Blocking a crocheted item gives it a finished, professional look. The process of blocking involves shaping and pinning the crocheted piece into the correct shape before completing an item. It is especially useful
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in taking various shapes such as squares and making them a consistent size before you join them together as in a granny or sampler square afghan.
First, you need a padded surface with a graph on it. A good choice would be a flat board you can stick pins in such as a cork bulletin board. I often use an ironing board for blocking small items. Cover your blocking surface with a clean pad such as thick cotton towels or cotton batting. To create a graph over the padding, the simple solution is to use gingham or some other fabric covered with one inch, half inch or quarter inch squares. (See pictures below.) Fasten the fabric over the padded surface.
Using metal rustproof pins (no plastic because they can melt if you are using heat), pin your item on the graph. Use plenty of straight pins to easy your item into the desired shape.
For blocking yarns made from acrylic and other synthetic yarns, after pinning the item into shape, use a spray bottle with clean water and mist over the item until it is moist, but not saturated. Pat the item so it is thoroughly damp. Allow the item to dry completely. Remove the pins.
For blocking wool, cotton or linen yarns, pin the item into the desired shape. Then take a damp, clean cloth and lay it over the crocheted item. Take a steam iron set to the correct temperature for the yarn, hold the iron about an inch over the item and move the iron above the item until the cloth is warm. Do NOT put the iron down on the cloth and “iron” the crocheted item. Remove the cloth and test the crocheted item. If the yarn is damp and warm, it is ready. Remove the cloth and allow the item to dry completely. Remove the pins. (I sometimes will block an acrylic yarn this way, but you must be very careful NOT to put the iron on top of the cloth covering.)