Lace requires blocking, otherwise it just looks crumply and distorted! I don’t care whether you’ve knitted or crocheted your lace: just please block it once you’re done! (Case in point: Guess which swatch above is blocked and which one isn’t?)
In this post, I’m going to talk about the different blocking techniques and provide links to where you can learn more about them. (There are many ways to block and everyone has a favorite!) Then I’ll share my favorite blocking technique with you and the tell you why it works best for me. I haven’t seen anyone else do a write up on the technique I use.
Blocking knitting is the same as blocking crochet. There are so many great tutorials online for how to block. I link to a few good resources down below but want to make sure you understand something: When you read about blocking online, don’t worry whether the particular information you read is about blocking knitting or blocking crochet. The blocking technique described is the same no matter whether you knitted or crocheted your project.
There are really just 3 major types of blocking: Wet Blocking, Steam Blocking and Killing. Take a look at the table below for a description of each. At the end of each row is a clickable link to learn more about each method. (Did I forget anything that you think I should add? Is there a blocking tutorial online that you believe is just head and shoulders above the rest that you think I should include in my table?)
So my favorite method for blocking is using the Eurosteam because the results are usually immediate. If you already know how to iron, then using the Eurosteam will be nothing new to you - you handle it just like an iron. Based on your project, you may or may not want to pin it before you block. But here’s how it’s different from steaming with an iron:
The Eurosteam doesn’t have a temperature control: it is always set to a very low temperature. I have been able to put it directly on everything that I’ve knit and crocheted so far: wool, silk, cotton, bamboo, acrylic…. The weight of the iron helps in evening out irregular stitches.
The steam that comes out of this thing is HIGH PRESSURE. This is not your typical steam iron. It’s a steamer that looks like an iron. The steam comes out at very high velocity and shoots through very thick fabrics with no problem at all. You use less water vapor at higher velocity to steam block your projects.
So what does this mean as far as result?
Immediate results (no waiting!) and less water means less time to dry. Sometimes no time to dry - it just depends how many passes I made on my project with the iron.
The photo above is how I blocked Valladolid, a crochet shawl that I designed a few months back. This shawl has a geometry that really needs to be pinned when blocked. Because my blocking board wasn’t big enough, I just pinned it to my bed. Then I hit it with my Eurosteam and let it dry about an hour before unpinning it from my bed and taking photos.
For projects that don’t have geometries that need to be pinned, the process is even faster. No pinning, I quickly run the Eurosteam over it and it’s ready to go.
The Eurosteam also really shines for projects that I try on as I work: like a top-down fitted sweater. I can just quickly steam the work in progress, try it on, make adjustments and keep going. Try wet blocking a try-on-as-you-go sweater mid-project. NOT good times and a 24 hour waiting period. And with traditional steam blocking I typically have to pin the project to get it nice and flat before steaming. With the Eurosteam, the weight of the iron running on top of the stitches is usually all I need and I can avoid pinning altogether.