I jumped the gun last week when I said let's start joining our squares. Because it we are good crocheters (and we are) we must block them first.
Some of you may be asking what exactly is blocking? Blocking means setting your squares by pinning them into the desired square shape, steaming them, misting them with a spray bottle, adding the heat of an iron, and allowing the squares to "set". I consider it an important step, but one that I always forget until I get to that part of the project. But make no mistake, I block everything I crochet or knit. The reasons? ... the steaming of the pieces allows the stitches to relax and smooth into a nice uniform placement, the stitch pattern is set evenly, the size of the piece is set, my work always look better when I block it, and I'll be honest, I love the smell of wet wool.
Here's a visual of what blocking does for our squares-
I use the same method I learned in my knitting class 12 years ago and it has never failed me. This method works for natural fiber yarns like cotton or wool (not mohair or any furry natural yarns, I'm told). As for acrylic yarns, I did a little research online and it seems like there are folks who say its unnecessary, and others who say you must. I will let those of you using acrylic yarns decide for yourself.
So, before joining squares, I will task you this week with blocking your squares. You may decide not to do this step and that is entirely up to you. Those of you who are old pros at this, carry onward. Those who are learning, here's how I block.
To block granny squares- instructions and supplies are for cotton or wool squares, (acrylic instructions are in parenthesis).
- Your granny squares.
- An ironing board or a stack of towels to pin your squares to.
- An iron with steam (not needed for acrylic squares).
- A spray bottle with water.
- A good supply of rust proof pins that don't have plastic heads (the plastic will melt). I use short T pins, but you can also use glasshead pins.
- (Clean damp towels for acrylic squares only).
To block squares:
1. Start pinning the smallest squares on the smallest end of your ironing board. You will want to pin at each corner first, then add 2-3 pins down each the sides evening. Don't pull or tug the square, you're just straightening and smoothing it out to its correct size.
2. (If you have acrylic squares, skip to Step 4). With your spray bottle or using the spray button on your iron, lightly spray the squares. The goal is not to saturate, but to dampen it evenly.
3. Using your iron (I use a high heat setting with full steam), iron over all the squares without touching them, keep the iron 1" or so from the surface of the squares, just allowing the steam to hit and penetrate the squares. Again, just an even steaming, no need to saturate.
4. (Acrylic squares only. Lay a damp towel over your squares, covering them all completely.)
5. Leave them to dry overnight, and remove them the next morning.
Next week we will begin joining some of our squares. I am playing around with a couple of different methods of joining and will share what I come up with. I realize some of you are still scrambling to catch up and I'm hoping this week will give you time to do that as well.