You know that feeling when you finally finish crocheting an impossible pattern, weave in a nearly insurmountable pile of ends, and wonder…how can I make this process longer and more frustrating? Well, then blocking is for you! There are plenty of reasons to block crochet pieces – to help them fit better, to show off a fancy stitch pattern, or to justify the $25 you spent on blocking wires. Below are some super helpful tips on how to block crochet.
1. Be honest: do you really need to block it?
Blocking crochet will take the wrinkly piece you’ve been slaving over for months and help it reach its full potential – but news flash, it’s not that fun. So before you even get started, decide if you really, really, really need to block your piece. Maybe you can just lay it upside down on a table and push it a little with your hand and hope that some healing shiatsu magic will flatten it out (my personal favorite). Maybe you can just put it in the dryer, and if it doesn’t turn out, pretend that it ended up in there accidentally. Or maybe you can put it in a pile with other pieces and hope that they’ll all encourage each other to magically smooth out (I lied, this is my real favorite). Try wasting some time coming up with your own technique.
2. Buy unnecessary items
A quick googlation will find you tons of blocking pins and boards and stiffeners. I strongly suggest buying them all and storing them deep in your already overflowing craft room…but you don’t need to. Most pins are rust proof (the only thing you really need to worry about), and you can make your own blocking board with a piece of classy cardboard covered with an old towel (if you’re blocking with water) or waxed paper (if you’re using starch). Or just pin to your ironing board…it’s about time you use it for something.
Below is a dry blocking technique colloquially known as “I’m too lazy to find a piece of cardboard and dig through the towels, so I’ll just pin it to this corkboard dry and hope that does something.”
Most of the time you’ll just use water to soften up your piece before holding it in place with no fewer than 759 pins, but sometimes you’ll want to stiffen the piece up a bit. I like to use non-aerosol spray starch because it’s the only kind available at my local supermarket. If you just want a little stiffness, you can wet the piece down with water first, then after pinning, spray a little starch on top. Or, if you’re trying to create a doily that can stand up by itself (true story), you can wet it completely with starch 4 times, using 2 full bottles, then paint it with watered down glue. I don’t suggest that.
4. Regret the results
This is the part where you realize that you didn’t really do your best. Did you only get the piece kinda wet because you felt like that would probably still work? Did you pin one side really tight and the other side kind of floppy? Did you, in a moment of pure exasperation, iron it flat as a melted pancake? Worst of all, did you punk out and only use 500 pins? Well, no worries. Remember that pile of unblocked pieces? You can just put that puppy right back in there and try again another day.
I hope you got some really helpful tips, but if you want to block something properly, I suggest checking out this tutorial by Annie’s Craft Store.