Blocking is the use of water, either by immersion, misting, or steam, to help size and shape a knit or crocheted work. Always follow the washing instructions on any yarn’s band for the best way to block it. Blocking makes the hand-worked product look finished, helping it achieve its final size and shape. It helps to shape the stitches, evening out any surface unevenness and irregularities. If you have knitted or crocheted pieces that will be sewn together, block each piece beforehand, to make sure that each piece is identical in size and shape before being seamed.

To block your work, you will either need a container in which to immerse your project completely in water, a spray bottle for misting, or a steamer. You will need dry towels to blot out excess water, blocking mats or other surfaces upon which to shape and pin your project, rustproof and waterproof T-pins and wires, a tape measure or yardstick, and the pattern for sizing and gauge reference.

Methods for wet blocking:

  1. IMMERSION: In a container large enough for your project, dissolve some wool wash in enough cool water to completely immerse your project and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Support your piece while removing it from the water and gently squeeze the excess water out of the item without twisting or rubbing. Place carefully on top of a towel, covering it with another towel on top. Roll it up gently and apply pressure to pull more of the excess water out. Once that is done, shape and pin the project, right side up, on your blocking surface and let dry completely.

  2. MISTING: First, shape the piece, right side up, pinning it to a blocking surface or form, and spray the fabric with water. The amount of water used to achieve saturation will vary from fiber to fiber. Some fibers, like wool, will require only a light misting, while other fibers, like man-made fibers or silk, will require a heavier amount of misting. This method is great for blocking identical pieces. You would shape and pin the first piece wrong side up, spray it, then lay the second piece on top of the first, right side up, shape, re-pin, and spray it. Let dry completely.

Method for steam blocking:

Shape and pin the piece to your blocking surface right side up. Using a steamer or iron, steam your project.  Do not touch the steamer or iron directly onto the piece.   If your piece dries before you can get it to shape, you will need to apply more steam.

Pinning your work:

Whether you pin a project or not depends upon the project.  If you are pinning a piece, lay it upon your blocking material, and using a measuring stick or tape measure, spread the project out, starting from the center and working your way to the edges, so that it achieves the desired proportions.  First, pin strategic points such as the shoulders, the chest right below the armholes, the bottom and top edge corners, and then fill in the spaces so that the garment is even and the edges are smooth.  Be careful of how and where you place your pins.  Make sure that you place the pins between rows and stitches. The pins should be inserted not wider than one inch apart to avoid creating scalloped edges.

When blocking a project that has ribbing, wet or steam the ribbing, being careful not to pin it or apply any tension to it so that the ribbing does not lose its elasticity. Care should be taken not to “flatten” any texture work in your piece. For example, you might want to pinch cable work to help it stand up.  Lace projects, on the other hand, need to be aggressively pinned and tensioned so that the patterning that you have created opens and is clearly visible.

Quick Reference Guide:

Keep in mind that many yarns can be both steamed or wet blocked.  Feel free to use whichever method you prefer.  Always follow the washing instructions on any yarn’s band to figure out the best way to block it.  If in doubt as to which method to use, test the different methods of blocking on your gauge swatches.
Fiber Immersion Misting Steam
Wool blends


  • Synthetic or man-made fibers do not block well. You may use the immersion or misting method with synthetics, but you should NOT use heat.

  • Pay attention to blends (natural fibers mixed with synthetics) – block them following their washing instructions.

  • Metallic and novelty fibers should not be blocked at all.