Wednesday, March 26, 2014

How To Block Your Crochet Shawl Tutorial

To the left is my first Nordic Shawl which I didn't block and to the right is my second Nordic Shawl that I blocked.
See the difference?
First of all I want to THANK YOU for your many many comments, stories and reactions on my last post, which proves my statement that Cancer will affect us all at some point in life, distant or far. Seldom have I received so many wonderful and thoughtful private emails form you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And after calculating my total sales of the Nordic Shawl pattern, including yesterday, I can proudly announce that I am donating the fabulous sum of:

413 USD / 250 GBP / 2646 SEK 
to the Swedish Cancer Society.

Thanks to all of you who have bought this pattern. You all should feel proud too as you all have contributed to a good cause by purchasing my pattern. I couldn't have done it without you. :D

So, lets move on to today's subject, shall we? Lets talk about blocking the Nordic shawl. What is blocking anyway?

Well, blocking is when you shape your crochet creation with help from a soft flat surface, a million pins and some water or starch spray. It is a way of air drying your crochet creation to get the best shape possible out of your creation, and because you can not iron crochet, this process has to been done by dampening your item, flattening it out, shaping it and leaving it to dry.

I didn't block my first Nordic Shawl. I thought it looked great as it was. But after seeing a few other Nordic Shawls in Blogland, with straight edges and defined pretty lace edgings I decided to block my second shawl.

I have to admit I almost never block my crochet creations. I am the "wingin' it"- girl. Or maybe I should say "taking the short cut"- kind of girl... Call me lazy... If I don't have to do something I just won't do it. But when it comes to the Nordic Shawl I would like to encourage each and everyone of you - even if you are lazy like me - BLOCK IT! You won't regret the fussy procedure of doing so, and you will love your shawl even more when you see what difference it makes. Just follow the tutorial below. 

How To Block Your Crochet tutorial

I actually washed my grey Nordic shawl (cold and gentle cycle with low speed centrifuge) but you can simply just spray your shawl damp with water or special starching liquid if you prefer. You can dampen your item before you lay it out flat or after, it is either way.

Depending on the size of your creation you can with advantage use your iron board or a cork bulletin board for small items such as Maybelle flowers or Granny squares. Some people use kids' foam mat puzzle pieces which you can build together and lay out on the floor. So clever... But I improvised and used a double layer of bath towels on a table top which worked perfectly fine. I laid out my shawl on top of my bath towels and flattened it out by stroking the shawl gently from the center to the edges until I find the shape I want without stretching it to much.

You need many sewing pins. I started to shape my shawl at the triangle tip with a pin in the top shell of the lace and worked my way up in each and every shell of the lace alternating sides to get it even. One pin on the right side - one pin on the left side - one pin on the right side - one pin on the left side... I slightly angle the pins away from the shawl every time to really open up the lace. Once I reached the flat side I only used a couple of pins to straighten the long edge and carefully shaped the edge with my hands to get rid of the of the wavy look. I left the shawl pinned down and shaped to dry over night.

I have to say it made all the difference in the world and if you compare the lace part of the beige shawl to the grey shawl you can absolutely see the difference clearly.

There are some DO's and DON'Ts that are good to know in this process:

♥ You can't rush the drying process. Give it at least one night of drying to receive a great result.
♥ Use many pins. The more pins the better result.
♥ DON'T iron to block a crochet creation. You will damage the stitches.
♥ DON'T stretch to hard. No force is needed, just gently shape your creation with help from your pins and and hands.

Note added:
You can steam block your creation with an iron. If you choose this technique you hold the iron a couple of inches or more over your creation and then power steam your item (you know the button you can press to let steam out...). Then leave it to dry. Be careful doing this as the steam can give you serious burns if you have your hand or fingers underneath.

Coming up: The Nordic Shawl Potpourri.


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  1. Thanks for this post - I never understood why my shawl didn't "hang" so nice and sturdy as all the others in blogland :-)... I blamed it on the type of yarn, but now things are falling into place ! I know, stupid me, but hey, one is never too old to learn ! Greetings from Belgium, Ingrid

  2. I agree that blocking is TeDiOUs but you do get a great result - especially on the edges of the shawl! Jane x

  3. Very well explained! Blocking does make a big difference and is worth all the work!

  4. Looks great! What a difference! Just a comment about the ironing thing... It is possible to do so if steam is used and the iron never touches the crochet piece. Just hover over for perhaps 10 seconds (with full steam on), let it cool and take out the pins. Quick and easy! Just be careful not to burn yourself on the steam!

  5. Hi Annette,

    This was just what I needed today... Thanks a million!! I have taken thorough note of the Dos and the Don'ts as well. Thank you once again. Oh by the way, I have decided to try my hands on the nordic shawl... :)

    Have a great week. Hugs!!

  6. It is absolutely stunning and a little bit of after care always goes a long way. I have saved your pattern site so I can purchase it when I have some extra pennies for patterns :)

  7. Amazing donation!! I am so proud of you for achieving this and for all of those people who have purchased the pattern to enable you to make this donation. Thanks for the blocking tips. I have my yarn ready to make a shawl, and I just need to get to and order the pattern, but I am holding off so that I finish my blanket first as I am not very good at having lots of projects on the go at once! xx

  8. I have loved that shawl since the moment I first saw it. I intend to buy the pattern and make my own. I must wait a bit though. Your story is so beautiful, about Pia, your Mom, and then you desire to raise funds for cancer research. My Mom has just had surgery to remove a foot of her colon, due to the recent discovery of a malignant mass. The prognosis was not good. We were all scared silly. She had surgery, and miraculously, it was found to be contained, and she has a very good prognosis now. I have been staying with her, and so, am way behind on my blogging. Just wanted you to know how much I love what you are doing. I too, will be making my very own shawl soon.

  9. Just finished mine yesterday, so this post came just at the right time! I am so excited to wear it on Easter morning!!

  10. What a fantastic amount you have donated Annette ....I am so pleased that I bought my Nordic Shawl pattern yesterday morning and so have managed to make my little contribution too.I loved the shawl since I saw it on your first post and had been intending to purchase the pattern .When I read your post yesterday I just went straight ahead and ordered it,then started to crochet my shawl later that afternoon ....thankyou for this lovely pattern ,made all the more special after reading about Pia ,your Mum and your generosity of spirit.Bless you x

  11. Thank you for sharing this with us Annette I am sure it will come in useful soon as I have finally purchased the yarn for my shawl, exciting times ahead! xoxo

  12. Thanks for this, my yarn arrived this morning and I've started the shawl, will definitely block it when I've finished!! Well done on the donation, that's fabulous xxxx

  13. Oi Querida Annette!
    Adoro vir aqui ver seus trabalhos lindos.
    Esse xale é lindo e perfeito.


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