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View Full Version : Blocking Acrylics, proof it can be done


Mike
06-04-2008, 11:48 PM
This is Lion Jiffy (http://cache.lionbrand.com//yarns/jiffy.htm) 100% acrylic before and after steaming.
I used #5 needles (supposed to use #10) so it would be extra hard and curled.

Crycket
06-05-2008, 12:28 AM
So...you took a steamer to it? Or did you use an iron with steam??

Mike
06-05-2008, 01:01 AM
So...you took a steamer to it? Or did you use an iron with steam??

A steamer. My iron is a hand-me-down, I think from before steam was invented :)
I bought the steamer for blocking.

I'm not familiar with steam irons to know how much steam they push but I've heard of people using them just to blow steam and not to press in order to block.

cam90066
06-05-2008, 01:44 AM
I've successfully blocked acrylics doing both the pin/mist method and iron steaming (with pressing cloth). LOVE the colorway on your Jiffy yarn!

cam

Wildfire
06-05-2008, 05:08 AM
I've always wondered and have done a few small pieces myself (blocking them I mean) but it still left me wondering. Thanks for sharing!

Mike
06-05-2008, 12:29 PM
I've successfully blocked acrylics doing both the pin/mist method and iron steaming (with pressing cloth). LOVE the colorway on your Jiffy yarn!

cam

I've never tried spritzing or soaking because I don't have anywhere to lay flat until dried without it becoming a dog blanket or birds doing their thing on it. I barely have enough room to lay out wool hats and socks to dry.
I like steam because it's dry in a few minutes. Some may not like what it does to the yarn, which I've seen described as "killing", but I think the soft drape steaming gives is exactly why people buy natural fibers.

I've ruined a nylon blend with steam. It shrank and got hard.

I don't know why there's a wives tale about acrylics and blocking, if it's an anti-acrylic thing or if it just seems to make sense. To me it makes more sense that natural is least likely to permanently block, when I had curly hair I sure wasn't ever able to block it straight.

I hope this convinces KH members that acrylic does block.

The color of the Jiffy is El Paso.

suzeeq
06-05-2008, 12:47 PM
Well, when acrylic/synthetich yarns became popular in the 60s, one of their selling points was you didn't have to block them. And yeah, you can `kill' it, the items become softer and more drapey. I just toss my acrylic stuff in the washer and dryer, they're fine.

Mike
06-05-2008, 01:51 PM
Well, when acrylic/synthetich yarns became popular in the 60s, one of their selling points was you didn't have to block them. And yeah, you can `kill' it, the items become softer and more drapey. I just toss my acrylic stuff in the washer and dryer, they're fine.

That explains where the idea it can't be done comes from.

It's sure easier to seam flat pieces together than trying to seam around the curls.
I like to kitchener as much as I can so I don't think washing the panels with straight needles and stitch holders would be a good idea :) (I thought there was a tangled mess smilie, if there was I would've put it here)

The washer and dryer does take care of the curl in blankets. But if the gauge changed from start to finish it won't make them square.
I have squared up panels with steam.

cam90066
06-05-2008, 02:16 PM
Some may not like what it does to the yarn, which I've seen described as "killing", but I think the soft drape steaming gives is exactly why people buy natural fibers.

When I've misted, it's more about shaping and was pleased with the results. But when I DO want that bit of 'kill'...for the acrylics that need to be softened a lot and given drape....the steaming has worked well. I did two cable scarves in super cheap acrylic and they were literally stiff...and the cables were curling and pulling. After steaming, the scarves were nice and soft, pliable, and worth wearing.

cam

suzeeq
06-05-2008, 02:27 PM
It's sure easier to seam flat pieces together than trying to seam around the curls.

I avoid seams, knitting tops and sweaters in the round. For flat things like throws, scarves or shawls, I use a garter border around the edges so they don't curl.

Crycket
06-05-2008, 02:38 PM
Ok...so here is my question for you now...

I will be "blocking" a knitted pleated skirt soon enough...

What should I do to make the skirt drape properly, and to keep the pleats...pleaty....?

Mike
06-05-2008, 03:02 PM
Ok...so here is my question for you now...

I will be "blocking" a knitted pleated skirt soon enough...

What should I do to make the skirt drape properly, and to keep the pleats...pleaty....?

I don't know about pleats.

If the skirt isn't acrylic you may want to start a different thread, or being pleats you may get a better response even if it is. A title of "blocking pleats" would more likely get you people who've been there and done that.

For ribbing, I avoid steam blocking no matter what the fabric is or method used. (Hard to put wet socks on a stretcher without stretching the ribbing, which is another reason I like to steam my wool socks.)

If the yarn isn't fuzzy at all I would think about pressing the pleats in with steam (pressing the head with the steamer on the Jiffy really flattens out the fuzz and it looks bad).

I would definitely try some swatches (block, then wash, stretch and typically any type of abuse you can think of) before doing any method. Different methods give different results and it boils down to personal opinion, like me liking the "killed" acrylic from steaming.

Crycket
06-05-2008, 06:25 PM
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crycket/pleated-skirt

The skirt is mellowspun from Mary Maxim (100% acrylic)....but I think I will start a new thread for the details....*wink*

Arielluria
06-05-2008, 06:31 PM
I haven't actually bothered to block acrylics (like Red Heart starter projects I made before I even KNEW what 'blocking' was) - but I have noticed after tossing them into the gentle wash that they become quite a bit softer and drape nicer after a couple of washes.

Jan in CA
06-05-2008, 06:40 PM
Interesting. I wonder if it will hold it's shape though like wool or other natural fibers. :think: I doubt it, but who knows.

Mike
06-05-2008, 07:18 PM
Interesting. I wonder if it will hold it's shape though like wool or other natural fibers. :think: I doubt it, but who knows.

I was waiting for someone to ask that. I didn't bind off but I'll see if I can come up with an answer in a couple hours (time to do some laundry).

I think it will. Other steam blocked swatches I've done had the yarn hold it's shape after frogging and kept the shape after a long time in a ball, until I straightened it and steamed it again.

I don't know about other methods but I think the steamer is hot enough to come close to melting the acrylic just enough so it holds the new shape.

Is wool supposed to hold the blocked shape? If I want my wool socks to have the blocked shape after washing I have to put them back on the coat hanger/stretcher.

Mike
06-05-2008, 11:03 PM
120 Hot/Cold normal wash. Cotton/high, moisture sensing dryer cycle.

It lost maybe 1/8" widthwise and about the same in length but only at the sides.
It didn't get the curl back in it.

This was a knitted and then frogged ball plus going down that far in size it didn't have much spring to it, but it had a little more after washing then it did after steaming.

I'd say it holds the blocking better than my wool socks do, but I do wish my socks would stretch and stay stretched quite a bit and I really didn't stretch this piece much so that's probably not a fair comparison.