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How to Block Crochet (And Why You Should!)

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Blocking is the best way to give your crochet a beautiful, professional finish – and it’s easier than you think! Read on to learn three easy ways to block crochet for stunning results!

4 crochet swatches pinned on a purple blocking mat

Just finished your latest crochet project? I know you’re tempted to skip that last blocking step. It seems so fussy and time-consuming, right?

Don’t skip it just yet! Blocking your work is way easier and faster than you think – and 100% worth the extra effort.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about blocking crochet. And, I’ll share my tips for making it as painless as possible – while still getting that professional finished look we all want!

What is Blocking?

Blocking is a finishing technique that makes your crochet look its absolute best. It helps even out the stitches and sets the final size and shape.

Blocking can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before, but it’s as simple as getting your project wet, shaping it how you want, and then letting it dry. That’s it!

Why block? Here are a few reasons:

  • Blocking helps even out your tension so that your stitches look neat and uniform.
  • Blocking helps set the final dimensions of your project so it fits correctly.
  • Blocking opens up lacework patterns so that you can really see the design.
  • Blocking improves the drape of fabric, and helps flatten curling edges.
two wavy curled crochet swatches in blue and teal yarn

When is Blocking Necessary?

When should you take the time to block a project? I recommend blocking any project that you plan to display, wear, or gift to someone else.

You should definitely block these types of projects:

  • Gauge swatches – Blocking helps you get the most accurate gauge measurements
  • Garments – Block each panel before seaming them together, or block the entire garment once finished.
  • Openwork, lace, mesh, and filet crochet – Blocking opens up the spaces in the design.
  • Granny squares and other motifs – Blocking makes all your granny squares the same size so they’re easier to assemble into a larger project.
  • Tunisian crochet and other curling stitches – Blocking helps to flatten stitches patterns that curl up at the edges in Tunisian crochet work.

You can probably skip blocking for:

  • Dishcloths or other small utility pieces that don’t need to look perfect.
  • Amigurumi or toys.

What Tools Do I Need for Blocking?

Alright, let’s talk tools. Having the right supplies makes blocking so much easier. And while this list looks like a lot, most of the items are basics you already have around the house.

  • A blocking surface – This needs to be something flat and firm that you can stick pins in – and that can stand to get a little wet. Yarn stores sell specialty blocking mats that work great. You can also use yoga mats, foam core boards from the craft store, and interlocking exercise mats. In a pinch, you can use towels on a table or carpet – but remember that the surface underneath will get damp.
  • Rust-proof pins – Regular pins can rust and stain your project. So, you’ll want to invest in some stainless steel blocking pins for best results. 
  • Water source – This depends on your blocking method. For wet blocking, use a sink, tub, or basin. For spraying, use a spray bottle of plain water. For steam blocking, you’ll need an iron with a steam setting or a garment steamer. 
  • Absorbent towels – Use these to press out excess water from your projects.
  • Tape measure or ruler – You’ll need these to pin your project out to its final dimensions.
crochet granny square pinned to a light purple blocking mat with pins

Pre-Blocking Prep

Before you get blocking, here are a couple of key things to check:

  • Read the care label on your yarn. Follow the recommendations so you don’t felt or otherwise ruin the yarn.
  • Test your blocking method on your gauge swatch first. Remember that gauge swatch you made earlier? Block that swatch first to see how the yarn reacts: Is it colorfast or does the dye bleed? How much does the gauge change? How long does it take to dry?

3 Easy Blocking Methods

There are three different methods of blocking:

  1. Wet blocking
  2. Spray blocking
  3. Steam blocking

Depending on your project and the yarn you’ve used, you may prefer one method over the others.

4 swatches of crochet fabric in a white sink with water for wet blocking

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is the process of soaking a crocheted piece in water, gently squeezing out the excess moisture, shaping it, and allowing it to air dry.

This method works well for: 

  • Natural fiber yarns such as wool, cotton, and linen.
  • Lacework or open stitch patterns that you want to block aggressively.

Avoid this method for:

  • Very delicate or loosely spun yarns that might stretch too much when soaking wet.

Materials you’ll need:

  • A basin or sink for soaking
  • Mild detergent or wool wash (optional)
  • Blocking mat
  • Rust-proof pins
  • Measuring tape and/or ruler

Here’s how to wet block your crochet project:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with cool water. Add a small amount of mild detergent or wool wash.
  2. Submerge your crochet piece in the water and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. The soak time allows the fibers to become fully saturated with water.
  3. Drain the water and gently press (don’t wring) the item to remove excess water. You can also roll up in a towel to absorb more water.
  4. Lay the item flat on a blocking mat or a clean, dry towel. Shape it to the desired dimensions. (If it’s a garment, shape it to the measurements specified in the pattern schematic.)
  5. Insert rust-proof pins at regular intervals around the edges of the piece to hold it in place while it dries.
  6. Allow your project to dry completely before removing the pins. This could take anywhere from several hours to a couple of days, depending on the thickness of the yarn and the humidity of the room.
a steam iron next to a blocking board with 4 colorful crochet swatches

Steam Blocking

Steam blocking is the process of using steam to set the fibers. Steam blocking is much quicker than wet blocking and is suitable for most types of yarn. Take extra care when steam-blocking acrylic yarn to avoid melting the fibers.

This method works well for:

  • Projects that need a light to moderate amount of shaping.
  • Most types of yarns, including heat-tolerant wool, cotton, and linen.
  • You can steam block acrylic yarn, too. The high heat permanently relaxes the yarn (sometimes called “killing the yarn”). Just don’t let the iron touch the acrylic, or it could melt and stick to the iron.

Avoid this method for:

  • Delicate fibers that are sensitive to heat, like silk.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Blocking mats or a flat surface that can withstand heat.
  • Rust-proof pins.
  • Steam iron or garment steamer.
  • Measuring tape and/or ruler.

Here’s how to steam block your crochet project:

  1. Lay your crochet item out on a blocking mat, and shape it to the desired dimensions.
  2. Pin it in place using rust-proof pins.
  3. Set your iron to continuous steam. Hover the iron a few inches above the crochet item and release steam onto the fabric. Move slowly across the entire piece. (Do not touch the yarn with the iron!)
  4. Allow your project to cool and dry completely before removing the pins.
4 crochet swatches pinned on a purple blocking mat

Spray Blocking

Spray blocking is the process of pinning your crochet piece in place, misting it with water, and allowing it to dry. This gentle blocking method is preferred for delicate items, or fibers that may not react well to heat.

This method works well for:

  • Delicate fibers like cashmere, alpaca, or angora.
  • Projects that only need a small amount of shaping.

Avoid this method for:

  • Projects that require a significant amount of stretching or shaping.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Blocking boards or a flat surface covered with towels.
  • Rust-proof pins.
  • Spray bottle filled with cool water.
  • Measuring tape and/or ruler.

Here’s how to spray block your crochet project:

  1. Lay your crochet item on a blocking mat and shape it to the desired dimensions.
  2. Pin your project in place using rust-proof pins.
  3. Use a spray bottle to mist your item with water until it’s damp, but not soaked.
  4. Allow it to air dry completely before removing the pins.
three finished blocked swatches with a green crochet hook

Three Tips for Blocking

Here are some tips to make your blocking process smoother:

Read the yarn label: Different yarns react differently to water and heat. Know the fiber content of your yarn and follow any care instructions provided on the yarn label.

Patience is Key: Give your project enough time to dry completely before unpinning.

Blocking in Sections: If you don’t have enough space on your blocking mat to fit a large project, you can block it in sections.

FAQs about Blocking Crochet

Can I block acrylic yarn?

Yes, you can block acrylic yarn with any of the three methods described above. Some people use the steam method to intentionally overheat the yarn to relax it, or “kill it”. Be careful not to touch the iron to the yarn, or you risk melting it.

Should I block before or after weaving in the ends?

I prefer to block before weaving in the ends. That way, if blocking causes the fabric to grow, the woven-in ends won’t cause puckering.

Is blocking permanent?

Not always. Washing undoes blocking to some extent. (The exception is steam-blocking acrylic yarn, which is permanent.)

Can I re-block an item?

Absolutely! If an item loses its shape over time or after washing, you can re-block it.

What if I don’t have a blocking mat?

While blocking mats are incredibly useful, you can use a clean, dry towel laid flat on a table or floor. Just make sure that the surface underneath can get wet.

What’s Next?

Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.

Leave a comment: We love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!

Share on Instagram or Facebook: When you make this project, share it on social media and tag me @sarahmaker_. We love to see what you make!

pinterest image with a photo background of 4 crochet swatches on a purple blocking mat with text overlay "the easy way to block crochet"

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