The final use of your home crocheting project helps you to decide which method of blocking is the right one to use to fit your needs. Another thing to consider is the yarn type. As we all know, different types of yarn respond differently to water, steam and heat and using the wrong method can be extremely damaging to your home crocheted project.
If you had to join pieces together in your project, (e.g., sleeves and/or body) block each piece separately before joining them to where they should be. This process ensures easier joining because each piece is the correct size and shape and gives you a more accurate picture towards the finished size.
Remember, blocking only shapes the garment; it doesn’t change its size.
The first thing to do make sure you have the finished dimensions from the pattern. Second, find a flat, padded surface big enough to accommodate your design when you stretch it to its finished measurements. The reason for the padded surface is so that you have something to pin this garment to. You may want to use a large piece of cardboard covered with plastic as the flat padded surface. You also need pins, towels, thin cotton towels, some kind of starch, steam iron and a tape measure or ruler.
There are various ways of achieving your goal, but I will try to explain one of them to you as follows:
Wet Blocking: you must submerge the whole thing in water. Make sure that the yarn label doesn’t specify to dry clean the yarn or you will have a problem. If you want to wash the completed home crocheted item, now is the time to do this. Use a mild soap (not detergent) made for delicate fabrics and rinse in cool water. Drain the water from the tub or sink without removing your home crocheted project from it. Press down on the completed project in the tub or sink to remove some excess water. I personally prefer to use the bathtub for this job. Now you pick it up and gently squeeze to remove more water – make sure that no parts are hanging down to avoid stretching. Any wet piece hanging down runs the risk of stretching. Don’t wring it out – this will stretch the completed project in all the wrong places making it harder to fit the project to the specified measurements.
Lay the completed home crocheted project flat on top of a large towel and then roll the towel and the project together like a jellyroll to absorb more of the water. You just to remove some of the water so that the material isn’t soaking wet.
Put another towel on the cardboard covered in plastic and lay your work flat on it (this must be able to remain in the same place undisturbed for a day or two or until it is dry).
Before leaving the completed home crocheted project to dry, make sure to measure and if you must, gently shape and stretch the item to the correct size. Now you can let it dry.
However, if you need to dry this completed home crocheted item in a hurry, use a large fan in front of the cardboard covered with plastic to speed up the drying time. Just make sure that the fan is far enough away so that it doesn’t blow anything around. The completed home crocheted item must be lying flat until completely dry without the fan disturbing it!
Whatever you do, never use a blow dryer to dry wool or synthetic yarn. The heat could shrink your piece or melt the fibers in most yarns. I generally use this method on Afghans or sweaters – anything made of wool, therefore the cautions regarding heat from a blow dryer.
If your completed home crocheted project is blocked correctly and carefully, you will have the right size and you will also have something you can be extremely proud of for years to come!