To Block or not to Block? That is the Question

Before we even get into this discussion I have to say that, so far, I’m a non-blocker.  Let me tell you why.

It’s quite simple.  I never learned how to block.  I have looked it up online, read articles, watched some videos about it, and to be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a great idea.  My reason being, due to my admittedly limited understanding of blocking crochet pieces means if I sell, or give, my crocheted and blocked item to someone, and they decide to someday wash it, the item will lose it’s blocked appearance unless the receiver also blocks the item EVERY TIME it gets soiled.

Being a somewhat lazy laundress, I don’t think I’d want that job.  And I’m not sure anyone would be happy about having to do all that work every time they spilled a little ketchup or mustard.

So,  that’s why I prefer to hand over my unblocked crochet pieces to everyone with a kind of – what you see is what you get – attitude.

IMG_2536

A pretty purple Festival shawl hanging after completion.

When I complete an apparel piece, I tend to leave it hang on my mannequin for a day or two, mostly to admire my own handiwork… I’m so vain when it comes to my crochet…  but also to let the stitches relax and fall into place.

I’d love it if any of you firm-blocking-believers could convince me, and the other non-blockers like myself, to get started with this whole blocking process.

And do include ideas and tips for blocking bigger pieces.

Let’s get this conversation started.  Please tell us if you block, or not, and any good, bad, or indifferent thoughts you have on blocking in the comments section.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

About Robin

I'm a former community manager of a now defunct lifestyle site who's been writing online, and off, for over fifteen years. My passions include my family, my cat, reading, writing, crochet, and yarn art. I've decided to stitch all of those things together by way of my new blog, Imperial Crochet. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!
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15 Responses to To Block or not to Block? That is the Question

  1. tonymarkp says:

    Technically, if you used wool to crochet the project and you washed it and let it dry you actually blocked it! Blocking can be as simple as washing a wool piece and letting it dry flat or it can get as complex as pinning it into shape and steaming it (like for synthetic, superwash, bamboo, or cotton). Some things need a little help in holding their shape, like doilies. I use cotton crochet thread to make them and then iron them. I’m not a fan of forcing garments into different shapes and sizes, so I think we think alike! I totally agree that if you are giving a sweater to someone or any other garment it’s probably a bad idea to block it into a different size. Wool though can be tricky. Some wool yarns actually grow with a washing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robin says:

      The blocking I’ve seen used pins and some sort of yoga mat material, I think. Looked like an awful lot of work. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts here tonymarkp!

      Like

      • tonymarkp says:

        You’re welcome! I fondly call the blocking you have seen “aggressive blocking.” Blocking can get that extreme or not (like simply getting the item wet and letting it dry flat).

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Tami says:

    I agree with you too Robin. I never block. I always wash (machine or handwash) everything when I’m finished with it. Washing it softens the yarn so I can really see how my item drapes and fits. I know I would never want to sell or gift something that will look completely different after the recipient/customer got it wet. I’m interested in seeing what always/sometimes blockers like about blocking and what the benefits are. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I only block things I have made using thread. It compliments the stitches. But nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I tend to block a lot. Especially lace projects, jewelry or appliqués that need to lay flat. I have blocked a piece, worn it, washed it and it stayed the same size. So I don’t think you need to block every time. But, it is a lot of work, so if it’s not for you that’s okay too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Robin says:

      Thanks for sharing brennacrocheter! I can see your point about blocking jewelry, lace and appliques. I haven’t made any of those things…yet… but I bet they might roll if they weren’t blocked.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your reasoning for why you don’t block. I might steal it. I don’t block because I’m lazy. I, too, have the attitude, what you see is what you get. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Blocking is usually nessecary when knitting lace, with crochetting blocking isn’t really nessecary. Also when using natural fibres blocking once is often enough, acrylic and nylon behaves a bit different.

    I never use non-natural yarns so I’m not familiair with those.

    If you use a mannequin that allows pins you can also try another technique that is not hard-blocking but something in between. You spray the garnment with a mixture of water and lemon juice, pin it in place with stainless steel pins and let it dry. This often makes your edges a little bit more flat.

    Also works with scarfs: Lay them out on a towel, spray, stretch out in place (pin if needed) and leave it drying. Again this is often not needed with crochet work, much more with knitting since it’s thinner and deformes faster.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. essiebirdies says:

    I crocheted some shawls and never blocked them. I was just thinking about giving the blocking a try but when I read the above comments I think: why all the effort of blocking when it is not really necesarry. What you wrote about washing and hanging out on a mannequin seems a good idea for me because I have a mannequin just like yours!

    Liked by 1 person

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