In the world of crochet, blocking seems to be quite a misunderstood thing, controversial even. Some crocheters advise blocking everything, others never bother. Some think that only pure wool items can be blocked and that blocking acrylic crochet blankets is a pointless waste of time.Well, faced beautiful but not exactly neat looking Attic24 crochet blanket after I had finished my last stripe, I had to do something. So I investigated how I would go about blocking acrylic crochet blankets.
What concerned me most was the really wobbly edge on the left short side of my crochet acrylic blanket. This is the first part of my blanket, where I started and I had done the foundation chain loosely with a hook that was 2 sizes up from the one I used in the main blanket. I was also worried about the wobbles along the long edge, which look like uneven frills.
After posting this pic on Facebook I got even more worried. Had I made each row even? Did I have more stitches on one side than the other? Eeeeeeek.
Is my Attic24 crochet blanket a rectangle?Even though I had religiously counted each stripe to make sure I hadn’t gained or lost stitches (I was working to 183 across each stripe), I was still worried and spent ages counting the stitches in my border on each side. The two short sides matched, then so did the long sides. So it couldn’t be anything too drastic. As the shape on the older part of the acrylic crochet blanket is more distorted than the end I’ve just finished, I think it must be just that the earlier part that I did has relaxed more and got stretched about was I’ve worked on it. Towards the end, because its been cold, I was almost wrapped in it as I worked.
Is blocking acrylic crochet blankets even possible?Going back to the controversies about blocking, this was the first question I had to answer. I know that Lucy of Attic24 steam blocks her crochet acrylic blankets, so I did a bit more research. Yes, blocking acrylic crochet blankets is possible, but acrylic crochet doesn’t retain its shape if you just pin it in place, spray with water and leave it to dry for 24-48 hours. This is the standard method for blocking wool crochet blankets and other items made of wool, or a wool blend. The reason it steam blocking wool blankets works is that wool is a natural fibre and it tends to shrink when it gets wet. Only a little, but the wetting and drying process fixes the wool fibres in their new position. When you block acrylic crochet blankets, you need to use steam not because of the water, but because of the heat. The synthetic fibres in the acrylic yarn get fixed when they are heated and then cool down again. The Attic24 method of blocking acrylic crochet blankets is to use a steam iron, moving it over the item that has been pinned in place on an ironing board, with the iron about 3cm above the crocheted fabric. Not closer, because if the iron touches the acrylic yarn, the yarn melts and all your hard work is ruined.
How I decided to block my acrylic crochet blanketsMy second question was, if I am going to block a blanket, how the heck can I do that? I sat and did a few border squares and gave this some thought. Then I got going again… My first step was to put the blanket on a carpet and see if I could smooth it out to see exactly how wonky it was.
There are no pins in the blanket at this point but I have smoothed it out and used the pattern on the carpet to line up the edges. (I hate this carpet – it came with the house – so its good to find it was useful for something.) I then spent about an hour tweaking it and pinning down the edges, not stretching the blanket but just gently teasing it into as perfect a rectangle as I could.
I then started on the actual process of steam blocking my acrylic crochet blanket:
- I had to get an extension lead and run this to the bottom end of the blanket then plug in the steam iron and fill it completely with water.
- With the iron on the highest steam setting I was on my hands and knees moving the iron around the edges of the blanket, hovering the iron about 3cm (just over an inch) above the blanket and making sure there was plenty of steam and the blanket was heating up just enough. Bum in the air, swearing joyfully. You can see why there are no pictures.
- After I had done the edges, I kneeled at each side and moved the iron backwards and forwards over the main body of the blanket.
After blocking my acrylic crochet blanketAfter unpinning the blanket this morning I took it up to the hard floor in my office for a test photograph. It has definitely improved. There are still a few ruffles around the edging but I am putting quite a deep edging on the blanket and I think these will smooth out as I go. I also worked out that the blanket shape looks distorted in photographs because of the way the iphone takes the pics. The blanket is lined up with straight things around it and that bottom right hand corner is perfectly in line, even though it looks like its a bit out of shape. I am going to work on solving the ruffles as I do the border. A good tip someone on Facebook suggested was doing rows of the border alternately on the right side then the wrong side to help the border and blanket edge to lie flat. I will try that once I have finished the strip of colourful squares that I am putting along the top and bottom of the blanket.
Blocking acrylic crochet blankets like this certainly seems to work – my blanket now folds up better… the edges line up and it looks much neater. Although the main part of the blanket is finished, and its looking in better shape now, I still have a lot of work to do with the border. I really would now like to finish the blanket for Christmas though – a real achievement to have done it in the 6 weeks between my birthday in November and Christmas Day!
42 thoughts on “Blocking acrylic crochet blankets”
I’ve used steam to try and block a purse-knitted scarf that kept curling in on itself, unfortunately it didn’t exactly work…
However, I’ve moved on to crochet and have made a small collection of scarves from acrylic, but they’re itchy and uncomfortable to wear.
I was wondering if wash them quickly in cold water than drying them in dryer in the lowest setting would do anything to help soften them? If anyone knows whether or not this works, it’d be greatly appreciated.
Hi Emma I doubt that will work – if the acrylic is scratchy it might be that its just a poor quality yarn. What kind is it? I’ve actually never heard of anyone thinking that about acrylic as its usually very soft. Maybe tried a well known brand like Stylecraft or Paintbox or King Cole? x
I crocheted a blanket for a queen-sized bed. The sides hung to halfway to the floor. Slowly it stretched to touch the floor. We flipped it so the stripes went top to bottom. It stretched to the floor at the bottom of the bed. It’s just too big for the bed. What can I do? Don’t know what blocking is.
I’m making another one and don’t want this to happen again.
I have had success with the hairdryer!
My crochet rug in V stitch had developed that curve!
I had done a tightish (but not overly) foundation row and that, combined with a thinner yarn than later stripes (even though it was same brand) created the curve😠
I had already started again, but when it happened again, I searched for an alternative to pulling it undone once more.
Somewhere on the net I read that you could stretch and pin the project as if you were going to block it, then use the dryer to heat the yarn (man made). By holding it about 2 inches or 4cm, say, move the heat up and down along your ‘curve’. Allow to cool and bingo!
Don’t overheat as it can weaken the yarn, but I am thrilled with the result.
Thanks to the person who offered the solution. Couldn’t find them again.
Of course looser chain foundation and same thickness yarn are best plan…
Hi Cathy – that is good to know. I recently had to block a large throw and I used a water spritzer and a hair dryer and it worked a treat too xxx
Hi I watch your blog and remember you recommending some specific pins for blocking that don’t rust, think you said they were Indian pins but can’t find the details anywhere. Could you advise if you remember the pins (think it was about a year or so ago). Thank you, Donna
Hi Donna they were supplied by Fay of Knit it, Hook it, Craft it – she has an online shop and I think she still sells several types xxx K.
Hi, I came across your blog while trying to decide how to handle a crocheted baby blanket that I want to line with fabric. Have you ever lined a blanket? I’m concerned about the fabric and yarn shrinking differently when it’s washed. Should I prewash the fabric and block the blanket before attaching the lining? Also, the blanket is Aran style cabling and quite thick. Is steaming one side sufficient? Thanks! I’ve never blocked or lined a crochet project before. Any wisdom you have to share would be appreciated:)
Sorry I can’t be much help with this as I’ve never lined a blanket – I should think prewashing the fabric to prevent shrinkage is a good idea though xxx K
I’m no expert, but I have lined a crochet star baby blanket with fabric with success. First, I’ll mention I used cotton thread yarn size 10, so it was a LARGE doily really. Then I got cotton fabric. I’ve read to try to match your material so it doesn’t go painfully awry during washing. I laid out the fabric, pinned down the blanket/doily and made my marks for cutting. Before the actual cutting, however, I sewed the crochet piece to 2 of the 3 under layers (top decorative fabric, batting, and bottom solid colored fabric). I kept my hand stitches as strait and presentable as possible. Cut out pattern on all 3. Turned inside out like a pillow, got all 3 mostly sewn, flipped and finished by folding the final bits in. Washed and air dried. Came out great! Just match your materials of choice!
Just wanted to say thank you for this post. I had a knitted tie made with acrylic yarn that I was concerned about blocking. Your steam tip did it! I was amazed that after a couple of hours the edges that were curling were completely relaxed. It was amazing. After tiring the tie a few times they did start curling a little, but were still way better than they had been. I may block it again after it has been worn a couple of times.
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I just finished my Ohio State afghan. It is made of Vanna`s Choice Lion Brand 100% Acrylic. I want to know if I should steam block BOTH SIDES. Blocking one side, letting it dry and then doing the other side ?? I am using my steam iron. Thanks
Hi Lynn It should be OK just to block one side. Its the heat from the steam that sets the stitches into shape, not the water. Washing in a washing machine (30oC) and then a gentle but warm tumble dry followed by stretching the blanket into shape also works well. Check your own yarn ball bands for washing instructions though, just to be safe. xxx
My steam iron leaks globs of water more than steam, and I can’t afford a new one right now, and I really need to block this blanket I have. I think my blocking boards are JUST big enough. But I am seriously pondering heating up the blanket with a hair dryer instead. I just told hubby as soon as I get a job I’m buying a big rug lol
Did you try the (hair) blow dryer? Wondering if it worked.
I crocheted an afghan with Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn. When I washed it it came out all stretched out and limp. It’s a mess. That has never happened when I’ve washed others. It was the first wash for this one. Fuzz was everywhere too. Do you think I could use your steam method to make it smaller and tighter?
Hi Diane I’m sorry to say but I really doubt it… I think once acrylic is stretched and limp its what is called ‘killed’. It means the fibres have been distorted and they will never return to their previous state. I suspect that the wash was too hot – or maybe it went in the tumble drier on too high a setting? Heat is useful for blocking acrylic but too much and the fibre actually melts and degrades. The fluff that you mention suggests to me that this has happened with your blanket. Its a bummer after all that work but if you can work out what you did when you washed it, make sure you never do it like that again. Cool wash (30C) and gentle cool tumble dry or air dry outside on a sunny day is my preferred method for acrylic blankets. If I then want to get the shape back to perfect, I steam block on a carpet xxx
Has anyone tried a handheld steamer for clothes? I made a smple Granny square ..One big square. It’s quite crooked when folded. Stitches are correct. Glad I found this info. Hope it fixes mine. Thank you.
Hi Edna I have a little hand steamer and I use it all the time – it gets terrible reviews on Amazon but mine works perfectly and has done for 18 months. 🙂
Yes! I use a garment steamer and it works great!
I use a hand held steamer and it works well when I am blocking blankets.
I love your blanket and wouldn’t have noticed the wobbly edges if you hadn’t pointed them out. Thanks for the helpful tips on blocking.
This is my blanket! I thought I was a very bad at crocheting. Before I do it, I would like to know how you got that beautiful edge all the way around.
I have a crochet board on Pinterest and besides sharing patterns, I also share information for crafters. This method is extremely helpful for anyone that uses acrylic yarn. Would you give me permission to share?
That’s absolutely fine Shirley – thanks for asking 🙂 Please share away 🙂
Thank you so much – very helpful. My question: I assume that once the blanket is in use it will get washed In a washer and dried in a dryer. Does it hold its shape? Thank you again.
Hi Laraine – it depends how roughly you treat it I guess and what its made of. If its 100% acrylic it generally does stay in shape quite well. After taking it out of the washing machine/tumbler, lay it on a bed and shape it while it dries and cools completely. That might help it keep a good shape over time xxx
Thank you, this has been very helpful and am now feeling inspired to try blocking acrylic. Your blanket is very beautiful and love your work.
Hi Leigh that’s great… I’m glad you find the information useful. Have you checked out my new podcast? Look up the Crafternoon Treats channel on YouTube xxxx
I am going to give your method a try today. Yours looks much better after blocking. Hoping it works on mine. Thank you
Great instructions. Many thanks
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It looks lovely. I find that acrylic blankets also “settle down” after a while once arranged on a bed or something similar. I also the dog likes to re arrange them when I am not looksing so on one notices the edges any way!!
Hi Sara Thanks for that encouraging comment – you are right, once the blanket is finished, it will be well used and that is all that matters really 🙂 x
Well, I think it looks just fabulous! It’s just bursting with gorgeous color. I would love to give this pattern a go after the holidays.
Thanks Susan – it is a very relaxing blanket to make x
I always find the edges the most challenging to get right – I’m only about a third of the way with the Cosy Cal – and loving it – I have all this to come. Thanks for your demo.
Hi Sandra its a really lovely blanket to do – missing doing mine already even though I am still busy with the border. Its not the same as the easy rows!
It looks fab!
Its looking better anyways! Thanks Corine x
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