HoW TO BLOCK ACRYLIC YARN? DIFFERENT METHODS EXPLAINED
Generally speaking you shouldn't need to block items made with Acrylic yarn. More often blocking is the final step for natural fibers to stabilize the finished piece and ensure proper fit and drape. Not having to block your piece is one of the reasons to use acrylic yarn over cotton yarn, however there may be some instances where you'll want to block your work to achieve best results.
Acrylic yarn is a great choice for knitting and crocheting projects because it's easy to care for and very affordable. However, acrylic yarn can sometimes have a tendency to stretch out of shape. Blocking is a simple process that can help fix this issue and give your finished project a neater appearance and smoother drape.
Gather Blocking Materials First
To block acrylic yarn, you will need, of course, your project, and these two basic tools:
- A piece of blocking board or foam
- A tape measure
Blocking Board/ Foam
A blocking board is a piece of foam covered in fabric. This provides a firm surface to block your work on. You can also use a blocking mat, which is made of interlocking foam pieces. This is a good option if you need to block large pieces or multiple items at once. Alternatively, you can also use a towel or an old pillowcase.
If you're using a blocking board, you'll need to wet the board in water before use. This will help the acrylic yarn to stick to the board and prevent it from sliding around. Once the board is thoroughly saturated, not dripping wet. You can then lay your piece on the board and pin it into place.
There are a variety of sizes available for blocking boards and mats. Some common sizes are 18" x 24", 24" x 36", and 36" x 48". The size you choose will depend on the project you are working on and the amount of space you have available.
A tape measure is an essential tool for blocking acrylic yarn projects because it allows you to accurately measure your work and ensure that it is the correct size. You'll want to refer to the gauge indicated on your project as well to ensure that after it is blocked, your finished piece still fits as it should.
Other Materials Needed
It’s important to note that each method of blocking may require additional tools and materials. Some of those we’ll list below will need you to have a spray bottle, blocking pins, or steam iron. But in general, you need the two tools we listed above to get started.
Blocking Methods for Acrylic Yarn
For a quick refresher, blocking is a process of shaping and drying your knitted or crocheted project so that it holds its shape. It becomes more important in items designed with natural fibers, but occasionally suitable for items made with acrylic yarn.
There are a few different methods you can use to block acrylic yarn, and the best method for you will depend on the project you are working on and your personal preferences.
Wet blocking is the process of soaking your project in water, then allowing it to air dry. This helps to even out the stitches and can also give your project a more polished look. To wet block, follow these steps:
1. Start by filling a sink or basin with lukewarm water and adding a small amount of gentle wool wash or mild soap.
2. Submerge your acrylic yarn project in the water and allow it to soak for 10-15 minutes.
3. Gently squeeze out any excess water and roll your project in a clean towel to remove any remaining moisture.
4. Lay your project out on a flat surface and smooth it into shape.
5. Allow your project to air dry completely.
Wet blocking is a great way to even out your stitches, relax the fibers of your yarn, and achieve a more polished finished product. But there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing this blocking method.
First, acrylic yarn is not as absorbent as natural fibers like wool, so it will take longer to dry. Second, because acrylic yarn is not as absorbent, it can be difficult to get even tension when wet blocking. This can result in your project becoming misshapen or uneven. If you are wet blocking when the air is humid or if the water can't evaporate soon enough, you may find your project will start to mildew and you'll need to gently wash and start all over.
To avoid these problems, it is important to use a blocking board or mat. This will help to evenly distribute the moisture and prevent your project from becoming distorted. In addition, you may want to consider using T-pins or blocking wires to secure your project in place while it dries.
Washer and Dryer Method
Acrylic yarn is a synthetic fiber that is easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried, making this blocking technique a good option. To use the washer and dryer method, simply wet your finished project and was as directed on the yarn label. Then, transfer the project to the dryer and dry on low heat.
This method is best for small projects like knitted hats, scarves, and gloves. For larger projects, or for those that you want to have a more polished look, it's recommended to wet block your acrylic yarn instead.
Acrylic crochet projects don't often benefit from steam blocking with a few exceptions. This is a process of lightly steaming the project to even out the stitches and give the piece a more polished look. Steam blocking can also help to shape a project that has been worked in rounds, such as hats or amigurumi dolls.
To steam block your crochet project, first fill a bowl or pot with enough water to produce steam. Place your project on an ironing board or other flat surface, and hold it over the steam for a few minutes. You can also use a spray bottle filled with water to lightly mist your project before steaming. Once you have finished steaming, reshape your project then lay flat to air dry completely.
Alternatively, you can use a steam iron to simplify the process. Simply place your project flat on an ironing board. Then, set your steam iron to the "wool" setting and hover it over the cloth for a few minutes, reshape, your project then lay flat to air dry and cool completely. Remember that Acrylic yarn will melt with heat so it is important that you use caution. Acrylic yarn is not meant to be ironed.
Spray blocking is a method of wetting and stretching your crocheted pieces to shape them. This is typically done with a spray bottle filled with water, and you can use it on almost any type of crochet project.
To start, simply wet your project down with the spray bottle. Once it's damp, begin stretching it out to the shape you want. You can use your hands, a ruler, or even a blocking board if you have one. Just be careful not to stretch it too much, as you don't want to damage your work.
Once you've got it shaped the way you want, secure the ends with blocking pins and leave it to dry. The dampness will help the fibers relax and hold the new shape.
Blocking with a Hair Dryer
One of the quickest and easiest ways to block acrylic yarn is by using a hair dryer. Here's how:
1. Wet your project with cool water, being careful not to soak it. You can use a spray bottle or dunk it in a sink or basin.
2. Gently squeeze out excess water, then lay your project flat on a towel.
3. Roll the towel up, enclosing your project, and squeeze again to remove more water.
4. Unroll the towel and lay your project flat on a blocking board or surface. You can also use an ironing board or even the floor.
5. Using a hair dryer on a cool setting, hold it about 6 inches away from your project and blast it with cool air. Move the hair dryer around so that all areas of your project are exposed to the air.
6. Keep blasting your project with cool air until it is completely dry.
7. Once dry, remove your project from the blocking board and admire your beautifully blocked acrylic crochet piece!
Commonly Asked Questions
Does acrylic yarn block well?
Acrylic yarn blocks very well. In fact, blocking is one of the best ways to improve the appearance of your finished project. It will even out your stitches and make your project look neater and more professional.
Can 100% acrylic yarn be blocked?
Yes, 100% acrylic yarn can be blocked. Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that is resistant to stretching and shrinking, so it will hold its shape well when wet blocking. Blocking can help even out your stitches and make your finished project look neater.
Do you need to block knitting after every wash?
No, you don't need to block knitting after every wash. In fact, blocking is only necessary if your garment or project looks misshapen or needs to be reshaped.
Should I kill acrylic yarn?
Killing Acrylic yarn is a permanent blocking method that melts the fibers of the finished piece. This is method of blocking and should be done with caution. Killing acrylic isn't a good option for any item you'll need to stretch like a hat, or sweater.
When you kill an acrylic item it's a good idea to make a test swatch and kill that first to make sure you want to proceed.
To kill a finished item made with acrylic place the item on an ironing board, then lightly mist the item with water. Next place a towel over the item and iron it. You may need to adjust the heat setting until you are satisfied with the fibers. Keep in mind that by killing the item you will lose some of texture and the elasticity of the project.
Can I wet block acrylic?
Unlike 100% cotton yarn, you can wet block acrylic yarn. This is the preferred method of blocking acrylic projects and is often used to even out stitches and relax the fabric so that it lays flat.
Should I weave in ends before blocking?
There isn't a definitive answer to this question. Ultimately, it would depend on what you’re comfortable with. Some knitters choose to weave in their ends before blocking, while others wait until after.
If you're not sure what to do, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if you weave in your ends before blocking, you'll need to be careful not to accidentally catch them when you're wet-blocking or steam-blocking your project.
Second, if you wait to weave in your ends until after blocking, you may find it more difficult to do so because the stitches will have been reshaped by the blocking process. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. If you're not sure, err on the side of caution and wait to weave in your ends until after you've blocked your project.
Conclusion: Blocking Acrylic Yarn
Blocking acrylic yarn can help to make it easier to work with and improve the appearance of your finished project. It's a simple process that can be done in many different ways, depending on your preferences and whichever is best suited for the kind of project you're working on.
With the step-by-step instructions for blocking acrylic yarn above, you'll be well on your way to creating crochet pieces that are able to keep their shape for longer.