Blocking the Fun Way

Feb 10, 2011

. I think nearly everything is better if it has just a bit of crocheted lace embellishing it. I always have at least one lace project in progress. Of course, that means that my blocking boards and wires are almost constantly in use. Blocking makes all lace more beautiful.
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Freshly made lace is rumpled, springy, and stretchy. It's lovely, but is not even near its full potential. To achieve airy, drapey, elegant lace, we need to block it. This is my pre-blocked Moss Fern Wrap, designed by Kimberly K. McAlindin (Interweave Crochet Fall 2009). It is a great shawl for lace beginners: it works up quickly with a simple, easy-to-remember stitch repeat.

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My shawl was made with a wool/soy/cotton/chitin blend sock yarn (South West Trading Company's Tofutsie; one ball). Once it was finished, I soaked it for ten minutes in a bowl of warm water with a bit of wool wash in it.
Note that some fibers like wool wash and others don't. Some like warm water, and others prefer cold. Check your ball band and have a nice chat with your yarn before this step.

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Spacer 10x10 pixels After the shawl had a nice soak, I stretched it out on a foam mat and threaded blocking wires through each edge of the shawl, weaving the wire through the lace openings. Then I gently stretched the wires away from each other, stretching and opening the stitches of my lace. When it was stretched out to the point where the lace looked nice and open, and the measurements of the shawl were to my liking, I pinned down the wires.
           
     
 

 I let the shawl dry over night, and then, voila! I had lovely, airy, open lace!

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If you've caught the lace bug, check out Kristin Omdahl's Crochet Corner DVD for lots of great tips and techniques for all kinds of lace, from simple lace constructed with double crochets to intricate and beautiful hairpin lace. It's now available for digital download, so you can dive right in!

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I look forward to seeing your lace pieces in our gallery!

 

Until next time,

 


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jillpike wrote
on Feb 10, 2011 10:09 AM

Sarah,

I've crocheted for decades, but am new to making garments and also to blocking one's work. Could you elaborate on the kind of equipment you use? It's difficult to envision how you do this.

Also, is there special equipment that must be used? Could you include a link for that, perhaps?

Thanks so much,

Jill Pike, Alabama

Nan@49 wrote
on Feb 10, 2011 10:40 AM

You mention blocking wires.  Is this something you made yourself or are they available online somewhere?  I've been crocheting forever, but have only blocked some smaller items.  

vinay11 wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 3:35 AM

Hello Sarah read ,

I like it your scaft is really good,if you are wearing plain t-shirts after that you can wear your scaft this is really beautiful keep up the good work.

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vinay11 wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 3:36 AM

Hello Sarah read ,

I like it your scaft is really good,if you are wearing plain t-shirts after that you can wear your scaft this is really beautiful keep up the good work.

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vinay11 wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 3:39 AM

Awesome post thank for taking time to discuss with us.

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Sarah Read wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 9:10 AM

Hi all, and I'm glad you liked my blog!

I use blocking wires that I ordered from KnitPicks: www.knitpicks.com/.../Lace_Blocking_Wires__D80589.html

They also sell foam blocking mats, which are nice in that they are waterproof and allow your project to dry more quickly. I bought my blocking mats at Target; they are actually playroom floor mats! There's a race car track on the front of them. :D

You can actually make your own blocking wires with piano wire or wire from the hardware store, but it needs a little work, filing the ends and cleaning them so that they don't leave metal dust on your lace.

Happy lace blocking!

Sarah

engai wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 12:14 PM

Can you let me know whether you need to block the item every time after you wash it?  Your pictures clearly show why blocking needs to be done; my previous understanding is you block an item for size but I never quite understand the whole concept.

Sarah Read wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 12:20 PM

Hi Engai!

For some fibers and projects (ones that feel "bouncy", or have an acrylic or nylon content), you do have to block every time. Kind of a bummer, but still worth it! For others, a good solid blocking at the start will last, and as long as you lay the project flat to dry, in the shape you like it, it should retain some of that initial blocking. My 100% merino projects usually just need to be gently shaped to dry, and they do fine.

I hope that helps!

Sarah

krismort wrote
on Feb 11, 2011 8:51 PM

This is probably the most helpful article I've seen in my emails from Interweave. I haven't done anything big yet that needed to be blocked but will be adding this post to my favorites to refer to when I do. I've never heard of blocking wires. And your reply to the comments letting us know where to get them was also appreciated. I may have to dig out the old foam mats from my now-grown children's past. Just one concern, though. The mats at knitpicks are white. Is there a concern over color transfer with the mats you have? (And do the holes heal so the grandkids can still play with them when they visit?)

kcrochet wrote
on Feb 12, 2011 7:20 PM

Thanks for this blog entry.  Blocking crochet is an under-appreciated art.  

on Feb 13, 2011 10:47 AM

Hi Sarah, I just purchased a blocking board. It was a bit on the expensive side but I think its going to save me alot of headaches in the long run! I have never heard of blocking wires. What are they and where can I get them?  

on Feb 13, 2011 10:50 AM

Nevermind Sarah, I've read the comments you wrote on 2/11/11.

Thanks!

photogmomma wrote
on Feb 18, 2011 5:21 PM

Oh, gosh! this is so gorgeous! I think I need to add that to my list of things. I've been considering a shawl (okay, obsessing) and this might be it!

on Oct 16, 2013 3:26 PM

Interweave Crochet Accessories 2014 is just bursting with all types of crochet goodness and techniques

on Oct 16, 2013 3:26 PM

Interweave Crochet Accessories 2014 is just bursting with all types of crochet goodness and techniques