Blocking is an important step in knitted and crocheted projects, and often making the difference between an item that looks homemade and an item that looks handmade. I block every project before I consider it finished, and it makes the items look much more polished and professional. Here’s my method for wet blocking, which I do for most lace projects, especially scarves and shawls.
- Thoroughly wet the item. I usually fill my sink halfway with cool water, put the knitted or crocheted piece in, and gently push it down so it’s underwater. I leave it for 5-30 minutes until it’s saturated, then lift it out of the sink while the water drains and gently smoosh it so excess water comes out. To get more water out, I give it a whirl in a salad spinner, or roll the piece up in a towel and leave it for another 5-30 minutes. Blocking is great to alternate with another activity that’s intermittent, like baking cookies. Make cookie batter and put the first batch in the oven while the piece is soaking, then roll it up and leave it while you get the second batch of cookies ready.
2. Lay your piece out on a blocking mat or other surface that you can pin into (guest bedroom mattress, cardboard or carpet with a towel laid over it). It doesn’t look that great, right? Mine doesn’t either, because it’s not done yet.
3. Start getting your piece into shape, gently stretching it either to the desired measurements or until it looks right to you. Here I put blocking wires along the top edge, weaving them in and out of the fabric every half inch or so and pinning them in a few places, and pinned the center point of each triple picot. I usually start my pinning at the top corners and center of the piece, then work my way along the edges, making little adjustments to the first pins as needed. I keep a tape measure handy to check that the distance is the same from the center to each edge.
4. More pins! Seriously, it’s hard to have too many. On a piece with picots like this, each and every picot needs its own pin. For straight or curved edges, use as many pins as needed for a smooth edge, or use blocking wires to cut down on the need for a million pins. Along the top edge here, with the wire I only needed three blocking pins, whereas if I didn’t have blocking wires, it probably would have taken 10-15 pins to make the edge look nice and straight. Here’s a knit shawl, with each point pinned out.
5. Take a step back, stretch your aching back, and admire your work. Although I’ve done it about a hundred times, I’m still awed by the amazing transformation that occurs when I block my knitted and crocheted projects. Now wait until the piece is totally dry, unpin it, and enjoy your creation!
Ice Crystals Capelet in Freia Ombré Lace