How To Block Crochet with The Tennessee Stitch


Prepping to block a doily

When I started crocheting, blocking was a mystery to me!  Today, I want to share with you what I have learned.

What Is Blocking?

Blocking is a technique used to “polish” a completed piece.  By polish, I mean to make the piece lay flat and take the desired shape.  The technique is great tool to have in your crochet medicine bag, so to speak.

Why Block Your Projects?

Blocking provides a variety of uses:

  • Polished appearance
  • Shapes the design
  • Sets the design
  • Smooths stitches
  • Allows the project to be stretched to a desired measurement

Blocked Piece (Left), Unblocked Piece (Right)

When To Block?

Blocking requires that your project be completed.  When you have finished a doily, it is the perfect time to block.  After blocking a doily, you will be able to see the beautiful lace pattern.  Blocking sets the stitches in the doily to hold that beautiful design.  Some hooksters block each granny square before sewing together.  This allows the blanket to be uniform and have completed look once joined.  Most clothing patterns require specific measurements for sections or panels.  If crocheted slightly smaller than the desired measurements, blocking can allow you to stretch and set the section to the correct measurement.

How To Block?

The most important instruction is to read the yarn label for any special care instructions.  Many fibers can benefit from steam blocking, BUT some specify NOT to block at all!  So make sure that you are reading the care instructions before proceeding.

What you will need:

  • Rust-proof stick pins
  • Fluffy towels
  • Blocking board/Ironing board
  • Iron

Blocking Methods

Cold Blocking

Cold blocking is best for the fragile yarns.  You pin the edges of the piece into the desired size and shape.  Cover the piece with a damp towel.  When the towel is dry, the piece has been blocked.

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is best for thread projects like doilies.  If the yarn label states that it is hand washable, use a mild detergent and rinse the piece. Do not wring or twist the piece. To draw out the excess moisture, lay the piece out flat and pat dry with a towel.  Pin the piece in the desired size and shape.  When the piece is dry, it has been blocked.


Steam Blocking

Steam Blocking

Steam blocking is the most popular method.  It is a great technique, used for most projects.  Make sure not to steam items that can be damaged by heat. Pin the piece into the desired size and shape.  Hold your steaming iron or steamer slightly above the project.  Steam the piece thoroughly, making sure NOT to touch the iron to the fabric.  Touching the iron to the piece can scorch the yarn!  Leave the item pinned until it is dry.  Once it is completely dry, the piece is blocked.

So my questions to you are:

  • Do you normally block?
  • What other advice for this would you share with others?

Connect with Danielle on her blog CrochettoDani and on Facebook Crochetto.

Leave me your comments below on any other tips you may have? Also, if you have another topic you wish for me to investigate, leave me a comment sharing your ideas too!


About danielledyer

I am in my late 20's. I live in the hills of the Appalachian mountains in Tennessee. I love to crochet and invite you to join in on the fun!
This entry was posted in Advice & Tips, The Tennessee Stitch: Daniele Dyer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to How To Block Crochet with The Tennessee Stitch

  1. Roxann says:

    Back in the 70’s I made a granny square afghan. It was beautiful,trimmed and sewn together with black yarn. I then blocked it. It turned out terrible! I ironed it and it smashed all my stitches. I ironed right on it instead of steaming it . I didn’t know any better. It turned out hard and ugly. Never again!!

  2. I learned very young to block from My Grandmothers who taught me to crochet when I was probably 4 yrs old..and now with the newer yarns etc, it should give instructions on each skein of yarn, but dont.. Why ? The younger generations who didn’t know about blocking and have never been taught could very easily ruin their project.. and yes different types of yarn, need different types of blocking.. Thank you for the article.. Sure hope a lot of gals and guys read it and learn from it…

    • danielledyer says:

      Next week I will be covering yarn labels……the symbols actually tell you whether you can or cant and what the best way to block is 🙂 I hope to see you then and that it will help as well.

  3. Just Moi says:

    The steam blocking instructions paired with that photo could be confusing… the written instructions do not say to cover the fabric being blocked but in the photo there is a cloth over the piece… and it says to not touch the iron to the fabric yet the iron in the photo is clearly touching the fabric.

    • danielledyer says:

      You are right. There are so many different ways to block. The picture is staged (the iron is not on) they have the towel there for protection unless they accidentally touch it to the fabric…..there is a barrier to keep the stitches from scorching 😉 I hope that helps you

  4. Vicky G says:

    @ Elizabeth Thompson…why can’t you use liquid fabric softener when washing your items??
    tytyty for your great tips 🙂

  5. Elena says:

    thank you very much. I never knew what blocking was and felt so dumb 😦

    • danielledyer says:

      Dont feel dumb dear. There are so many different aspects and things to learn about crochet. It is an art! We wouldn’t expect anyone that is learning to paint to be able to tackle the Sistine Chapel, right?? Take your time and practice….it is a craft. And you cant learn it all at once. We are here to help you as you grow your knowledge 🙂

      • Elena says:

        Thanks for the kind words and the support. I learned some basics from my grandma ages ago, but only recently decided to go back to crocheting and it’s fascinating, i hope i can master it and start making proper beautiful things.

  6. elizabeth thompson says:

    When working with the yarns of today, that are machine wash and machine dry, do not use a liquid fabric softener. I have had good success with dryer sheets. I do not let the article dry completely, but get it out of the dryer whiles still slightly damp. For large items, I “block” on my bed by simply smoothing and shaping by hand. The heat from the dry and the sheets really soften the yarn. Easy to do and no risk if you use the correct settings on the machines. For the thread items I have always blocked them wet. A lot of them require heavy starching for correct shaping, especially the Christmas tree ornaments including an large angel for the top (I use a white school glue starch).

    • danielledyer says:

      ❤ ❤ ❤ this!!! There are so many simpler and easier ways to block now-a-days. Thank you for this info…..I will definitely be using this one for my current afghan WIP! Thank you 😉

  7. Sherry Baird says:

    This is all new to me because I am new to the more advance crocheting. The funniest part is I hate to iron, when I was growing up, I iron all the time and was so Happy when we got a dryer that could do most of the work for me. Now in my older years, i am still like that, I rarely ever use a iron but will keep this in mind because I love my work to look the best that it can. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • danielledyer says:

      I tend to hate washing dishes….so I stay away from it HAHAHAHAHA. Likewise…..try cold blocking or wet blocking (neither one require an iron). That way you are really protected against damage from heat as well. 🙂

  8. Liz says:

    There are a couple of pieces I have made that I was thinking about blocking. Does a blocked piece hold it’s shape after it has been washed? Also, if it has been washed once, can it still be blocked? I washed my Amazing Shawl from the challenge, but I liked the how some of the shawls had a more pointed look – I was thinking that it was because they were blocked.

    • danielledyer says:

      You can block them. Wash them, then lay them out how you want it to look and let it air dry. When its dry it has been blocked. **Im pretty sure that you did this when you washed it, you just didnt realize what you were doing ;)**

  9. Connie Baker says:

    Thanks for info: When I make my doilies, I just gently dampen them with cold water, then use a light fabric stiffener or starch, and lay them on a flat surface to dry after I stretch them into the proper shape. When I need to wash a doilie, I just put it in a stocking bag and wash it on the gentle cycle in cold water, then go through the same process as above. Some of mine are over 30 years old and still look great.

    • danielledyer says:

      Thats great cold blocking and it truly works wonders!! Thanks Connie for sharing that with all of us. Its great to know how to maintain fabrics too 🙂 like washing

  10. foxash13 says:

    I am going to have to try blocking my squares for a baby blanket I am working on. I have been crocheting for a while now and had just recently heard about blocking. I had to look it up to see exactly what it was.

    • danielledyer says:

      I am glad that you found the information here. When I started I mostly focus on patterns and just making things. Now that I am further along and can do advanced patterns and write my own…..I get more into the details and extra things that I can do. I love the finished look that blocking provides. It makes it so smooth and beautiful.

  11. Ruth D says:

    You should make sure you block based on the fiber you’ve used. For example, you block 100% cotton by placing a wet cloth over the piece and using steam from your iron. If you use steam on a dry cloth, you’ll damage the cotton fibers beyond repair. You really need to know the textiles you’re working with and use the appropriate method. Google how to block for the exact fiber you’ve used and the item you’ve made so you do it correctly and don’t mess up all your hard work.

    • danielledyer says:

      This is GREAT information!!!! Usually you can find the info on the back of the yarn label, and adjust your blocking process accordingly. Do you think I should cover the yarn label and information available there?

      • Sue says:

        I’d appreciate it if you would. I have a hard time understanding all the care symbols used on yarn labels.

      • Ruth D says:

        I think it would be a good idea. I’ve been knitting, crocheting, sewing, and embroidering for more than 50 years and learned from my grandmothers and thier cronies. I always swatch, fit, block, etc because that’s how I was taught. With the resurgence of needle arts and the plethora of people who teach freely, I don’t think most people (including the self-taught teachers) know very much about fibers, how to read a label, etc. You’ll probably be reaching a very large audience of people who will thank you profusely. You’ll also be saving thier future projects for possible ruin. It’s really nice that you do this.

      • danielledyer says:

        How to read a yarn label will be posted next Thursday 🙂

  12. xloz68x says:

    will need to give this a go, i’m new to crocheting so this is something I didn’t even know existed 🙂

    • danielledyer says:

      There is so much to learn about crochet! And I absolutely LOVE every aspect. When it comes down to it… can literally make most of what you need in life with crochet (clothes, blankets, pot holders, toys, etc etc etc). Isnt that GREAT!!!

  13. Mimi S says:

    I use steam blocking for the Red Heart super saver yarns as it makes them very soft and they then drape nicely also. The steaming converts them! These yarns tend to be scratchy and somewhat stiff but the price is inviting!

  14. Laura Halpen says:

    Thanks for the refresher Danielle, I am getting ready to block a shawl I just finished and was going to have to look this stuff up. Happy hooking. Laura

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