I don’t get this blocking business

I decided that I ought to try blocking my latest blanket squares properly, rather than subjecting them to the steam iron and in effect melting the acrylic yarn.

So I got a towel and pinned the two squares out. They already measured the right dimensions so didn’t need to stretch them.

Blocking squares

I then found some old hankies, put them under the tap to wet them, and laid them on top:

Blocking squares

I left it over night and most of today to dry out, and this evening I unpinned the squares and what did I find… they’re no different than before.  The edges still curl and they look exactly the same as before.

I don’t really know what to do now… I’d be better off steaming them again! At least that does something.

It’s a miserable evening here in the UK. Raining again for about the 1000th day in a row and it was even misty this morning. It’s July for goodness sake and we’ve had to put on the central heating to take the damp chill off. Roll on next Tuesday and Santorini.


5 thoughts on “I don’t get this blocking business

  1. I could be wrong, but I don’t think acrylic responds very well to blocking. I’ve always been under the impression that it doesn’t really do much good at all to block acrylic, because it just won’t take to it like wool or other natural fibers. But again, I could be wrong.

  2. This is exactly right. Natural fibers like wool have some spring to them, commonly referred to as “memory” and are a bit stretchy. These qualities are what makes blocking work and are absent from acrylic.

    You’re right that steam blocking will melt acrylic. If you use steam or a pressing cloth and a warm (not hot) iron, the melt will be mild and you will get a different drapey effect; this is known as “killing the acrylic”. Sometimes that’s what you want, but in general trying to block acrylic is either futile or a good way to ruin an iron. A wash and a few tugs can help even out stitches.

    Your best bet for stopping curling is a border of garter or seed stitch or something with a good balance of knits and purls.

  3. I’ve completed a few more squares, some of which are curling a lot, so I was going to try steaming, but very gently, so that, as you say, the melt will be mild. With the ones that have gone floppy, it has made them softer. The acrylic is quite rough to touch. So there are advantages!

  4. I have been very successful in steam blocking acrylic yarn, but have only done so for baby dresses or sweaters. I set my iron on the SYNTHETIC setting with steam on and hold it AWAY from the knitting so that only the steam touches it. It makes the knitting more drape-like and soft.

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