How To Block Your Finished Crochet Projects Like A Professional
If you love to crochet you may want to learn a quick and easy way to stretch block and mount your crochet project. Proper blocking means your finished product will look it's very best once you start to frame it. Having it square means it will look professionally done once framed.
For the purpose of this page I am using a crochet name which as I own a frame shop is indeed something I do quite often. But the technique works much the same with doilies or any other flat crochet item which you want to mount and frame.
Blocking crochet is pretty easy to do and requires only a couple of items. Framing them is only slightly more tricky but hopefully this page will help you achieve a nicely mounted and square project for gifting or enjoying yourself.
So let's get started.
What You'll Need To Block Your Crochet Project Like A Pro
It doesn't take much for blocking crochet items. In fact you probably have everything you need already in your home.
- Straight Pins
- foam board or cardboard
- wax paper
- needle & thread
Straight Pins Make Blocking Easy
How To Begin To Block Your Crochet Design
1. Generally I begin by creating a foam board shape in which I can mount my crochet items. Since I have a frame shop foam board is readily available but you can use card boards if you wish. I then cut a piece of non-stick paper or plain brown paper the same size as the mounting board.
NOTE: Wax paper is preferable for its non-stick properties. You never need to worry about the starch or glue sticking to the paper's surface.
I create a score line into the paper the size I wish to stretch the crochet piece to. I do this to help make sure that my blocking will be square. Or as square as it can be as crochet will often shrink back some once it is removed from the board.
NOTE: If you use wax paper you can create a score line using an awl or sharp object instead of a pencil or pen. Beware of markers or inks which may bleed when adding liquid stiffeners.
In this photo the left side I am beginning to pin the crochet piece.
Use A Super Stiff Starch For More Effective Blocking
Finish Pinning And Then Starch
2. Working from left to right, top and bottom at the same time will make it easier to achieve a finished square piece.
Once the pinning is complete I then apply a heavy handed application of starch. I also often iron the piece during this stage to help set the starch through heat. After it is dry I'll remove a few pins to see if it relaxes a little or a lot. If it's a lot I repin, and spray starch and iron again. Repeat the process until you are happy with the stiffness of the item.
NOTE: There will always be some relaxing once you remove the pins. But the stiffer the starch, the less it should relax which is ideal since a firmly starched crochet item is much easy to sew down square.
Sewing Down Your Finished Crochet Project
3. Then comes the sew down stage in the mounting of the crochet item. I sew down instead of using hot glue or other glue methods because glues usually comes loose over time. For a piece like this I usually sew it idown in multiple places. Every few inches or so.
I use clear thread so it is literally invisible to the eye that it is sewn down. Though using a matching thread to the crochet color would work well.
Two Reasons I Frame My Crochet Projects With Suede
I usually use suede matboard for mounting not only crochet items but any fabric item to be framed.
- The suede has vibrant colors, as opposed to paper mat which tend to look flat in comparison.
- But more importantly the suede help grip the item to be framed and helps support the sew down.
Suede mat board is dense and hard to puncture with a needle. I tend to use a push pin to create a hole in which to push my needle through. This will save you sore fingers during the sew down process.
Keeping It Square With Ease
4. A quick trick to help you make sure you sew down your crochet item properly center is to create a border ring which you lay over the mounting board which in this case is blue suede.
Please Note: Suede is great for mounting crochet as the surface texture helps hold the item in place. Many frame shops use glass pressure (placing the glass directly on the crocheted item and press into the back board) to hold the item in place.
As a framer of over 25 years I do not recommend using glass to hold your crochet item in place. Air space is needed to prevent mold growth especially in high humidity environments. Which is why I go to the effort of stitching it in place.
Working With A Border Ring For The Sew Down
5. I often lightly tape the border ring to the back board and then place the crochet item in the opening. It's a great way to keep it centered while working on it. When done, just cut it loose and discard.
Finishing and Framing Your Crochet Design
6. Then frame.
Please Note that in this photo I have the frame just laid in place. I couldn't photograph it properly with glass on it for the glare. But you get the idea.
And as mentioned above it isn't not ideal to have the glass touching the crochet item so if you do not intend to have a surrounding mat to help elevate the glass off the framed item, then simply use spacers between the glazing and back board.
And there you have it. Even with starch the crochet items may relax in an uneven manner. That is just a part of having a truly handmade item. But if it becomes a problem simply start again from the beginning.