Should I cold block or steam block?

I know that with acrylic yarn, there are basically just 2 options for how to block your knitting. Those are cold blocking and steam blocking.

Cold blocking involves no heat other than from the water used. It does mean that I have to wait until the knitting is completely dry though and that could take hours.

Steam blocking involves having an iron on its lowest setting and just hovering it over the knitting.

I do have a steam iron so I could do a hybrid of the 2(Squirting water from the iron while hovering it over the knitting).

Should I cold block or steam block my knitting? I am knitting a lace cowl and am blocking it for 2 reasons. 1 is to make the yarn overs more obvious. The other is to prevent the edge from rolling. I think I will sew using a 3 needle bind off after blocking. The 3 needle bind off will make all the stitches I knitted visible while at the same time, sewing the cowl. Of course, I could do Kitchener stitch to make it look seamless but it would also look like I had 1 row knitted on the horizontal and all the other rows knitted vertically which I am not sure I would want.

So anyway, should I cold block and wait for hours, or steam block and have it done quicker?

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I would try it on swatches to see what effect you like better.

Hi @Caters,
You could try a steam block first and see if that works. If your cowl still having issues with rolling, I would recommend a wet block. We have a blog post on wet felting that I think will help, the part on blocking is the second half of the post: How to Wet Block Your Knitting
Best of luck! :grinning:

There is no point in trying to block acrylic. It cannot absorb water. That is how blocking works – the water is absorbed INTO the fibres so re-arrange the structure. When it dries, it will be in the new structure and stay that way. Acrylic can’t do that.

Cold blocking does nothing. Why waste your time?

Using heat will destroy acrylic, so is fruitless. Why waste your time knitting something only to destroy it later? Are you a masochist? Just don’t do it. Better yet, why waste your time with acrylics anyway? Of what use can they be? Yes, cheap – but are you that cheap? Isn’t your knitting skills worth more than that?

There are others who share your view but there are also many fans of acrylic yarn. In addition there are some lovely acrylic yarns currently on the market: Caron’s Simply Soft, Cascade Pacific, Classic Elite Encore, Berroco Comfort to name a few. These are soft and easy to work with and the finished pieces look very nice. They’re not the old original acrylic yarns.

Outside of cost there are considerations of allergies to wool as well as specific requests from charities for acrylics.

I’ve found that steam works quite well for uncurling and blocking small acrylic pieces without materially altering the fabric.

Vaughn_De_Leath i am sorry to disagree with you regarding acyrlic yarn.
One i don’t feel it is a cheap yarn. I am highly allergic to wool and wool blends and there are currently some very nice acrylics and i do not consider myself as cheap when it comes to purchasing yarn… Everything that i have ever made has held up well. I have an 11 year dog who i knitted a sweater for when i first got him, i have washed it numerous time and the swester looks the same as the day i knitted it. I think that is pretty good for what you consider a cheap yarn. If you look later in thr day you will see a post from me, a picture of the newest dog sweater i have knitted then you can tell me if it looks cheap

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I hear you!

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It’s okay to have your own opinion, but lets be nice about it. I personally can’t wear wool and I do a lot of knitting for charities and babies so acrylics and acrylic blends are perfect. If you choose not to use it that’s fine.

Too much heat can change acrylic, but lightly steaming won’t hurt it. It doesn’t always block as well as wool or permanently, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to make our acrylic projects look nicer. I usually just toss in the washer and dryer and that is usually enough to even out stitches.


That is exactly what i do

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Earlier I stated that I wanted to share pictures of a dog sweater that I just finished. It was knitted in acrylic the same yarn that I used 11 years ago for a sweater I made him when I brought him home from North Shore.thumbnail (1)thumbnail (3)thumbnail (2)thumbnail


Too cute! It’s even got little arms on it!

Yes and he will not wear anything else.

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How adorable and what a sweet dog!

Thanks everyone he is the love of my life. He also has a buddy that lives with us he is a 6 year old kitty named peanut.

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