Crochet

Crochet Finishing: Don’t Skip These 3 Steps

You finally finished your crochet project – CONGRATS! Now comes finishing. Crochet finishing refers to the steps you take between the end of your last stitch and actually using your crocheted piece. Following the three finishing steps outlined in this post will preserve all of your hard work and make sure your piece stands the test of time. As eager as you might be to use your crochet before finishing, don’t skip these three steps!

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3 Crucial Crochet Finishing Steps - fastening off, weaving in ends, and blocking your crochet projects. | TLYCBlog.com

I’m going to shoot straight with you – finishing is every crocheter’s least favorite part of the process. Crochet finishing can be tedious, time-consuming, and some steps might seem pointless. But I can assure you, every tip I offer in this post works toward taking your project from done to truly polished and complete. Make time for finishing your projects so you can have a piece that you are truly proud of.

Step 1 // Fastening Off

3 Crucial Crochet Finishing Steps - fastening off, weaving in ends, and blocking your crochet projects. | TLYCBlog.com

Fastening off is a fancy term in crochet finishing for disconnecting your project from the ball of yarn. You do this by measuring out a length of yarn, about 6″ or so, then cutting the yarn that is attached to your project. Finally, lift the live loop until the yarn end pops out of your work. You can then move onto Step 2.

There is some debate around whether to knot the yarn before fastening off. I find that you don’t need to knot the yarn most of the time, but it can help if you are using a slippery yarn or just want an added level of security in your crochet. After finishing your last stitch, chain 1. Then fasten off and lift the live loop up and out of your work. Gently tug the tail to tighten the knot. You can then move onto Step 2.

It is important to leave a long tail before you head into Step 2. If your tail is too short, it will be hard to weave in your ends. Short ends can pop out of your work, or even worse, loosen and ruin your stitches. Pro Tip: If you’re not sure how long of a tail to leave when fastening off, always leave more than you think you need. It’s easier to weave in an end that’s too long than one that is too short.

Step 2 // Weaving In Ends

After you complete Step 1 of finishing, you will have 2 or more ends that need to be weaved into your work. The ends are the loose bits of yarn, typically found at the very beginning and very end of your work. If you’ve added multiple balls of yarn or have multiple color changes, you might have more than 2 ends to weave in once your project is done.

The goal of weaving in ends in crochet finishing is twofold: (1) make sure the ends are secure and don’t work their way out of the project and, (2) make sure the ends are hidden so they are not obvious to the naked eye when wearing or using the crocheted piece. You can’t overdo it when weaving in ends, but you can underdo it. Take your time and make sure the ends are truly secure.

Every maker sews/weaves in their ends differently. Here’s my preferred method for securing the ends:

  1. Turn your work so you are looking at the back, or the “wrong side” of the project.
  2. Thread the yarn tail onto a metal tapestry needle.
  3. Find the base of a row of stitches near the yarn end. Thread the tapestry needle through the loops at the base of several stitches in one direction.
  4. Prepare to work under the same loops in the opposite direction. Skip the very first loop and thread the tapestry needle through the loops after it.
  5. Snip off any remaining yarn close to the project, being careful not to cut the project itself.
  6. Massage the stitches to further hide the yarn end.

If you are working with a slippery yarn, thread your yarn under as many stitches as you need to feel secure. Simply move to the row of stitches above or below the row you just worked into and repeat these steps with the same yarn end.

3 Crucial Crochet Finishing Steps - fastening off, weaving in ends, and blocking your crochet projects. | TLYCBlog.com

Step 3 // Blocking

Once you’ve fastened off and your ends are secured, it’s time to block. Crocheters will debate the need for blocking until the cows come home. In my studio, blocking is 100% necessary for crochet finishing. Items like amigurumi (crochet dolls), baskets, and rugs may not need to be blocked. But blankets, wearables, motifs, and accessories should be.

3 Crucial Crochet Finishing Steps - fastening off, weaving in ends, and blocking your crochet projects. | TLYCBlog.com

What is blocking? Blocking is the process of introducing water, shaping, and dry time to your crochet projects.

What does blocking do? Blocking achieves the following:

  • Restore your fibers to their intended glory. Blocking allows fibers to expand into their natural shape, reintroducing some of the bounce and softness they might loose in the stitching process.
  • Clearn the fibers. Dirt, oil, and odor may have come in contact with your project while it was in progress. Add a small amount of no-rinse soap to your blocking process to thoroughly clean your makes and add a pleasant scent.
  • Aid in shaping. Introducing moisture (and sometimes heat) to your project makes it more pliable, thus making it easy to manipulate it into the shape you want. This is helpful for lace projects and items that need to be coaxed into a particular shape.
  • Softens and conditions crochet fabric. If you’re looking for next-to-skin softness, blocking is the way to go. Yarn manufacturing can make fibers rough and irritating. Blocking can loosen or remove any irritants that are covering up the softness of your crochet fabric.

How does blocking work? Blocking has three components: water, shaping, and drying. If you do these three things, you are indeed blocking. You can use different methods and even complete these steps in a different order. Your preferred methods will change based on project type, fiber, and desired outcome. With so many variables, there’s no cut-and-dry answer for how to block your specific project. Use the info below and go with your gut.

What supplies do I need for blocking? It’s a good idea to have the following items on hand so you can be prepared to block any project, anytime.

  1. Blocking pins are used hold your project in place while it is drying. Look for rust-proof sewing pins or T-pins. For more efficient blocking, grab a set of Knit Blockers, which allow you to place multiple pins in one easy motion.
  2. Blocking mats or blocking boards are interlocking foam mats that you pin your project to. The foam receives the pins well, but it won’t take on unnecessary moisture, allowing your project to dry quickly. You can use dedicated blocking mats or look for kid’s playroom mats instead.
  3. Blocking wires are thin metal wires that are extremely helpful for blocking projects with long edges. Weave these flexible wires along the length of the edge, then pin the project in place. You’ll use less pins and get a straighter edge with blocking wires.
  4. A spray bottle is helpful for spray blocking. You can control the direction and amount of moisture you are adding to your project without oversaturating it.
  5. A garment steamer is a crocheter’s best friend. Steaming is my preferred method for crochet blocking and a garment steamer makes the process quick and painless. Look for a steamer that can be tilted downward without leaking (like THIS ONE!).
  6. No-rinse soap like Eucalan or Soak helps to clean and refresh the yarn. Soap is not always necessary, but it’s a nice touch and aids in softening the finished project.
  7. Keep a towel close. I have a dedicated bath sheet that I like to use for blocking. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done and is very absorbant.
  8. A fan can help speed up the drying process if you’re in a pinch or if your project is taking longer to dry than expected.

Spray Blocking

Spray blocking is the least aggressive form of blocking, and it’s a great place to start if you’ve never tried blocking before. When spray blocking, you introduce moisture gradually, making the stitches more pliable without over-stretching them. Spray blocking cuts down on dry time and is useful for projects that don’t need too much manipulation. I’ve found this form of blocking most agreeable with animal fibers.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water. Optional: Add a touch of no-rinse soap to the bottle for added for freshness.
  2. Spray the project on all sides until it is damp to the touch.
  3. Pin the project to blocking boards using rust-proof pins. Pay close attention to any straight edges and avoid peaks in your work. Add more pins as necessary and/or use blocking wires.
  4. Allow the project to thoroughly before unpinning it from the mats.

Steam Blocking

Steam blocking is a middle-of-the-road method that works for just about any project and fiber. If I were Goldilocks, this would be my “just right” crochet finishing method. Steaming introduces heat AND moisture to your projects, further aiding in refreshing the fabric and relaxing the stitches. It makes stitches pliable, but not too pliable, and it has a pretty short dry time. Steaming works for animal- and plant-based fibers, and it works especially well to soften and shape acrylic fibers.

  1. Pin the project to blocking boards using rust-proof pins. Pay close attention to any edges and avoid peaks in your work. Add more pins as needed and/or use blocking wires.
  2. Fill your garment steamer with distilled or tap water. Let it heat up. If your garment steamer has settings, adjust it to meet the needs of the fiber you are blocking. DO NOT add no-rinse soap to your garment steamer. Optional: You can use a steam iron instead of a garment steamer. Just be careful not to let the hot plate come in contact with your crochet fabric.
  3. Apply steam to your pinned project, working slowly and allowing the fabric to become damp to the touch. Pay close attention to seams and edges to ensure they are crisp and straight. Refill the steamer as needed for large projects.
  4. Allow the project to dry thoroughly before unpinning it from the mats.

Wet Blocking

Wet blocking is the most aggressive form of blocking, but don’t let that scare you. If your fiber can handle it, wet blocking is the most effective way to reveal drape and softness in your crochet fabric. Wet blocking involves submerging your fabric in water to let the individual stitches soak thoroughly.

Consider wet blocking for projects no larger than a pullover sweater (baby blankets would be a yes, but throw size blankets would be a no). Wet blocking is effective for animal and plant fibers, but not on acrylic (the plastic in acrylic will snap back into shape after wet blocking, making it ineffective). Wet blocking works well for small stitches like single crochet, but can overstretch tall stitches. Overstretched stitches are great for achieving drape, if that’s what you’re going for. Finally, wet blocking is great for opening lace and mesh stitches.

Keep in mind that wet blocking can be a little unpredictable. If you only need a little bit of stretch and drape, go for one of the less aggressive forms of blocking for your crochet finishing. You can also wet block AFTER you’ve tried other methods, but it is nearly impossible to go back.

  1. Fill a sink or bowl with warm (not hot!) water. Optional: Add a touch of no-rinse soap to the basin for added for freshness.
  2. Add your project to the water, pressing gently to coax water into all of your stitches. You may see tiny air bubbles float to the surface. This means that water is displacing the air, thoroughly soaking your stitches.
  3. Leave the project to soak in the water for at least 20 minutes but no longer than a few hours.
  4. Lift your project out of the water and gently press out the excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the fabric – this can permanently distort your stitches.
  5. Place your project as flat as you can onto a towel. Roll the towel around the project and gently press out more excess water. I like to do this by setting the rolled towel on the floor and stepping on it.
  6. Arrange your blocking boards to the desired size.
  7. Lay your project onto the blocking boards and pin it into place with rust-proof pins or Knit Blockers. Be sure to lay seams flat so you don’t have any unexpected creases in your blocked work.
  8. Allow the project to dry thoroughly before unpinning it from the mats.

Crochet Finishing Q&A

Is crochet blocking permanent?

Short answer: it depends. Yarn fibers have “memory”, which means some fibers will bounce back to their original shape if not blocked aggressively enough. Plant fibers have low memory, which is great for drape. After blocking, the stitches become very relaxed and you likely will only need to re-block your projects if the shape gets wonky.

Animal fibers have high memory. That’s why they can stand up to wet blocking so well. You may need to lightly steam animal fiber projects to get them back into shape. Acrylic yarn has the highest memory and benefits from steam blocking. You can “kill” acrylic by steaming it very aggressively, which will make the fabric soft, but it might distort the look of the stitches.

Do I need to block my crochet blanket?

If you want it to look pretty and crisp, 100% YES. No matter what you make your blanket from, it will benefit from some form of blocking. Blocking will add drape, softness, and shape to your blanket. Add a little wool wash to your spray bottle for a clean scent, or lightly mist it with watered-down perfume.

Why does my crochet curl at the corners?

Crochet curls at the corners because of tension. Tension is a natural part of the crochet process and can result in some corners of your work curling toward you or away from you. Don’t dwell on changing your crocheting style too much to correct curling. Instead, plan to block your project as part of crochet finishing. Blocking will address the curling as well as the fabric drape, softness, and freshness.

Can you block crochet with just water?

Absolutely! You can spray block, steam block, and wet block with just water. Adding heat or no-rinse soap to the process has some added benefits, but they’re not always necessary.

How can you block without blocking mats?

If you don’t have blocking mats, lay towels on top of a thick quilt or blanket. Pin your wet blocked project to the towels, or pin down the project you plan to spray/steam block. Complete the blocking process and let the project dry thoroughly. This method won’t have as much ventilation as working on blocking boards, so I recommend using a fan to speed up the drying process.

Still have questions about fastening off, weaving in ends, and blocking? Drop them in the comments!

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31 Comments

  • Reply Alek Felis

    Hehehe, block on knits/crochet and ironing of fabric are actions I’m never feels needed. I don’t give a damn about crumples 😂😂.
    But just from curiosity do you have to blocking after every laundry?

    July 23, 2021 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Betsy Snow

    If I make a granny square blanket do I block the squares as I go or at the end? If I don’t have an area large enough to spread the blanket out after finishing, can I block a section at a time?

    July 23, 2021 at 3:05 pm
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! You can block the individual squares, or join in sections and block the sections. Whatever it takes to get the job done 🙂

      July 24, 2021 at 8:31 am
  • Reply Em Pain

    Wonderful post!
    I’ve started blocking recently and can see the benefits!
    Quick question regarding blocking – if my piece is too big for my blocking blocks, is it ok to wet half of it, do half, and do thr 2nd half later?

    I have a shawl that is too big for my 9 blocks due to its triangular shape. Unsure how to go about blocking it to reveal it’s true glory!

    Thanks in advance 😘

    July 23, 2021 at 5:34 pm
    • Reply Toni L.

      Absolutely you can block in stages 🙂 Great solution.

      July 24, 2021 at 8:31 am
  • Reply Frances A

    Toni, I really enjoyed the video on blocking. I have never blocked before because I didn’t feel comfortable in doing it and I didn’t think it was that important but now I see how it can make my work more polished. Also you must have read my mine because I was wondering if I would have to block again but you answered my question. Thank you so much and Congratulations on your new book.

    July 23, 2021 at 5:56 pm
  • Reply Carol

    Great information! Can’t wait to finish my first project and block it. Just ordered the steamer you recommended. Thanks!

    July 23, 2021 at 7:19 pm
  • Reply Morgan R Watson

    Can you talk about how to fasten off ends where I changed a ball of yarn or color mid row? Those ends are just hanging there and I feel like if I tie them together in a knot there will be this hard knot where I don’t want one. As far as blocking goes, I don’t have space or enough counter/table top to block off a twin sized blanket…I think we are just going to have to live with the ruffled edges created by the scallop border I gave it.

    July 23, 2021 at 8:43 pm
    • Reply Toni L.

      Sure! You can use the same method that I mention changing the ball when you have a knot. Instead of adding back the ball you had, you’d just add a new ball of yarn. Made sure you leave long enough tails to weave in the ends later. I don’t tie my ends before weaving them in – I just weave them right in. For blocking a blanket, you can “spot block” with a steamer – just hit the areas that are a little curly. The center likely doesn’t need to be blocked.

      July 24, 2021 at 8:29 am
  • Reply Arlinda

    Thanks Toni, this was great information and I learned a! lot! The question that I have is how do you block projects like hats and sweaters? Congratulations on your book getting published! I ordered a copy today! Thank you so much!

    July 23, 2021 at 9:28 pm
  • Reply Fran C

    Great as always! One tip I can give for an alternative for blocking board. Is an exercise mat. Dependant on the project size of course but it worked well for a scarf or small item.

    July 24, 2021 at 7:04 am
  • Reply Douglas

    Could you use a drop of fabric softener instead of the drop of dish soap for wet blocking?

    July 24, 2021 at 9:39 am
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! You certainly could. Though, I would recommend a bit of dish soap AND a bit of fabric softener. One to clean, the other to condition.

      July 26, 2021 at 8:46 am
  • Reply Nicole

    Hi Toni,

    Do you have any tips on blocking sweaters?
    I tried blocking two using your video, followed all of the steps, but it took a couple days under a fan to actually dry because it has 2 layers of fabric.
    They both super-stretched out after the soak, and I ended up putting them on air-dry in my dryer for 20 min to aid in the drying. One felted, the other is okay, but I’m scared to ever try this with sweaters again.

    July 24, 2021 at 11:39 am
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! There are three options for blocking, and it sounds like you needed something a little less intense for your sweaters. I would recommend steam blocking next time. Pin the project first, steam one side and let it dry, then flip it over and do the other side.

      July 26, 2021 at 8:43 am
  • Reply Gloria McClain

    Hi Toni. Thanks for this great information. How would I block hair accessories like ear warmers and headbands? Thanks again!

    July 24, 2021 at 6:59 pm
  • Reply fathima

    can we normally wash (machine wash) any type of crochet blanket, cardigan at regular intervals?

    July 24, 2021 at 11:47 pm
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! It depends on the fiber. Check the ball band of the yarn you bought to better understand how to care for your finished projects.

      July 26, 2021 at 8:42 am
  • Reply Nicole E Swanson

    Thank you, Toni! For some reason I feel like I’ve had a hard time finding straightforward, complete info on blocking (so I’ve kind of avoided it) but this answered all my questions!

    July 25, 2021 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Penny

    To block a big project, I use one or two clean towels on top of a carpet in a bedroom! I pin my work through the towel and the carpet, spray and then close the door so that the dogs and cats can’t find it! Works like a dream.

    July 25, 2021 at 12:08 pm
  • Reply Mary

    Thoroughly enjoying Crochet Academy and practicing like crazy so I can keep up with the upcoming Crochet Along. Thank you, Toni — and CONGRATS on your published book! So cool and, of course, I ordered your book because that is how I originally found you – Tunisian crocheting!

    July 25, 2021 at 10:57 pm
  • Reply Jacqueline

    This post was freaking amazingggggg!!!!! Honestly, I can say that about all of your posts in the Academy!! Thank you for this one Toni! I used to wonder why my afghans were so misshapen! Anddddd, weaving in ends!!! Awesome tips and techniques!!!! God bless you for this knowledge you’re blessing us with!!!

    July 26, 2021 at 10:45 pm
  • Reply Gloria

    Hi Toni, I believe I found my answer to blocking accessories. This post was very informative, as I didn’t know all the methods to blocking, cutting knots found in the yarn when crocheting, etc. It goes without saying that there is always something new to learn no matter how long you’ve been crocheting. You are a Godsend to us!! Thank you!!

    July 28, 2021 at 7:57 pm
  • Reply Chris Dickson

    Toni,

    I just finished a chevron blanket for my son. The long edges are rolling (curling). It is a bit longer than a standard twin size blanket (my son is tall). I don’t really have anywhere to lay it out for an extended time. Can I block 1/3 or half at a time? It is made from 100% acrylic. I was thinking steam would require the least drying time? Any advice would be most gratefully appreciated.

    July 30, 2021 at 10:17 am
    • Reply Toni L.

      Absolutely! It’s totally ok to block in sections. And I would go with steam as well. Just be careful if it’s acrylic – don’t melt the yarn.

      July 30, 2021 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply Kat McCrystal

    Hi Toni! Please forgive me if these questions are, umm, not smart (LOL). 1) Do you wash your yarn before you start a project? I have heard a lot about yarns having chemicals/dirt from the factory and dust from the warehouses, etc. Some have recommended putting skeins in knee-high stockings prior to washing so the skein keeps its shape and doesn’t get all tangled up in the process. 2) If you don’t wash your yarn first, do you wash it once the project is finished? If so, can you wash it (according to band recommendations) and then block it straight from the washer and let it dry? Or is the blocking process with the no-rinse soap the only cleaning you do on a new project? 3) I read what you said about fibers having memory. I am new to wearables and assume they need to be laundered regularly when worn regularly. Do you need to block them after each wash? Is that be dependent on the fiber? Thanks!

    July 31, 2021 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Amelia Johnson

    Thank you so much for this info! I have always been afraid to block because I didn’t fully trust I knew what to do. I can’t say that now. Your explanation was perfect!

    August 1, 2021 at 10:49 am
  • Reply Mallory

    Hi Toni! Thanks for this info! I have actually wet blocked acrylic before and it’s come out beautifully, but maybe I just got lucky. LOL! I was wondering if you could link the steamer again? The link to Amazon gave me an error. Thanks!

    August 18, 2021 at 2:01 am
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! Thanks for checking out the post 🙂 I just updated the steamer link, so it should be working. If it doesn’t work on your phone, please try a tablet or desktop.

      August 24, 2021 at 6:55 pm
  • Reply Marilyn

    Hi Toni! Was curious about how to fasten of yarn that is in between color changes? When I started adding a new color, I left enough to weave in, but when I went back to previous color I was using, there is yarn on the sides of that color from rows below that I didn’t weave in as I connected it to a new row stitches above it, if that makes sense.
    Not sure what to do there and I’ve started it with the Scarf in CA

    August 30, 2021 at 10:27 pm
    • Reply Toni L.

      Hi! I’m not 100% sure that I get the scenario, but is sounds like you’d weave those ends into their like color. Feel free to email if that doesn’t answer your question 🙂

      August 31, 2021 at 2:13 pm

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