Blocking and Finishing Crochet

Blocking

Blocking is a process in which your crocheted item is gently stretched or pinned into the proper shape, then allowed to dry naturally so it will stay in shape. Blocking can be as simple as using a warm iron to press a garment to the correct shape or it may be as structured as using a stiffening solution such as starch to make the item stiff.

If you simply wish to block the item, but not stiffen or starch it, follow the recommendations below.

  • If necessary, wash your project by hand using a mild soap and cold water.
  • Rinse it well in cold water
  • Do not wring the item. Place it in a thick terrycloth towel and roll it while applying pressure to force the water out of the item and into the towel.
  • If your piece is clean, lightly spray it with water to dampen it.
  • With the right side up, spread the item on a flat, padded surface.
  • Smooth the project to the correct size, making sure all loops, picots, etc are open.
  • If necessary, pin the piece in place with rust-proof pins.
  • If desired, lightly spray with spray starch.
  • Let dry completely.

If you want to starch or stiffen your item, you will need the following supplies:

  • Stiffening solution such as:   a commercial stiffening solution found in craft or needlecraft stores; white craft glue; or a thick solution of boilable starch (liquid or spray starches will not work).
  • Plastic bag with a zipper seal
  • Pinning board such as a sheet of Styrofoam, heavy cardboard, fabric cutting board, or foam floor tiles from the hardware store.
  • Rust-proof straight pins 
  • Blocking form, if one is need, the pattern will call for the correct shape and size. It can be as simple as a tea cup or mixing bowl.
  • Spray bottle of water if necessary to dampen the item.

Follow these guidelines to starch or stiffen your item:

  • Cover pinning board and blocking form with plastic wrap and pin in place. Hint: If you use colored plastic wrap, it may be easier to see what you're doing.
  • Make sure your hands are clean.
  • Pour stiffening solution in the plastic bag and put the bag into a bowl so it does not make a mess.
  • Totally immerse your item into the solution.
  • When it is well coated, remove it from the bag and gently press out the excess solution. Do not wring or squeeze the item. Make sure all solution is removed from any decorative holes in the item. Hint: Leftover solution may be stored in the zipped plastic bag for a couple of days. After that, throw it away.
  • Pin the item on the board or form, shaping as necessary. If desired, pin it in place.
  • Remove pins from item while it is still slightly damp.
  • Use a spray bottle of water to moisten item to reshape if necessary.
  • Do not bend starched item unless it is still damp. If it is too dry, it may crack.
  • Let dry thoroughly before removing it from board or form.

Finishing the Crochet Project

  1. Using a tapestry needle, weave in all ends to hide them in the body of the crochet. 
  2. Block all pieces to the measurements given in the pattern.
  3. If multiple pieces need to be joined together, as for a garment, seam the pieces. You may either put the right sides together, overcast stitch the seams or join them with a slip stitch or single crochet, or hold them with the wrong sides facing each other and use the mattress stitch from the right side.
  4. Attach any buttons or embellishments.