Blocking: before and after

From August of 1992 to August of 1993, I lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in a lovely house on a quiet street on the western border of Eastern Michigan University.

In addition to being when and where I experienced what I came to think of as my first “real” winter ever it was also both the last time I ever ironed my clothes (and those of my family) with any regularity.

Blocking a finished crocheted project is not unlike ironing in that the items in question look much better after it is done, but the process can be time consuming and seldom affects the function of the item in question.

In the early part of December, I worked on a “beginner’s” project featured in James Walters’ book, Crochet Workshop, a book I had checked out from the library when I first learned to crochet.

At the time, my crochet skills were quite rudimentary, and the “beginner’s” project was far too advanced for me to undertake. Was it, I wondered, as difficult as I remembered?

It turned out that in the intervening years, I had learned a lot about how to read crochet patterns and charts, and while the project was not “simple,” all of the challenges were easily within the skill set I had developed over the 13 years since I first tried my hand at the project.

Here is how it looked right after I finished it and before blocking:

crochetbug, crochet circles, crochet doily, yarn doily, crochet snowflake
The beginner’s crochet project before blocking

and here is how it appears to day, several weeks after being blocked:

crochetbug, crochet circles, crochet doily, yarn doily, crochet snowflake
The beginner’s crochet project after blocking

While the change is subtle, I think it is measurable and demonstrates that blocking is well worth the effort.

Another item I made that I determined to be in great need of blocking was the black and white ketjusilmukkahuivi I made as part of my November stash down project. Upon finishing, it was an extremely unruly project curling here and there and everywhere:

crochetbug, crochet shawl, crochet wrap, crochet shawl, crochet stripes
My ketjusilmukkahuivi before blocking

But after a good long soak in warm water and at least a week on the knitter’s block pieces (I left it in the crochet empire and forgot about it), I ended up with a much more manageable shawl/scarf:

crochetbug, crochet shawl, crochet wrap, crochet shawl, crochet stripes
My ketjusilmukkahuivi after blocking

While blocking cannot be done effectively if you are in a hurry to get something wrapped to be given as a gift, it is well worth the effort on those occasions that you have the time, and I would encourage all crocheters to make the time for blocking as often as possible.

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