Blocking: A How To

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Eliste
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Blocking: A How To

Postby Eliste » Mon Jan 09, 2012 3:15 pm

Every project you do should be cleaned before displaying it, which means that any project is going to get wet. This means that you already have done half the work to block it! Any I honestly believe that every project that is stitched should be blocked. Its easy, and makes a big difference in how things look, especially if its going in a frame.

Most people think of knitting and lace when they think of blocking, but any craft that is done on fabric is suitable. Once properly blocked and dried, a project will hold its shape very well, which is useful when doing things like putting it in a frame or adding it to a pillow. I'm just doing wet-blocking, but as said before, you should be washing your project so it should be easy enough to have it wet!

What you Need-
Your project- still wet from the cleaning preferably!
Pins or thumbtacks
A flat surface big enough to hold the entire project, and capable of being stabbed into by pins/thumbtacks- using a frame can also work.
If you want straight lines- I suggest a ruler (I prefer a tailor's ruler that is not just see through, but flexible)

Word to the wise- if you haven't zigzaged or taped or otherwise secured the edges of your project you'll need to put pins further in to avoid the fabric simply fraying and falling apart under the pressure.

The Quick Run Down

1) Lay your project on your surface

2) Pin down one edge. Then pin down the opposite side, pulling the fabric not just down, but across so that you stretch it across from the opposite pinned side.
Do the same on the alternate sides.Putting pins in and pulling taut

3) Repeat step 2 for the other sides. You really want to get it nice and taut, so don't be afraid to take a couple of times around it just to make certain you really can't get it too much tighter. If your outside of the fabric is warping around each pin, try pinning further in.

4) Take your ruler and lay it touching each corner of one side, making certain that you've pulled the corners taut in both directions already.
Using the ruler as a guideline, re-pin along the edge making certain to pull the edges of the project up to meet the ruler. The straighter you get it, the straighter your project will be when it dries.
If your project doesn't exactly have a straight line, you can use the fabric's own blocks/threads as a guideline to pull it straight. The straighter you get it NOW, the better it will turn out.

5) Leave your project to dry somewhere safe. Make certain your surface doesn't bend while it dries as the fabric contracts.

I've been asked how you get the corners square and the answer is triangles and rulers. Use it to square up each corner and then you can straighten each side to match. Also, if you physically measure the distance of your perfectly stretched side, you can match the other and line it all up right. Work to match the corners first and then you'll be able to easily pull the sides to meet up.

Honestly- blocking is dead easy and makes EVERY project look better. Its 15 minutes work and the results can last your project's lifetime. And if you don't like how it turned out when its dry? Just wet it and start over. Voila.

For more in-depth instructions and more photos you can check out my guide here.
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