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Posted | by KnitIQ

Why use KnitIQ Blocking Mats for Crochet?

A little history of KnitIQ Blocking Mats

We know there are a lot of companies making blocking mats out there, but did you know that ours were the first ones that had grid lines on them? It all happened when Oliver, the founder of KnitIQ, met Amber in a bamboo hut café in Bali in 2014. Was it a love story? Not quite, but it was the beginning of KnitIQ Blocking Mats, which has become the world’s leading blocking brand since.

Because Amber came to Oliver with a problem. She was a passionate knitter and #yarndaddict, however, she couldn’t find the right surface to block her projects accurately and reliably. She bought puzzle play mats for kids from a supermarket in Bali, but they would bend and come apart easily. It was messy, and all her carefully crafted work didn’t get the finishing it needed.

When Amber met Oliver in a bamboo co-working café in Ubud, they started chatting and she said she wished there was such a thing as thick, sturdy foam mats with lines on them so that she could block her knitting projects properly. Oliver, being the innovator he is, instantly got excited about the idea and went to work.

After a good year of involving Amber and other knitters and crocheters for feedback and working with a factory to figure out how to print lines onto interlocking foam boards that can be assembled in any direction, they finally cracked the code and our knitting blocking mats with grids were born.

All KnitIQ products have been developed in the same fashion ever since: In close collaboration with you, the maker. And we honestly believe that care for our customers and attention to detail in quality and usability makes our products so much better than other blocking products for crochet and knitting out there. It’s a personal thing. Because, as makers, we care.

Of course we are biased, because we love what we do for all the reasons outlined above. If you would like to read other opinions, you can browse through thousands of independent Amazon reviews and find descriptions similar to Deborah’s:

I’ve tried many different blocking boards, mats, squares - you name it. I’ve used huge pieces of styrofoam covered with fabric, foam floor tiles... the list is endless. Some were flimsy. Some were super heavy & hard to move. Some just took up too much space. Some smelled so strongly of chemicals that I had to use them outdoors.

With Knit IQ I have finally found a solution to virtually every possible blocking dilemma:

1) They are thick enough that my t-pins don’t go all the way through (unless I really press hard)

2) The blocks are clearly marked with lines so I can space my lace tips evenly, line up seams, and keep pieces pinned out to dimensions easily,

3) I can configure the blocks to match the dimensions I need - no matter HOW large the knitted product!

4) The blocks come in neat zippered clear vinyl cases so they’re super easy to store - unlike a giant piece of styrofoam.

5) If I need to take them to a blocking demonstration - I just grab as many cases as I need and I’m set to go!

Today I blocked a lace wedding Chuppah - the canopy under which a Jewish couple is married. It’s 72” x 72”. It took all 4 of my Knit IQ blocking kits - but it was easy as pie! I easily configured the needed shape and pinned it out. Perfect!! If you need one perfect solution to blocking your knit or crochet these. Believe me when I say - I’ve tried them all and nothing works as well as Knit IQ. And just in case you’re thinking “she must have gotten them for free”. Wrong. I paid full price for 4 sets and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Blocking mats specifically made for crochet

You might have guessed by now how our KnitIQ Blocking Mats for Crochet came about: Through our community of makers of course. Our crochet friends loved our blocking mats with gridlines for granny squares, crochet tops and crochet blankets but were missing something to quickly and easily pin out accurate circles for lace doilies, crochet placemats, crochet flowers and other circular crochet ideas. Again, we worked together and came up with crochet blocking boards that have grids AND circles that radiate out from the middle 1 inch apart. These are now also available as a premium version in a sturdy cotton canvas bag a decorative artisan tin with 150 T-pins.

Doilies and other decorative crochet items can be quite small, and you don’t always want to assemble the whole lot if you really just need a few inches. This is why it comes in handy that the centre board of our crochet boards can block up to 6 inches in diameter. Here's another review:

Best board for blocking handmade doilies! Tiny pins to block go all the way through board. Board is "forgiving". Pieces interlock perfectly so all measuring squares are even. I needed one of these years ago. Highly recommend!

If you have been crocheting for a while, you will most likely have heard of blocking before and will instantly see the benefit of our crochet blocking boards. However, if you are new to crochet or blocking, we’re happy to give you a little intro here.

How to block your crochet doily

When blocking fine, delicate items that aren’t particularly heavy or chunky, you could choose spray blocking or steam blocking instead of wet blocking. Click on the links to find a guide for the respective method.

For simplicity, and because wet blocking is the most popular blocking method, we will guide you through the step-by-step wet blocking process for your crochet doily here:

  • Immerse your doily in hand-warm water until it’s fully soaked. You can choose to add a teaspoon of no-rinse shampoo such as KnitIQ No Rinse Delicate Wash to remove the grime accumulating during the making process or to add a clean and fresh smell.
  • Take the doily out of the water, squeeze it gently, wrap it in a cotton towel and press out the remaining moisture. Please refrain from wringing to protect the fibre structure of your yarn.
  • Assemble your KnitIQ Blocking Mats for Crochet.
  • Fix the centre of your doily to the centre of the radial circles by using one to four of the T-pins included in the pack. Then pull the top point of the doily to the half-diameter indicated in the crochet pattern and fix it with a T-pin.
  • Do the same at the bottom to get the full diameter, then pin out the left and right points so that you have 4 opposing corners stretched out evenly to the desired diameter. The radial circles on the blocking mats will help you get equal distances from the centre in each direction without the need of a measuring tape.
  • If your doily pattern is particularly detailed and needs more emphasis on its centre, you can start pinning from the centre out in increasing radial shapes until you end up pinning the edge. Here too, the radial circles on the mats help to get your inner circles even.
  • If you would like to stiffen your doily for better use as placemat or coaster, you can use starch spray.
  • Take your doily off when dry. Voilá, enjoy!

Doilies or other intricate lace patterns particularly benefit from blocking, because it makes their details pop tremendously. We can’t emphasise it enough. It’s a finishing technique that really makes all the difference to your crochet lace projects.

How to spray or steam block your crochet doily

The process of spray- and steam blocking isn’t much different to wet blocking. What’s different is that you omit the washing. You don’t soak the doily in water but pin it out dry on your mats. Only then do you either:

… spray your doily with water lightly and let dry, or…

… take a steamer or steam iron out and gently steam the surface of your doily, let cool and take off.

Note that when steaming you have to take particular care. Our blocking mats withstand hot steam, however, make sure that the iron doesn’t touch the surface of the blocking mats.

Also please make sure to not touch your garment with the iron either. If you have used acrylic yarns for your doily, the structure of the fibre might be altered irreversibly if too much heat is used on it directly. Natural fibre yarns are more forgiving, however, always make sure just to steam the surface and not touch it with your iron to prevent damage.  

If you ever have any questions about the blocking process, never hesitate to contact us, or browse through our blog section to find more useful tips on blocking and fibre care.