The Magic of Blocking.

Blocking, what’s blocking, I can hear some of you ask. Especially if you have visited to look at my recipes…. Blocking is magic. It transforms a crumpled up a used tissue-looking piece of knitting or crochet into a fabulous piece of lace, cabling, plain stocking stitch hat/scarf/cowl/sweater/whatever that no one would be embarrassed to wear.

Sometimes the transformation is subtle, sometimes it looks like it’s not the same piece at all. There are whole threads on about blocking, how-to do it and the results in photos… lots of photos….

This is an example of crochet. Not my crochet, I got this vintage crocheted table runner off ebay. It’s original measurements were 14″ x 22″. I think it was also ‘tea-dyed’ as when I washed it, a lot of colour came off and there are now some paler patches. I wonder if it was white, but was dyed after a tea-spilling accident?

When I washed it, I put it in a bowl of body temperature water, with a tiny bit of Eucalan, a non-rinse hand detergent. Then I swished it around a bit and left it in the water to soak and relax the fibres. When I got back to it a couple of hours later (usually I soak for 20 minutes) the water was tea-coloured and the crochet runner was lighter – not a lot but noticeably. I squished as much of the water out as I could then rolled it up in a towel and squeezed it again. Then I laid it out on my blocking mats (I have to get some that don’t have holes!) and began pinning out the middle 8 motifs.

This photo shows 7 of 8 center motifs pinned out. I started pinning like a clock face at 12,3,6 and 9 then pinned in between pulling the motif into as circular a shape as it would go. Then I moved onto the next one. There are about 20 pins for each motif.

The center 8 motifs

This shows one corner pinned and stretched out. I pinned all 4 corners first, then started pinning from each corner towards the middle of each edge. I found that the middles would stretch more than the corners so tried to pull out the middles enough, but not so much I ended up with a piece with bowed out edges. You can see how much the crochet has opened up!

One edge with the corners pinned out

This is just a close-up of one corner.

A corner pinned out

The piece completely pinned out. I actually had to go out and buy more pins as I ran out even before I finished the center.

The full runner blocked out

It stretched out to 17″ x 27″ and I suspect I could have stretched it out more. There are some ends of threads I’ll trim that have popped out because of the blocking, I don’t think it had ever been blocked. I’m not quite sure yet what I’ll do with it, I might sell it as is, for a photo prop layer, or I might sew it onto a little velvet blanket for a mini-bed prop…


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