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Old 10-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
GrumpyGramma
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Blocking acrylic yarn
I just came across this site and thought I'd share with anyone who might be interested. I've not tried it. http://a-modicum-of-ingenuity.blogsp...ylic-yarn.html I've seen reference to using those kid's interlocking blocks, kind of like puzzle mats, for blocking and think they could be used in place of the foam core board mentioned.
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Keep in mind that your blocking will be permanent.
That's from the site. I don't understand why it's permanent, it seems to me that once washed and thrown in the dryer it's going to do its own thing again. What am I missing?
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:58 PM   #2
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When you apply heat or steam to acrylic items, it 'kills' them, partially melting the plastic fibers and that indeed is permanent. What this article shows is nothing different than how you'd block wool fibers and while they may look good right after take the pins out, I don't think it's going to be permanent at all - it will have to be done again after you wash it. Washing and drying creates enough steam that it'll keep it's shape and size and relax the stitches which is all you need to do to acrylic. Anything more than that is for people with too much time on their hands...
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:58 PM   #3
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Interesting. Here's another site I have bookmarked. She says it's permanent, too. Also she uses a steamer. I have a small one that I don't like so I plan to get a good one like this eventually.
http://beadknitter.blogspot.com/2009...k-acrylic.html

I don't understand the permanence either, but maybe if its washed and dried flat vs the dryer it makes a difference? I've gotta test this by knitting a couple squares and testing them. Please let us know if you try it.

Sue... I usually just wash and dry acrylic, but that is still not always effective for some things. I don't feel that those who take the time for it are people with too much time on their hands. May e just perfectionists.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #4
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As far as I know, it doesn't stay blocked if you just pin and spray it with water, you've got to steam it too. Would be interesting to see how it works for others.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by suzeeq View Post
When you apply heat or steam to acrylic items, it 'kills' them, partially melting the plastic fibers and that indeed is permanent. What this article shows is nothing different than how you'd block wool fibers and while they may look good right after take the pins out, I don't think it's going to be permanent at all - it will have to be done again after you wash it. Washing and drying creates enough steam that it'll keep it's shape and size and relax the stitches which is all you need to do to acrylic. Anything more than that is for people with too much time on their hands...
Originally Posted by Jan in CA View Post
Interesting. Here's another site I have bookmarked. She says it's permanent, too. Also she uses a steamer. I have a small one that I don't like so I plan to get a good one like this eventually.
http://beadknitter.blogspot.com/2009...k-acrylic.html

I don't understand the permanence either, but maybe if its washed and dried flat vs the dryer it makes a difference? I've gotta test this by knitting a couple squares and testing them. Please let us know if you try it.

Sue... I usually just wash and dry acrylic, but that is still not always effective for some things. I don't feel that those who take the time for it are people with too much time on their hands. May e just perfectionists.
Too much time...just perfectionists....I love both of your responses.

I looked farther down that page and found thiis:
Quote:
Luckily I've been so lazy that I haven't put my blocks together yet, so I went ahead and threw one of each of them into the washer/dryer to check. The blocks retained their shape just fine for me; no more blocking was needed for my purposes. This is just my experience though. Thanks for asking!
I'm trying to think of something I have that I can try blocking a square on. I'm not going to buy anything for it just now. If I figure out something to use, I'll let you know how it works for me.

I've used a little steam on acrylic items but never to the point they were totally killed and it will help even things out some, but I've never blocked anything...all I've used is acrylic...and I mostly wanted to see how horribly uneven things really were before I finished what I was making. My steamer I use for cleaning windows, window tracks (ew! but they get nasty!) and other things. I have used it for steaming wrinkles out of curtains that weren't coming down and other fabrics that weren't coming off of whatever they were on.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:22 PM   #6
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When I block real wool, I just wet/wash it, and lay it flat to dry. I usually knit on larger needles even for lace shawls, so don't need to stretch them. The acrylics I just put in the washer/dryer and they're fine, sometimes the stitches even relax a little so you get some of the same effect.

Jan, I was really sort of kidding, but yeah, they would be perfectionists.
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:31 PM   #7
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:04 AM   #8
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I have to give credit where credit is due! I totally respect any knitter who takes time to perfect the shape of their knitted items, no matter what fiber they've used.

(What Sue said was interesting, about steam 'killing' the acrylic yarn. Sounds about right.)

I thought the little 10" x 10" blocking board she (the blogger) created using foamcore board and batting was very ingenious! Maybe she doesn't have access to the interlocking (foam) puzzle piece style blocking matts, but has lots of foamcore & batting!

Did she make several so that she could block more than one at a time? Well, I guess one would do.....knit one, then block it while you're knitting the next, eh?!!

They wouldn't take much room, and could sit anywhere in the house!

I've used acrylic for garments in the past, also for afghans. I remember slightly steaming the armhole seams to flatten them, usually on my ironing board. I've pinned out my acrylic afghan squares and steamed them into uniform 6" x 6" squares before seaming. I dunno if it really accomplished a permanent resizing cuz after all the blocks were seamed together, how would one know?

But it made me feel better to at least start out with uniform 6" x 6" blocks aligned as I was in the seaming stage. In the end, my daughters toss the (acrylic) patchwork blankets (knit for my grandkids) in the washer and dryer. They come out fine!

With acrylics.....I've steamed, I've spritzed, I've pinned and prodded, I've used wet terry cloths atop....whatever struck me at the time. I've never been sorry I spent the time trying to nudge my finished knitted items into a nicer appearance.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:43 PM   #9
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Steaming does kill acrylic if you do it for too long and you never want to touch the iron to acrylic fiber or it will melt. Unless you're trying to create a fiber that is drapey and bodiless like maybe some shawl you don't want to kill it..

I can see how lightly seaming can be permanent, but I don't see how it's even possible for it to be permanent with wet blocking. It would be beneficial for preparing for seaming though for sure!

When I'm done with my current projects I'm going to make 4 squares and try the different methods and we'll see what happens. I've been curious for a long time.
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:55 PM   #10
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Good idea, Jan! I know that you use acrylic yarn a lot due to your wool allergy. Let us know what you discover! This is an interesting topic.
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