Blocking large crochet projects can be a royal pain. Even when you know how to block, saving enough floor space and finding enough mats can be a challenge. Luckily I've got a few tips for you to help you put those finishing touches in your larger pieces as well!

What is blocking?

First, a little about blocking: blocking is something you do at the end of your crochet projects, after you've woven your ends in. It involves making the fibres wet or damp and then pinning them on a board to let your project dry up in its final desired shape. This causes the stitches to look much neater, edges to look much more straight, and your work to feel much softer. In general you get a more finished look and sometimes you can even get closer to your desired dimensions. You can block all different types of yarn , so it doesn't really matter if you have acrylic yarn or more natural fibers. If you're interested in the theory behind it and all the general do's and don'ts, give it a read!👇

Which blocking method do I use?

Generally speaking, there are three different methods of blocking:

  1. Wet blocking
  2. Spray blocking
  3. Steam blocking

The different methods are all explained in the post I linked above. In short, I recommend method 2, Spray blocking is a great way to achieve the best results for projects such as large crochet blankets without using too much excess moisture. All you need is lukewarm water, a spray bottle, a blocking mat ( or 22 ), some fabric softener and some rust-proof pins. It's simply my preferred method.

Method 1 Wet blocking (dunking your project in a basin and soaking it before pinning) can be difficult as all the excess water weight makes a large project very heavy and bulky. That causes your crochet or knitwork to stretch out once you pick it up after soaking and makes it much more difficult to pin it in place neatly. This way of blocking is much more suited to small items as the drying process wont take such a long time.

Method 3 (Steam blocking) is not only an advanced method but is also cumbersome as you only steam small portions of your project each time. It takes ages on large blankets on an ironing board with a garment steamer or steam iron, and you need to be very careful that you don't use too much heat! Spray blocking is easier on the arms and yields the same results.

Blocking a large crochet blanket

In theory, the process of blocking is quite easy. Clear some floor space, pin your project to blocking boards or puzzle mats, and mist it with a spray bottle until damp. Let it air dry and unpin - that's it. Unfamiliar with the technique? Read my full tutorial for spray blocking.

With large projects, the issue usually isn't in the technique. Rather, it's having enough floor space, mats and pins to let it dry. Luckily, I've got a few tips to help you when space or materials are an issue!

Tip 1: Block in sections

Laying it flat is an essential step in spray blocking, but sometimes you just don't have the floor space to lay your larger items on a flat surface. When this is the case, you can block your project in parts. You can, for example, block the first half of your blanket and, when that's finished, the second half.

Pin up the first half, cover the unpinned half of your blanket with another blanket or cloth and spray the pinned section with water. Once it has airdried, repeat for the second section. It's not ideal, but it works wonders in a pinch and you can still get very straight edges!

Tip 1 block in sections

Tip 2: Only use mats for the edges

You don't want to use your Yoga mat, and who wants to stack up on (expensive) blocking mats? When you can't borrow them from a friendly neighbourhood crafter, there are other ways to reduce the number of foam boards you need for this method of blocking.

My go-to trick is to only place mats under a project's edges. Let's say you block a 150 x 180cm (60 x 70in) blanket. Using the standard 30cm (12in) blocking mats, you'd need around 5 x 8 = 40 blocking mats to cover the complete surface area.

When you use mats for the edges only, you need just 22 mats. Those mats don't have to fit together either, so you can mix and match different sets. The pins and tension in your blanket will keep them in place, and you will end up with a nicely blocked crochet blanket.

Tip 2: use less mats

This is a snapshot of my Sampler blanket. I mixed different sets of blocking mats and puzzle mats. You can put a tarp or cloth beneath your project to prevent the dampness from coming onto your floor. I didn't bother with it, as it evaporates pretty quickly anyway.

blocking large blankets

Tip 3: Pin efficiently

When you need to pin a big blanket, you want a better solution than individual T-pins because you'll need a gazillion. This is where both blocking wires and knit blockers come in handy. These tools are made to block large sections easily.

I've used three sets of knit blockers for the blanket above. It's not cheap, but it's a one-off purchase, and they come in handy with each project!

Pin efficiently

Tip 4: Rustproof pins

Sadly, there is no such thing as dry blocking. And sometimes, we use a little too much water or we accidentally use cold water and the project can take significantly longer to dry.

When this happens your pins can actually start to rust. If this happens to you, you better hope you have rust proof pins, otherwise you will be looking for the washing instructions on your yarn label as you try to wool wash the stains from your delicate yarn.

Tip 5: Get a good spray bottle

One of the hard parts about spray blocking a very large blanket like my Rainbow Sampler Blanket (1 or 2!), is again that they're so large. So once you find enough space to your large crochet blanket flat, a thousand blocking mats and a million rust free pins, you may feel a sense of relief. You're almost there.

But now the actually tricky parts will begin, how will you make sure that you distribute the water evenly across the entire surface of your blanket. You need to make sure you don't have too much excess moisture, but that you do make the entire blanket wet enough with lukewarm water for it to block right. This is were a good spray bottle comes in handy.

If you can find one, a good husband to do the spraying for you can also come in handy. But if you can't find a willing subject to do it for you, you might as well invest in a spray bottle that is not too big and not too small, and most of all easy to squeeze. Some bottles are very heavy to squeeze, that will definitely tire out your hands and lower arms when you're blocking a crochet blanket.

What not to do when blocking large projects

There are also a few things you want to avoid when blocking larger pieces, when it can be helped:

  • Hang it from a clothesline. The waterweight combined with the project weight will result in sagging and stretching in the corners or around the clothesline. There's a reason every handmade item comes with instructions to dry flat!
  • Soaking it through and through. A damp spray is enough. Soaking it completely will only take longer to dry and will add no other benefits.
  • Pinning it on a mattress. Honestly, it will do if you really can't free up the floor space. But a mattress is quite often not firm enough to pin your project neatly. You also don't want to risk missing any pins, especially if you sleep in the same bed!
  • Overstretching. Maybe this sounds like an open door, but you need make sure you apply even tension whilst blocking large crochet blankets or other crochet pieces. If you overstretch it you will most likely not end with the professional finish you were going for, and whilst blocking can get you closer to your desired dimensions. It is in no way a magic fix for a blanket that is way too short.
  • Just start blocking. If you're unsure if the yarn fibers you are using in your crochet item react to blocking, you should start with a small swatch. That's the best way to make sure you don't ruin the entire blanket! You should also keep in mind the symmetry of the motifs in you crochet blanket, you don't want to end up with a crooked blanket.

I hope these tips give you the confidence to block your next large project. If you have more suggestions or questions, pop them in the comments! Happy crocheting, I mean, happy blocking!


I run my blankets through the washer on delicate it comes out almost dry July 09, 2022 03:32 - Reply
I do the same on a rapid wash. July 09, 2022 05:03 - Reply
Instead of spraying them? I think that's quite clever! July 09, 2022 07:36 - Reply
These tips have been very useful - thank you so much! I don’t have any blocking mats or other blocking equipment, but with your help I have understood how blocking works and the pitfalls to avoid. You have really demystified the process. My first attempt has been successful - I needed to blocked a big 200x80cm runner and have used a couple of foam camping bed rolls and a packet of dress pins.
Thanks again. May 30, 2023 14:10 - Reply
Glad to hear that it helped you! It agree, it's not always about having all the items that you need but rather understanding the process. Camping bed rolls are a great choice. You can easily put them away and in the end it's just about having a surface to pin your pins in and that can withstand some water! May 31, 2023 08:36 - Reply
I am making a granny square blanket and am trying to figure out if I need to block each piece. I definitely can't do a full blanket block in my place thanks to a lack of space and owning two cats combo. July 25, 2023 01:13 - Reply
You could also block the blanket in sections once finished. So for example, block 1/4th of the blanket each time, rotating as you go. This does mean that you kind of have to block to the same measurements each time for each quarter, but it's definitely doable! July 25, 2023 08:34 - Reply
My blanket has stretched in the corners. How do I "squeeze" the corners back into shape? February 25, 2024 22:38 - Reply
That would be to try and stretch out the whole blanket, really. So try to make it wider and longer and match the stretch of the corners! March 14, 2024 15:47 - Reply
What are the pros & cons of wet blocking by washing on gentle cycle in the washing machine? Would you approve it? February 29, 2024 03:51 - Reply
Well it's convenient and quick, and helps you get rid of stuff like dust and hairs much better. But it's a delicate game; if your ends are not woven in well, they might get undone.

What I usually do with my projects is decide how the giftee is going to use it and match that: baby blanket? Besides wanting to gift it as clean as possible it also needs to be washed quite often, so chances are momma's going to throw it in the washing machine at some point. So I do a gentle wash. Any ends that come undone - that's the moment to fix that.

You really don't want to do anything other than a soak for delicate threads tough. Alpaca, Mohair, stuff like that just doesn't match with friction and washing machines. So I always hand wash those, no matter the giftee. March 14, 2024 15:50 - Reply
Thank you for your guidance. It was very helpful. March 14, 2024 23:00 - Reply
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