By Susan Brittain, Karen Manthey, Julie Holetz

To wet block an item, you submerge the whole thing in water. This method works for just about any yarn, but read the yarn label just to be sure it’s not a dry-clean-only fiber. You can also gently wash your crocheted item at this time to rid it of the dirt and oils that the yarn is sure to have picked up from your hands.

Use a mild soap made for delicate fabrics (not detergent) and rinse well in cool water before blocking. This method is useful for many items, including garments, afghans, and home décor.

If you’re not sure whether your yarn is colorfast, be sure to test a swatch before dunking your whole design into a tubful of water. Bleeding colors, especially in a striped design, can ruin your work. If you use a solid color, the effect of bleeding isn’t as bad, although you may encounter some fading if you continue to wash the piece over time.

To wet block your work, follow these seven simple steps:

  1. Fill a clean, large tub or sink with cool water and immerse your crocheted design completely, allowing it to become thoroughly wet.
    If you want to wash your design, now’s the time. Add some soap to the water and swish your garment around. Rinse it well with cool, clean water, taking care not to twist or wring out the fabric.
  2. Drain the water from the tub or sink without removing your crochet project.
  3. Press down on your work in the tub to remove some excess water and then pick it up and gently squeeze it to remove more water, being careful not to let any part of it hang down and stretch.

    Never wring your wet crocheted item. Doing so can cause friction between the fibers and alter the appearance of your design. More importantly, it can stretch the fibers beyond repair, and you could end up with a misshapen piece.

  4. Lay your design flat on top of a large towel and then roll the towel and crocheted design together like a jellyroll to absorb more of the water.
    You don’t want to remove too much of the water — just enough so that the material isn’t soaking wet.
  5. Place another large towel on your blocking surface and lay your work flat on it.

    Your blocking surface needs to be a place where you can leave your design undisturbed for a day or two because it may take that long to dry completely.

  6. Following the schematic (garments) or measurements (afghans or other nonwearables) for the design, use a ruler or tape measure to gently shape and stretch the item to the correct size.
    If the design has three-dimensional elements to it, such as bobble stitches or popcorn stitches, gently puff them into shape. If the design is lacy, make sure to open up the loops so that the design is evident.
  7. Allow your design to dry thoroughly.
    If you need to dry your work in a hurry, place a large fan in front of the damp design to speed up the drying process. Don’t place it so close that the fan can blow your masterpiece around, though.

Don’t ever use a blow-dryer to dry your design. The heat could shrink your piece or melt the fibers in a synthetic yarn.