Blocking with a hairdryer or heater?

Remember back when I bought that Knit Picks Shimmer yarn and told everyone I was going to make the Candleflame Shawl. Well, I couldn’t do it lol. It was too long, too much, and too confusing. I did end up making the branching out scarf with it.

I used 2 pieces held throughout the scarf.

I finally have the scarf done and I have a question about blocking. I know that I have to pin it down and then spray it with water. (Atleast I heard pinning it 1st would be wise because shimmer yarn is 80% alpaca and 20% silk.)

After I have the scarf pinned and wet can I use a hairdryer to help speed up the process of the drying?

Will that hurt the fiber ?

I also have a little electric heater I could put in the room instead of using a hairdryer. Would using the heater hurt anything ?

I am just trying to come up with a quick way of blocking the scarf because I am having to keep it in my bathroom while it dries because my son would walk all over it and my little alpaca hunter, Felix will think its dinner.

Thank you !!!

I don’t think blowing it dry will hurt it. I wouldn’t use very hot air, just as a precaution, though that isn’t based on anything except paranoia. :rofl: The heater in the room couldn’t hurt it. If it did, we’d have to refrigerate our fiber in the summers.

Great question! I’ve been tempted to use a hair dryer too, but was afraid the heat would shrink the wool. (Maybe a fan would be less risky since it doesn’t add heat.) I’ve also been wondering how well a garment steamer might work for blocking. That would eliminate the need for washing (and drying) altogether.

I do remember somewhere reading that a person used a steamer to block–one of the household ones. I can’t remember what type of yarn it was, though.

I think I’ll put my electic heater in the bathroom with the scarf. My heater is not only a heater but a fan too lol. So, I can put the temperature on medium and should end up being safe.

Thanks for the advice!!! I just didn’t feel like waiting 3 days for the dang thing to dry. Things take forever to dry in my house for some reason.

sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but I was wondering about this myself. I am blocking something that is 90% Alpaca and 10% wool, but I’m getting impatient, and I want it finished before the cat discovers it. If it’s pinned out will the hair-dryer shrink it? I might end up with that burning hair small though…

Heat doesn’t cause wool to full/felt/shrink. Heat plus agitation plus a change in the pH of the wool does. So careful use of heat, such as a hairdryer will dry it well. Keep moving the dryer, just as you would on your own head to avoid burns.

yeah I was wondering about the shrinking thing, but the previous posters mentioned it, I suppose if there was a lot of acrylic in it it might be a factor. I put it in front of the gas fire, but only the top dried, but the foam was a bit rubbery so I thought it was trapping the moisture, so I stuck the whole lot upright on the radiator and it dried OK!

Some blocking tips:

  1. A hair dryer is not a good idea, unless used on the “cool” setting. The heat is just too high for fiber, animal or man-made. You really won’t save that much time by using the dryer. The heater in the room, however, WILL help.
  2. The item should always be washed first and never wrung out-- instead, roll in terry/Turkish towels and walk on the roll-- really!
  3. The item always needs to be pinned or use blocking rods to hold it in place. Otherwise, the whole idea of blocking is defeated.
  4. Especially with wool, always leave it to dry longer than you think you need to-- by a day or 2 more. Wool feels dry well before it actually is.
  5. Clothing steamers work extremely well and are not overly expensive. But the item still needs to be pinned first and left to dry for a good while.
  6. The best way to block acrylic is to just machine wash and dry it as usual.
  7. Acrylic will never block like wool-- you can’t lengthen or widen a 100% acrylic garment like you can with wool because the chemical make-up of the fiber is so different. But it can be blocked to even out stitches and make it hang better (see #6). By the way, you can lengthen OR widen knit wool pieces, but not both, unless it’s something very holey like lace. The stretch has to come and go from each direction, and a solid piece doesn’t magically just get bigger.

Acrylic is generally OK with heat. A nylon blend is the one I’ve had problems with shrinking and a steamer. Never had a problem steaming acrylic (jiffy, super saver, simply softs, softee chunkee, some yarnbee fur).

All blocking produces different results just like different fibers are different so try a swatch first to make sure you like what you’ll get.

You haven’t ever tried steaming acrylic have you?

Acrylic with a steamer blocks better than wool by any means. It is permanent the first time and it works for sizing length and width. If it’s just to remove a curl it works so fast it doesn’t even need pinned (but pin it anyway because the steam is extremely hot).
Wool reverts back to the original shape after it’s washed and requires reblocking many times before it holds its shape, even with steam blocking.
Washing and drying acrylic evens stitches but it doesn’t block to shape. If your knitting size is off it will remain off.

Steaming does change the texture of acrylic. Because the stitches and twists are “melted” into shape they no longer have a bounce to them. I think it makes acrylic feel like more expensive fibers but others don’t like it.
You definitely don’t want to steam acrylic ribbing.

Wet blocking acrylic also works to some degree but not as good as with wool where it may revert even without washing.

Steaming also doesn’t take long at all to dry. It’s the main reason I bought a steamer. I don’t have the space to leave things lay out for days.
The test subject in this thread was not pinned out that I recall.

You haven’t ever tried steaming acrylic have you?

Yes, I have. Boy, people are getting really condescending and nasty on this site.

I didn’t mean it to be condescending or nasty.

If you’ve steamed acrylic I’m wondering how you say that acrylic will never block like wool and it can’t be sized when I’ve steamed quite a few acrylics and all block better than wool. It will even hold a shape that was not knitted into the piece and keep it through a washing.