Blocking Granny Squares 101

Blocking Granny Squares 101

Blocking Granny Squares 101

August 22, 2013 | Crafts | 23 Comments

There is nothing more satisfying than working up a few colourful crochet granny squares, am I right? But when you’ve finished your required number of squares/run out of yarn/need to finish up this project so that you can start on the next, and you’re going to want to join them up in to one colossal blanket/throw/afgan/snuggler.

You’ve laid out all the squares, got them just how you want them and suddenly you feel a bit cheated. Seems that no one told you that the task of getting the squares to all neatly line up, the corners to meet and the sides to sit flush to each other, is a fiddly one. Holding the squares together with a heap of pins always seems leave you prickled, yet doesn’t seem to hold the section together neatly enough for stitching.

We’ve all been there. That the moment when you want to throw them behind the couch and damn them all to hell. But, guess what? it needn’t be like that.

So, how do you get the squares to all fit together exactly? The answer, my friends is blocking.

What is this blocking I speak of? Sounds rather dull, right? Wrong it’s basically the principle of using water – or steam – to help you to shape the fibres of the yarn for your finished piece.

Before you sulking off, muttering that there isn’t enough hours in the day to be bothered with blocking each individual square, there are a whole heap of advantages to blocking, take a look…

Stitches can be evened out, so any mildly wonky tension can be corrected
Helps to open out the work and reveal the stitch patterns
Allows the piece to be made into the correct shape of size <<< This is why you’re going to love it for your granny squares!

There are three ways to block your crochet (or knitted pieces)

  • Spray blocking (this is my go-to method) – applying a healthy dose of warm water with a spray bottle before pinning out to the desired size and shape.
  • Steam blocking – using a pressing cloth and iron and allowing the heat and moisture from the steam to penetrate the fibres.
  • Wash blocking – soaking the item in warm water fully before (carefully) squeezing out the excess water and pinning into position.

All three methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and some are better for some tasks and fibres over others. You’re always going to need to be careful when using steam on woolens so that the fibres aren’t damaged by the heat and remember that soggy soaked through items will be heavy and should be handled with care to prevent them from stretching out of shape and getting damaged.

I prefer to spray block – working with mosly natural fibres, this usually works a treat and seems to make less of a soggy mess of the house at the same time. The pieces dry out into shape quickly, and any troublesome areas – the bits that just wont sit where you what them – can be resprayed into submission!

OK, so that’s the theory, how about putting it into practice.

Let’s get blocking…
BlockingA
Spray blocking requires a few supplies…
Crochet squares (obviously!)
Tape measure
Pins – no rusty only ones, pick out the clean rustproof kind so as not to mark any light coloured yarns
Spray bottle filled with warm water
Blocking board – these are special boards that are used as a base for pinning out the projects, they feature a handy grid to ensure every piece is pinned out to the correct dimensions. Of course, you can simply use a flat surface – you bed with a few thick fluffy towels to work on (remember this ca take a few hours to dry, so maybe don’t go blocking on your bed last thing at night or you’ll be sleeping on the couch!). I use interlocking foam playmats – the kind that Littles use – these are easy enough to pin into, but need to be used with a tape measure to get the sizing just right.
BlockingBPlace the granny square onto the blocking mat, with right side uppermost. With the spray bottle, spritz a generous amount of warm water on to the surface. You want the fibers to be damp enough to be manipulated into the correct dimensions.
BlockingCPin the corners onto the blocking board, using the tape measure (or marking on the board if you’re a fancy pants) adjust until each pin is the same distance apart and parallel so that the corners are positioned to the correct dimensions.
BlockingDPlace the tape measure along each side in turn, and add in the pins easing the material of the granny square out to the right size and shape. Spritz on more warm water as you work, to help ease out any stubborn sections.
BlockingEOnce all the sides are pinned out, use the tape measure to check that each side is the same length and that it is pinned perfectly square – this is what will help all the squares to come together neatly – move and adjust any pins until it is just right.
BlockingFLeave somewhere safe to dry – away from pesky puppies – if its a sunny day, moving the boards out to a shady spot in the garden works a treat! Once fully dry, remove the pins and…Tah Dah…you’ll have perfectly square squares!


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23 Comments

  1. Pingback: Lion Brand Cotton Ease Super-Size Granny Square BlanketMade Peachy

  2. Reply

    Shavavian

    December 9, 2013

    Love this!! It’s awesome!! Had no idea it was even a thing, but I’m so glad I found your tutorial!! This will make life a lot easier when I go to sew all my squares together. Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Looking back on 2013 - a year in reviewMade Peachy

  4. Reply

    Julie

    May 28, 2014

    I wish I saw this first, can you block once the blanket is sewn together?

    • Reply

      MadePeachy

      May 29, 2014

      Hey Julie! You can block your finished blanket too – I often re-block hand knit and hand crochet projects after I have handwashed them to help bring them back to life and re-shape. The principle for blocking the finished blanket is the same as for a single block – work the pins around the edges & corners, easing it out to the right shame & measurements. You can always use the pins to help straighten out the lines where the block join across the blanket. Good Luck – do let me know how you get on!

  5. Reply

    Lindy

    July 27, 2014

    Thanks for the tips on blocking. I’m just about to have a go a knitting a blanket with different texture squares, all in the same colour in a cotton yarn. I’ve been looking at ideas and your page looks like it could help me overcome problems I’ve been imagining about the fit of the squares. So, primed and ready to go. I’ll let you know!

  6. Pingback: Pinterest: What The Did With Crochet BordersMade Peachy

  7. Reply

    Nina

    May 9, 2015

    Can you wet block acrylic squares too or just natural fibers?

    Can I block 8-9 as I go and will they keep their shape if stored uncrowded until they are joined …. maybe months later?

    Thanks.

    • Reply

      MadePeachy

      May 12, 2015

      Hi Nina, Im a huge fan of blocking and recumbent it no matter what fibre the yarn – although it has to be said that some respond better and different techniques need to be used. Spritzing with water might be the best option, if you intend to block them with an iron be careful that the heat and steam from the iron can damage acrylic yarns – if you prefer to block with an iron, then cover with a pressing cloth before applying any heat. Your plans for blocking and storing is a great way to encourage acrylic or mixed yarns to retain their shape. If possible pin them out onto a blocking board – you can always stack them in little bundles to save space- and keep them on the board till you are ready to join them. Hope that this helps!

      • Reply

        Nina

        May 12, 2015

        Thanks Laura. I will be wet blocking them…never with a steam iron.

        For blocking I use those individual mat squares that go together like a puzzle and I love the idea of pinning them to the blocks until I am ready to use them. I’ll need over 100 squares, so I have to see how many I can pin on each block … I don’t want to use them up for storage…then I’ll have no squares left for blocking.

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  9. Reply

    meghan

    August 19, 2015

    will this help me with my problem?
    I am making a block baby blanket. I make strips of colored squares like 40″ long, each square is 4″. I have just finished my fourth strip. I laid them all out and the strips are slightyly different lengths! Some of the squares are skinnier than others also. At the moment, I don’t think I missed any rows in the squares so the only thing for different length I can think of is tension as I crochet. Will I need to rip them out again or do like this article explains; blocking them.
    ?
    I look forward to your reply thank you!

  10. Reply

    meghan

    August 19, 2015

    PS I forgot to check the “notify me of follow up comment on the above post so if you don’t mind, please comment on this post instead.

    • Reply

      MadePeachy

      August 20, 2015

      Hi Meghan – I think your right, this does sound like a tension issue that you’re having here! I would suggest giving it a try blocking the strips to the measurements, as depending on the yarn type and stitches it might be possible to bring all the pieces to the same dimensions. I don’t know if you are blocking the squares before you join them into a strip, but you might find that helps too – so before you rip the whole thing out (if blocking the strips doesn’t work) unseam the strips and block each square individually, then you can compare the size and will get a better idea of whether these need to be ripped on completely or if they can be saved.
      Good luck with the blanket – do let me know how you get on!

      • Reply

        meghan

        October 11, 2015

        Is there a way to add pictures on here? Be easier if you can see the project.
        I’ve been directly joining squares to make strips. I’ve finished crochetting all (11) of the strips! πŸ™‚ but still have to join strips together with white border. Should I block the strips or wait until they r joined with white and block as a blanket?

        • Reply

          MadePeachy

          October 14, 2015

          Hi Meghan, you can email the photos to me at hello@madepeachy.com or you can post them on Instagram and tag me @madepeachy in the comments if your profile is not private.
          As a general principle, I would say that if the squares were blocked before joining into strips you should be fine to go ahead and block into a the blanket, however, if you are placing them together and they are looking as though they aren’t going to fit smoothly you can block them again all to the same measurements – hope that helps, please feel free to email to tag me in the photos!

          • Meghan

            November 6, 2015

            I emailed to the address a bit ago. I looked again to make sure it sent and realized the photos didn’t attach. So I just resent the email with the attached photos πŸ™‚

  11. Reply

    Amanda

    October 5, 2015

    Hi
    I have made a pile of granny squares but they are very wobbly round the edges! Should I try and block them or do you think there is a bigger problem! I have put 2 chain in each corner.
    Thanks!
    A

    • Reply

      MadePeachy

      October 14, 2015

      Hi Amanda, a lot granny squares look odd before they are blocked it can be as simple as the yarn type to it could be an issue with technique, it might be worth blocking a single square to the set measurements and assessing how the pieces will look then. The 2ch in the corner shouldn’t be a problem, as long as this is present in each of the corners in the collection of squares, this will simply make a neat pointed corner. If you need further help, feel free to email over photos to hello@madepeachy.com or tag me @madepeachy on Instagram if you add this to your feed!

  12. Pingback: How To Block A Granny Square? | Enjoy 2 Crochet

  13. Reply

    Pam

    June 23, 2017

    Do you block granny squares before or after you put on a border? I like to add a sc border before I join them. Anyway, I’ve blocked both ways and came out with the same result. Was I Just lucky?Just wondering and can’t find the answer by searching the internet. Please let me know. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

    • Reply

      MadePeachy

      July 3, 2017

      Hi Pam, Granny squares can be blocked before or after adding a border as the process is to ensure the squares are neat and to the correct size. If you are adding borders and blocking them with borders you might find it easier to add borders to all the squares and then block them all together to ensure that you have squares of the same size.
      Hope that helps!

  14. Reply

    Pam

    July 3, 2017

    Thank you. I’ve been crocheting for many, many, many (many = 10 years) and couldn’t believe I had to ask such an elementary question. Just goes show… There are no dumb questions.


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