Sunday 6 July 2014

The Importance of "Blocking"

 Well, I have finally made my 'Clematis' Garland Bunting available for purchase via Etsy or Ravelry !  Sorry it's taken me so long.

I thought it was the perfect pattern to point out the importance of blocking. Ever wondered why your finished projects don't look the same as the designers, even though you've used the same yarn and made no mistakes?  Photography has a little to do with it, but blocking is probably the main difference. Blocking is essential to make your finished article look its best, and is applicable to both crocheted and knitted projects. Using the Clematis Garland Bunting as an example, it will bring out the petals on the flowers and uncurl the leaves.

Don’t be scared if you haven’t done it before – it’s just pulling the finished item into shape while it’s wet, pinning it so it doesn't curl back up and allowing it to dry so it stays that way! You can spray with starch if you’d like it to be a little stiffer, but I prefer not to - I like a little curl!

See how curly & scruffy my clematis flowers looked before I blocked them?! This is what I did to get them looking their best:

Wet the garland under the tap and pat dry on a towel or kitchen paper – it needs to be wet through, but not dripping otherwise it will take ages to dry!

Either on a folded towel or on a blocking mat if you have one, lay the flowers down flat and arrange the full garland in a roughly spiral shape so it will all fit on your mat or towel. Proper blocking mats can be quite expensive - I use foam jigsaw tiles I bought from Costco (but you can get them from Argos and other places). For projects which don't have to be measured or pinned to be absolutely the same size, they work just fine. I used to use the foam childrens floor number jigsaw tiles, but the numbers fell out all the time and it got annoying! The benefit of the jigsaw tiles is you can join them together to make huge mats for large projects like shawls.

In the centre of each clematis flower, stick one pin. Tease out each of the 6 petals until they are comfortably stretched out, but not too taut & pin in place. Then place a pin in the ch1 space in the middle of the side of a petal and pull out the next petal, poking the pin through the ch 1 space in that one too & pin to the mat/towel so they meet. Continue around, pinning each petal to it’s neighbour and then to the mat/towel from the centre ch1 spaces.

Now go around and place one pin at both ends of each leaf so that they are comfortably stretched out, but not too taut. Also pin either side to make sure they don’t curl width ways.

Once it is pinned out as you would like it, leave it to dry completely (you can get the hairdryer out if you’re impatient like me – don’t keep it in the same place too long & burn it though!)
Once completely dry, unpin it and it’s ready to hang!

This is a good project to use as an example, but blocking helps all projects look better.  Some are trickier to do than others - hats are a prime example!  Beret's can be damped and stretched over a plate to bring out the pattern and shape, or other hats can be pulled over a suitably dome shaped vase or football or balloon (don't stick pins in if you're using a football or balloon!!!). Garments can be laid flat and pinned into shape, even granny squares look better and are easier to join if they have been blocked.

If you don't block already, give it a go and see the difference it makes for yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment