually enjoy blocking now! It has become a step in crocheting that I look forward to greatly, and it can be that way for you too! Keep reading to learn how to block your projects yourself.

I will show you three easy methods, and walk you through each one step by step.

Foundation Single Crochet Tutorial

foundation single crochet

Crochet Blocking Mats/Boards

Now, one thing you might be wondering is “do I need a blocking mat?”

While each method of blocking uses different materials, all of the methods will benefit from having a blocking mat.

Notice I used the word “benefit.” It is not absolutely necessary that you invest in mats right away. If you want a cost effective option, just use a towel to block your projects.

However, having a blocking board or mat (it is the same thing) will make the process much easier!

Here are some your buying options for blocking mats on Amazon:

Wet, Spray, and Steam Blocking

Before we do a deep dive into blocking, let me give you a little summary of the three methods you can use. The first one is called wet blocking. Personally, this is my favorite method. It is perfect for all types of natural fibers, and will ensure that your project can stretch fully and also maintain it’s form after use.

The next method is spray blocking. Spray blocking is perfect for smaller projects, ones that need to be block, but not stretch drastically. Again, this method works for natural fibers.

The last method is steam blocking. This one was the scariest for me to try— but it’s actually not as bad as I thought! Steam blocking is for acrylic yarn, and it will TRANSFORM your crochet experience. I’m serious. The cowl I showed you pictures of was steam blocked; it actually amazed me how well it worked!

So wait no longer! Let’s dive into these methods together!

Method 1: Wet Blocking

Use this method if:

  • Your project is made out of any natural fiber
  • You have a project that needs to be stretched or shaped a lot

Do NOT use this method if your project is made out of acrylic yarn. Unlike natural fibers, moisture does not affect acrylic.

Materials:

  • A sink
  • 2 towels (or 1 towel and a blocking board, if desired)
  • Pins (rust-proof is best)

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METHOD 2: SPRAY BLOCKING

USE THIS METHOD IF:

  • Your project is made out of natural fibers
  • Your project does not need to be stretched drastically
  • You need to get your blocking done in a small amount of time

Don’t use this method if your project needs to be shaped and stretched a lot. For that type of project, use wet blocking instead.

MATERIALS:

  • Pins
  • Towel (or blocking board, if desired)
  • Spray bottle

STEP 1:

Lay your project out on a towel (or a blocking board) and pin it down.

STEP 2:

Fill a spray bottle with water, and spray your project until it is damp. (If your project needs to be fully soaked to block and stretch well, you should use wet blocking instead of spray blocking).

STEP 3:

Allow your project to dry, and remove pins. That’s all there is to it!

METHOD 3: STEAM BLOCKING

NOTE: Get even more details about blocking acrylic yarn here.

USE THIS METHOD IF:

  • Your project is made of acrylic yarn
  • Your project needs to be stretched a lot

   Materials:

  • Pins (optional)
  • Towel or blocking board
  • Iron with a steam setting

Step 1:

Lay your project out on a towel or blocking board. If it needs to be stretched drastically (like the lace cowl I showed at the beginning), you will want to pin down. However, with some projects (especially something that’s not lace) pinning isn’t necessary.

Step 2:

Prepare your iron. Fill it with water, set it to the “steam” setting, and let it heat up.

Step 3:

Hover the iron over your project. Do not EVER touch the iron to the crocheting, or your project will MELT. This is because acrylic yarn is essentially made out of plastic. Crafters call this “killing” your project. However, you still have to hover the iron at least an inch above your project. As long as the iron never physically touches the yarn, you’ll be fine. You can get as close to your project as you want, but be careful.

Step 4:

Don’t be shy with the steam, but let it keep going until your project is slightly damp. After this, remove the pins. (If you didn’t pin your project down, you’re all done!)

And there are your three blocking methods! Not too complicated, right? As you practice each method, it will get easier and easier. You might even find that you enjoy it!

Before we finish up, let’s cover a few more common questions I see people asking about blocking.

Is Crochet Blocking Permanent?

This is actually a tricky question to answer, because there’s a lot of variables that can go into it!

Here is what I have found in my experience:

For wet blocking, the results will wear off with time (especially if it is a crocheted garment!). You will likely need to re-block them when you wash them.

I like to think of this like regular sweaters you might buy at the store that are hand wash only. When you lay these out to dry, it is very similar to wet blocking! In the same way, when you “wash” a crochet project, it will basically be the process of wet blocking over again.

For spray blocking, it also depends on how much wear the item is getting. Since this technique is usually used for smaller projects, you may find that the blocking lasts a long time. However, if for example the edges start to curl, this is an indicator it could use another block.

For Steam blocking acrylic yarn, I have personally found that the results are more permanent than other methods.

Why? The hot steam locks the acrylic fibers in place. In my experience, when these fibers are set, they are set permanently. For example, I have a shawl made from Lion Brand Mandala yarn that I steam blocked. I’ve used it a ton and it has never lost it’s original blocked shape.

Note that this may not be true across ALL acrylic yarns. Your results may wear off with time depending on the yarn.

Another important thing to remember here is that the results of steam blocking will also be permanent if you do it WRONG. So if you kill your project, there will be no fixing it. Remember to never touch the iron to your crocheting!

Should I Weave in My Ends Before or After Blocking?

Generally, I have found that the result is better when I weave in my ends after blocking.

Here’s the rationale behind that: if you weave in ends beforehand, they have the potential to get misshapen during the blocking process. They may unweave when the project is stretched, for example.

This is why I wait until after blocking to weave in my ends. The project is now at my desired measurements and the ends will have a chance to settle into that.

How to Block a Sweater

Now, one thing in particular that people are afraid to block is SWEATERS!

Yes, it can seem scary, but here’s what I want you to remember (once again): blocking is just like hand washing a regular sweater from the store!

The only difference is that if you’re following a pattern, you will want to block the sweater to the finished measurements that are listed.

I found this YouTube video super helpful in explaining how to do this! Note that the example she uses is a knitted sweater…but the concept is exactly the same for a crocheted sweater.

Here’s just an overview of what to remember when blocking a sweater:

  1. Always block a sweater to the finished measurements listed
  2. If you have long sleeves, make sure you block them to the same length
  3. If you use pins, make sure they don’t pinch the fabric in unnatural ways

In Summary…

Blocking your crochet projects is a wonderful process once you get used to it! With time and effort you too can become a pro.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact me as I would love to help!

To view last week’s post, a tutorial on foundation single crochet, click here. 

Frustrated By Crochet Garments? Maybe You're Afraid to even start...

Frustrated By Crochet Garments?

Download my FREE Garment Cheat Sheets that will teach you the 5 essential components you need to understand to make great-fitting sweaters!

Happy Crocheting!

More Beginner Crochet

2 thoughts on “How to Block Your Crocheting: 3 Methods

  1. I had always taken my crochet and knitting projects to the dry cleaners for blocking but I found it becoming far too expensive. An excellent alternative is put in the dryer on air fluff!! Actually came out far better! No cost and very easy! Try it!

    1. That is interesting! I guess for acrylic that would work (just not natural fibers). Does it achieve the same effect as steam blocking (making it lay flat)?

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