Save a few dollars and make your finished crochet look perfect.
Making your own blocking kits is easier than you think and makes a huge difference to your finished projects.
So what is blocking?
Think about the life of your yarn before you hooked it into a blanket shape. It was wound up in a small tight ball for days, weeks, months, years…
After a long time in one position, the yarn needs to adjust to it’s new shape in the stitches of your project. To help it do that, we dampen the project first to relax the fibers. You don’t want it dripping wet though.
Large items like blankets:
Take your damp project and spread it out on a non-absorbent surface where it will dry in the desired shape (not the kitchen lino!) . You can find large rubber mat floor tiles or even a rubber yoga mat from stores like Kmart, BigW, Bunnings, Dollar shops or even a garage sale. These mats are ideal because the thickness allows you to push pins through the mat. Spread your crochet blanket out and start pinning it from the centre out for round projects or from one end to the other for rectangle projects. Grab a tape measure to check your lengths and widths have not gone out of proportion and re-position pins until you are happy. The work should be slightly stretched so it looks a little bigger than it originally did. Stretching the stitches increases the overall size, makes details in the stitch work more apparent and helps slight waviness sit flatter.
Leave to dry somewhere away from humidity, but not in direct sunlight. When dry, remove from the blocking mat. Your crochet blanket should be looking photo-perfect now.
If the item needs to be washed, always use cold water, minimal suds and line dry in the shade. You may need to re-block some items after washing.
Small squares, hexagons and other shapes can be benefit from blocking before stitching them together to form a blanket or other item. By blocking smaller squares, you can be certain they have ended up the same size and will go together nicely.
You can block them on the above mentioned rubber matting by pinning them individually and checking measurements or you can build a blocking frame like the one pictured below.
This frame consists of 4x knitting needles (4mm wide) and 2 squares of pine 15x15cm. Holes have been drilled through the pine squares at 8, 10 and 11cm square sizes, but you can drill the holes at your desired size. We used a 4.5mm wide drill tip to allow the needles through with a little wiggle room. A coat or two of spray paint to protect the wood and you are done!
Tips for building your own frame
- Use timber that is thicker than 15mm
- Use a builders square or quilting ruler to mark holes
- Use a drill press to ensure holes are perpendicular to the timber
- Sand the finished board before painting
Dampen the individual squares. Slide them onto the knitting needles leaving a small air gap between each crochet square at first. Leave to dry, then slide to the bottom of the frame and add the next bunch of damp squares above. When it’s time to join them all together, remove the squares and collapse the frame for storage.
Cost for these two projects:
Large blocking mats + pins $15
Small blocking frame with knitting needles $12
Both will be demonstrated at the LCCG crafternoon group on Sunday August 6th 2017.
Have a go at blocking your next crochet project. You will be surprised at the difference it can make!