Steam blocking is another simple way to block knit and crochet projects. If you are not sure what blocking is and why it’s needed, you can check out my previous articles about Wet Blocking & Spray blocking. I normally steam block crochet items made from cotton thread or microfiber such as my lace clothing, parasol covers, Bruges lace, Irish crochet. You can also use this method for blocking blankets, knit garment, and other projects.
Steaming is easy and fast, however, please keep in mind that depending on the fiber content, the yarn might not be suitable for high temperatures. For example, yarns with high
acrylic content might melt and yarns with 100% wool content might shrink. So, it’s important to always check the fiber contents and care instructions on the yarn label.
TIP: Before steam blocking your finished projects, block a swatch sample to make sure that the fabric does not melt, stretch, shrink, or lose firmness from applying hot steam. Measure your sample before and after steaming.
Blocking With Steam Iron
I prefer to steam block all pieces of a crochet garment individually before assembling them, then I block the seams after assembling. However, you might have different preferences and that’s just fine. If desired, you can pin your piece around the edges to the ironing surface prior to blocking. To avoid any unexpected “surprises” when using a steam iron, lay the project with WS facing up and apply steam very gently, without stretching or pressing too hard. Do not hesitate to apply minimal pressure to the fabrics made from 100% cotton thread by pressing your iron up and down instead of waving it from side to side to avoid stretching or distorting your fabric. Let the fabric cool down without distortion before moving it.
Blocking With Garment Steamers
You can also use garment steamers for gentele blocking. This method works great for afghans, knit garment, shawl, and other items that can tolerate hot steam. When steaming, hover the garment steamer over your project without touching or pressing it and allow it to cool down after steaming.
Blocking Through Wet Cloth
Steam blocking through a pressing cloth or cheesecloth is one of the most traditional old techniques. Cotton cloth will protect your knit & crochet fabrics from distorsions and from glossiness.
- Soak a pressing cloth (or cheesecloth) in water & squeeze excess moisture out
- Place the wet cloth over your project & press lightly with a hot iron, pushing the steam through the pressing cloth into the fabric
- Continue this process until the pressing cloth is dry
- Allow your project to cool down after blocking
Here are some examples of steam blocked items: