Crochet Lampshade from The Complete Book of Crochet
I spent the last two weeks of December down in the Los Angeles area with my brother and sister. That was actually longer than I’d planned to stay but the three of us are almost never all together in one place so it was worth it. We did lots of stuff but there was one day that we really just wanted to chill out so we went to the Santa Monica library and spent the day reading. I know just about every crochet book in my own public library so I was curious to see what they had that was different. What I found was that they have several vintage 1970’s crochet books which my library doesn’t carry.
Complete Book of Crochet
One of the books that I found there was The Complete Book Of Crochet published in 1973 by London’s Octopus Books. It’s a fun crochet pattern book with an introduction to how to crochet and then patterns for home decor items as well as gifts, wearables and kids’ stuff.
What I found most interesting about this book, however, was not the patterns but rather a section in the intro that tells you how to launder your crochet work as well as how to mount crochet to linen. Although it doesn’t call it “blocking”, the process it describes as a method of blocking crochet which should typically be done after a project is first made and each time that you wash it so that the item retains the shape that you want it to have. There are several sites with good tips on blocking crochet and this certainly isn’t the definitive guide but I thought what this book had to say was helpful and interesting.
How to Block Crochet
The basic steps of blocking offered in this 1973 crochet book include:
- Place a piece of plain white paper on top of a clean, flat board. Use the correct measurements to draw out what the correct shape and size of the item is. A ruler, set square and compasses should be used to get the right shapes and angles.
- Wash the crochet item by hand and leave it damp or half dry.
- Pin your crochet item on to the paper, using the outline that you’ve drawn to make sure that you’re correctly shaping the item. Pin the general shape down first, leaving things like picots and chain spaces alone. Use rustless pins for this process.
- Once you have the general shape down, pin the specific parts of the item. Make sure all picots are pulled out to their full shape, all flowers have their petals pinned in the right place, etc. Pay special attention to make sure that your loops, shells and other shapes are the same size and shape.
- If you are pinning a filet crochet item then make sure that the spaces and blocks are square with even edges. Use a solution of starch in water to stiffen the item if necessary.
Crochet Blocking Resources
- Michaels has a good description of the different types of blocking that crocheters commonly used today depending on the yarn type used in the project.
- Linda Permann has a great basic how to block guide that I think is a must-bookmark.
- Futuregirl has some great posts on her site including this one that shows how to block a scarf with blocking wires.
- Kim Werker offers a great guide on CrochetMe about how to spray block crochet or knit squares.