Monday, August 25, 2008

When Blocked ... Question from Reader

A. Before blocking; 1/2 row remaining before project done.

B. While blocking outdoors.

C. After blocking.

Dear Dee,
I read your recent blog entries about the All Shawl and was wondering if you can tell me more about blocking.  How important is it?
Thanks, Anne

Hi Anne!
Blocking is a process of straightening your crochet work, to get all the stitches to cooperate in taking the shape you want it to.  And it's fairly easy to do:

1. wet or dampen your work (I used a product called "SOAK" for the All Shawl and found that the handpainted yarn bled heavily.  I would rather the dye come out during this process rather than later on bleed onto a nice light colored sweater!)
2. stretch the item into the shape you want it to dry as ... use non-rusting straight pins as needed.  (I like to do most of my blocking of large pieces during the spring/summer/fall months when the days outside are beautiful.  For smaller pieces I'll use styrofoam blocks available at most craft stores.)  If you have the funds and the space, consider investing in a blocking board.  You can see Drew using his here.  For smaller pieces, some like to use the Quilter's Cut'n Press pads.
3. in a pinch, you could try to steam the item using an iron -- but before doing so, I strongly recommend you practice on a swatch piece first! 

If you will be making a garment, be sure to swatch AND block first.  This will tell you how the yarn AND the dye will behave once it's complete.  AND, it will look, and drape, so much nicer!  J

Thanks for the great question, Anne!

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