Have you ever finished a crochet project, only to hold it up and find that it's not the shape it's supposed to be? That's when wet blocking crochet comes in handy.
When our crochet pieces are fastened off, they still need an extra step at the end to make sure those stitches stay where they should. We can use wet blocking to coax those stitches into place. I know a lot of crocheters who skip the wet blocking crochet process entirely, and sometimes that's ok. But if you crocheted a piece of lace or a garment, it's a key step to getting the shape you want.
It should also be noted that wet blocking crochet is not a solution for messed-up stitches or an incorrect gauge. While blocking will help the shaping, it's not a miracle cure for mistakes. (I know. If only!)
Show those stitches who's boss when you try wet blocking crochet to shape those pieces exactly the way you want.
Choosing a pinning surface
I'm not a big fan of spending tons of money on supplies. Don't feel like you need to go out and buy blocking wires, for instance, when you can improvise with stuff you already have at home. Like to stick to the rules? Then by all means, go nuts with blocking mats!
For this tutorial, I've used a cork board that usually hangs on my office wall. I wouldn't use this cork if I were blocking a bigger item, like a sweater, but for smaller items, this works well for me. There are a lot of other options if your item is bigger. You can use towels, cushions, or even your bed. The key points are to make sure you have lots of room and that the surface can tolerate moisture. (Your gorgeous wood dining room table is no place for blocking!)
Checking your yarn label
Not all yarn is washable, so before you try wet blocking, check the yarn label to make sure it can be doused in water. Not sure where to find the info you need? Check out our handy how-to on deciphering yarn labels .
If you don't have a yarn label -- hey, sometimes we lose those! -- then don't panic. I personally have never owned any yarn that was not washable, whether it's machine washable or hand wash only. It's safe to assume that most of the yarns you own are ok to dunk in water.
What you'll need:
Mild soap (optional)
Bucket or sink
Finished measurements of your project (if you're using a pattern)
How to wet block
1. Soak your item in lukewarm water with just a bit of mild soap. If I'm washing the item after wearing it several times, I usually let it soak for several minutes. However, if I'm blocking just to give it some shape, I don't leave it in the bath for nearly as long.
2. Remove your item from the bath. Try to squeeze out as much water as possible using your hands without wringing or twisting the item. If you are dealing with a larger item like a sweater, you can also roll it up in a towel to squeeze some of the water out.
3. Lay your item on the pinning surface, shaping it just as you'd like it to look when it dries. If you used a pattern to crochet your item, now's the time to break out that schematic and see what the final measurements should be.
Using T-pins, pin the item to the pinning surface. If your item has a lot of curves, be sure to pin around those curves so they stay in place.
4. Allow the item to dry. Depending on the size of your item, this could take up to a day, so block those sweaters well before you plan to wear them!
When you unpin the item, it should have dried in the shape you pinned it.
Want to make your crochet look even more professional? Join Linda Permann in her Professional Finishing for Perfect Crochet class. You'll learn advanced blocking techniques, like working with blocking wires, plus you'll see how to flawless join, seam, and more.