granny square sampler afghan- week 15, blocking your squares

Joiningsquares1

I am getting excited now that we’re nearing the point where we are starting to join our squares together. We’ve worked all summer towards this right?

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-

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See how happy and proud those blocks look after blocking?

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).

Supplies:

– 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:


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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.

Squares pinned down

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.

Happy blocking!

Blair

(All the granny square assignments can be found on this page.)

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8 Comments
  • erin

    August 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    right now i’m thinking two things. 1. i’m still so far behind! 2. i’m feeling thankful that i have two ironing boards – this will be quicker!
    (again, thank you for all the work on this project. i know i keep saying it, but i do appreciate all your hard work).

  • Linda

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I’m not going to block mine Blair as they are acrylic and I have found from past experience, steam and irons just makes them limp and ruins them. They look fine without blocking once they are sewn together. )

  • Iris

    August 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I have never blocked before, but i’m going to give it a go.

  • melissab

    August 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

    i’m so inspired by this series of posts on the granny square sampler. just got here, but may go back and try to do it. it’d be a cool going away to college blanket for my son, and since that’s most likely a year away, i could possibly do it—after i learn how to crochet, that is. thank you for this cool project and all the work you put into it.

  • Heather

    August 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    This is good to know! Even though I did just block some of mine! 🙂

  • severien

    August 25, 2012 at 6:06 am

    i have never blocked granny squares so far… (well, i started blocking squares for my granny square blanket, using cotton yarn, but i felt like the effect was sort of the same with or without blocking). but i decided to block them this time! i’m using acrylics and i can’t wait to see the results, especially on the squares that needed some blocking, like the granny squares with a circle centre. so now i’m catching up on some squares while all the other squares are pinned on my ironing board. 🙂

  • lisa s

    August 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    i can’t wait to see your whole blanket together !!!!!!

  • daniela

    August 28, 2012 at 5:41 am

    i blocked and puzzled with them… so much fun and i do have a hard time to wait until friday for your suggestions of how to join them!

Welcome!