Tutorials & How-To's

Blocking acrylic yarn with damp towels

Howdy folks, it’s been a long time since I posted anything like a tutorial so I thought I’d share a tip on how I block my baby clothes which are knitted in acrylic yarn (this works for any synthetic yarn actually).

And the good news is – it’s super-duper easy.

All I do is to dampen a normal bath towel in warm water (cool water has the same effect but I prefer working with the towel warm and damp rather than cold and damp – personal preferences) but the main thing to note here is that the towel does not need to be soaking wet – I wet it and then wring it out pretty fiercely so it’s damp to the touch but not soaking wet.

Then I take the damp bath towel over to my spare bed – which is my “blocking area” of choice – If you have blocking boards or similar use those instead.

Next I lay my towel down on the bed (I have a plastic sheet underneath) and pin out my garment flat to the towel just as I would if I were blocking out a woolen garment. As I’m blocking teeny-tiny baby clothes I just use one half of the towel for pinning out my garment.


I then fold my towel over to cover the garment with the other half of the towel (if you’re blocking a large garment simply use 2 towels).

Then I press down firmly all over the garment to allow the water from both layers of towel to penetrate the garment from the back and front. I do this for about a minute, pressing my hands down flat on the garment and moving around so that I don’t miss any areas and don’t forget about the edges either. This can actually be quite a stress relieving thing to do!

Then I leave everything exactly as it is overnight.

The next morning, the towels will probably still be damp (unless you live in tropical climes that is….) I simply un-pin the garment and lie it on a dry part of the bed to dry out thoroughly. And hey presto – there’s your acrylic (or other synthetic) garment all blocked out and looking as amazing as if you’d knit it up with natural fibres (almost)

The dress in this example was knit in one piece so I’m blocking the entire finished garment, but this method also works for pinning out pieces of a garment knitted flat – this pic shows a bonnet which was knitted flat and blocked in the same way.

002 (2)

You can really go to town in stretching out lace and points at the edges, just as you would with natural fibres, the results just won’t be as extreme as they would with natural fibres which hold shapes much much better. But as they say, every little helps and I believe any garments which have been blocked look much better than those which have not.

I hope this little tip helps any of you who knit with acrylic and synthetic yarns – there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to have them looking just as neat as if they were knitted up with pure wool. I’m actually a huge fan of some acrylic yarns and let’s face it, they are pretty perfect for knitting up baby clothes.

I wrote a post some time ago about steam blocking acrylics which you can find here; the principals of that post have not changed – the methods described there still work a treat, but over the last year or so I’ve adopted this easier (lazier) approach to blocking my acrylics and as it’s working out so well I wanted to share it with all of you lovely knitters!

Happy Blocking everyone!






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