30 August 2013

Steam Blocking - A Tutorial

Here's that tutorial I promised aaaages ago!  *happy dance*

I've said it time and time again, and I'll say it once more, steam blocking is amazing.  It will make your crocheted/knitted work look SO much better.

How to Steam Block

You will need:
an iron
an ironing board that you can 'pin' things too
'preferably' metal dress making pins, without the plastic head

Curly edges, eurk.

Step 1
This is the part that takes the longest.

Lay your piece of art work (or triangles for bunting) out flat on an ironing board and, using your metal pins, pin them to the fabric at the corners.  Feel free to pull the triangles and move the pins around so they are the right shape and size you want them to be after blocking.

Now, don't pin straight down.  Pin from the outside of the work towards the inside (horizontally, better seen in Step 2) so that it won't spring back or pull the pins out when there's a little tension from pinning and stretching the other corners. 

All pinned, and a close up.  You can see I was picky and pinned in the middle of the edge of the triangles.  They were curling upwards and I wanted them to block as flat as possible.

An example of the grey bunting flags, the bottom left hasn't been pinned but the other two have.  You can see the far right one looks more stretched at the corners - how it should be.

Step 2
Set your iron on the hottest setting AND set it to automatically steam when the iron is laid horizontally.

When your iron is hot and ready to go, pick it up (but don't put it on the fabric) and check that the steam works.  If it's working, it'll start steeeeeeaming away.

Right, now HOVER over the pinned work.  HOVER is the key word here.  DON'T let it touch the crochet or knitting - that will ruin it for good.  HOVER about 1cm over.  Hover left and right, making sure you go over the corners.  All for about 5-10 seconds.  That is all you'll need.  Don't hover in any one place, move it around and around.

Tip:  Laying the pins flat not only stops the work from 'pinging' back, but also will help prevent any scratching of the bottom of your smooth non-stick iron.

Finished hovering?  10 seconds over?  Now, put your iron aside and take all of the pins out.  If the work springs back when the pins are pulled out, you'll need to hover a little longer again, not much longer than 15 seconds though.  BUT, what should happen is, the work should stay put when you pull the pins out.  And you'll be left with not-curly but FLAT and in the right shape handiwork.

Before & After

Woohoo!  You should now have a professional looking finish.

If you've tried this out, or if my instructions are un-clear in any way, please let me know.


1 comment:

  1. oooooh thanks for the tip! will definitely be giving it a go!


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