Blocking your crocheted & knitted projects puts the finishing touch on your hours of hard work. While not all projects require blocking, many will really benefit from it and will make the difference of giving your finished piece that "wow" factor. Blocking your work can make your pieces look tidier, drape better, and restore & manipulate shape and balance.
What is blocking? Blocking is an important step to making your crochet or knit pieces look their best. By pinning your project's stitches in place and applying moisture and sometimes heat, to shape and set your project.
Blocking Boards: There are all sorts of materials that you can use as a blocking boards, what you choose is totally up to personal preference. There are many commercially available boards specific to blocking, but any similar item will do the trick just as well. In the photo's I have used foam puzzle mats which can easily be found online or in retail stores.
Blocking Methods: There are several ways to block your work including wet, dry or cold. Which method you choose will depend on the yarn fiber, personal preference, and intended use. Always consult your yarn label before hand, as not all yarn fibers should be blocked the same way. In general, natural fibers such as linen, cotton or mohair, and wool may be blocked using dry or wet methods. Some synthetic, acrylic fibers or specialty fibers such as metallics will not benefit from blocking. It is advisable to first test your blocking method on a fabric swatch before blocking your entire project, to make sure no damage to the fibers occurs.
Wet or Cold Blocking: Wet blocking works well for natural fibers that can be submerged in water. Soak your project in tepid water for about 30 minutes and then gently squeeze any excess water out. Lay the piece flat on foam boards and pin in place in the desired shape, placing pins every couple inches or so. For the project example in the picture, a hooded scarf is being blocked. the scarf portion has been pinned flat, and the hood has been draped over an exercise ball (a blown up balloon will also work well). Cold blocking works well for fibers that cannot handle heat, but can handle moisture. Pin your project in place in the same fashion as for wet blocking. Spritz with a spray bottle of water until the project is saturated. Let your project sit until it's completely dry.
Dry Blocking: Dry blocking works well for fibers that can withstand steam. Pin your project in position on a foam board, placing pins evenly every several inches or so. Hold a steamer or steam iron several inches above your project and move it slowly over the entire surface area. Make sure that the iron does not touch the fibers. Leave the project to fully cool & dry.