Update: please also see issue #26 of my Crochet Inspirations Newsletter for more on this topic.
|Tunisian Islander Wrap after simple blocking.|
|pre-blocked Tunisian Islander Wrap|
It's an essential tool in our project bags along with scissors, and yarn needles for weaving in ends.
Ten ways I use plain mist first and sometimes exclusively with crochet:
|The Five Peaks Shawl: |
diagonal crochet loves to be blocked.
1) When I want to see how the project might look when finished but I don't want to wet it and have to wait more than 15 minutes for it to dry. I mist it enough on a flat surface so that as I pat it out evenly, I see and feel that the stitches are relaxing and socializing with each other nicely.
2) For solid stitch patterns like Tunisian Simple Stitch, or single crochet, post stitch patterns, etc., I mist a bit after I work 12 inches or more of the project so that I can see the fabric look its most sleek, flat, and even. It's a boost for me to see my stitches look so good.
3) When I start with the inside end of a new ball of yarn and it's too crinkled. I mist the stitches to see if the crimps are distorting my gauge. Or, I pull out enough of the yarn from the ball, wind it loosely over a chair or something, and mist it lightly so that it relaxes the wrinkles enough that I can crochet it comfortably in 15 minutes or so.
4) To renew my confidence or excitement in a lace project. I want to see its real beauty as I go! It was great for the Weightless Tunisian Wrap.
|Tunisian crochet lace, unblocked.|
5) To learn more about an expensive yarn that may be delicate. Mist is very gentle. I choose expensive yarns for their beauty, so I mist a swatch of one to get a preview of the full finished beauty of the stitch pattern I'm using. I can also see if it sheds easily, if it goes limp and flat, if it gives off dye, has a strong smell, etc.
6) To make minor adjustments in the fit of clothing.
7) To avoid re-doing a seam or edging if possible. Mist might be all it needs to look smooth and make the stitches play nicely with each other.
|Spritzed with water and spread out.|
9) When I swatch with a yarn that's new to me and it's unexpectedly stiff. It's amazing how a little mist will bring out a yarn's true personality! Especially linen, hemp, cotton yarns.
10) When I mist a swatch with any yarn while designing, I can get a quick sense for whether I'm on the right track: how good a stitch pattern looks in the yarn, whether I think I should go up or down a hook size, and how much the stitches might stretch out or grow.
I spent most of my life not blocking my crochet. If I liked how my stitches looked, I kept going until I was done. When I was done, it looked fine to me, and that's that. I wasn't crocheting clothes, nor doilies that needed to lie flat and even. When I went through a phase of crocheting every snowflake pattern I could find, it was a new world of wetting, starching, and pinning them evenly so that the lacy stitches looked gorgeous. I hated waiting for them to dry. I did not call this "blocking"–I'm not sure if I knew the word. I thought it was only for snowflakes and doilies.
A spray bottle is a crocheter's best friend. I even keep a tiny one in my project bag.