How to Steam Block a Knitted or Crocheted Scarf (or Shawl)

peaks island hood knitted scarf pattern

by Chandi on June 5, 2013

I am a. HUGE. fan of blocking your finished items.

They can go from crumpled up blobs of weirdness to amazing, professional, eye-popping wowness, just by blocking.

I’ve done some posts before on how to block hats and how to wet block shawls, but today is about steam blocking!

It’s so simple. You’re gonna love it.

You can use this technique any time, but it’s especially great for those times when you’ve finished something and want to wear it immediately! That’s usually how it goes with me. HA!

I really love it for wool… it will work for most natural (animal or plant) fibers, but not synthetics, like acrylic. For info on fibers that will block, just read the post linked above on how to wet block shawls.

So. How to steam block if you don’t really need your item to be a specific shape; rather, you just wanna give it a wee bit of structure/shape and open up the stitching a bit:

1. Lay out your beautiful new item.

2. Plug in and turn on your iron (you’ll need one that steams)

3. Being super careful, stretch your item over your ironing board (I don’t have one… shows you how much I iron = never) or on your carpet like me, into the position you’d generally like it to be… then being sure not to blast your fingers (OUCH!), pump the steam button onto your item.

how to steam block a knitted scarf

4. Magically, you’ll see the fibers soften and loosen and begin to open up and stretch out.

5. Continue to shift, tug, pull gently here and there to loosen up the stitches and keep working your way down the scarf until you’re all done.

6. If you have points, or sections where you’d like a little more definition and you can’t hold them with your fingers or you’d burn yourself and end up in the emergency room, hurting and cold because you don’t have your finished scarf with you… then use a long pointy object, like, I dunno, a KNITTING NEEDLE or a CROCHET HOOK (HA ha!) and use that to poke around bits of your scarf. It works really great for the ends.

And done. TA DA! Model your gorgeous scarf.

peaks island hood knitted scarf pattern

Things to keep in mind when steam blocking. 

•You can pin your item out in any manner you choose and then steam block it. For pinning, though, I really prefer the wet method, so you can get a gooood streeetch.

•Don’t actually touch the item with your iron! Just hover the iron above your item, and blast with steam.

•You can use a steamer instead if you have one. Lucky you!

•It’ll feel a little bit like magic… it’s okay to be amazed.

 

So what is this scarf, what yarn is it and how do you make it?

Pattern: Peaks Island Hood by Ysolda Teague (one of my fav knitting designers)

Yarn: COFFEE AND CREAM Spectrum Wool (it takes 3 skeins but this colorway is now sold out for good.)  3 skeins of any of my current worsted weight yarns will do the trick instead.

Needle Size: Whatever the pattern recommended.

Difficulty: It was super easy… I’d say an established beginner could do it without issue. It had LOTS of seed stitch, which I love… but I have to say I got a wee bit bored making it. I literally had to force and bribe myself to get it finished and if it weren’t for you guys wanting to see it, it would probably still be stuffed somewhere, unfinished…and lay forgotten for the next 3 years. You saved it from a fate worse than death! Thank you!

Finishing: It needs buttons still. I don’t feel like sewing them on. So I’ll do it later. He he…  (that means it probably won’t get done).

finished object peaks island hood

peaks island hood scarf finished

peaks island hood finished object knitting

 

I wasn’t too sure I was in love with it until we took these photos and I felt like a 50’s gal. So yes, now, I love it. :D

Anyhoo… if you have any other suggestions on steam blocking, just let us all know below! Thank you and have a fabbbbbulous day, dahling.

Yours in yarny bliss…

~Chandi

About the author

Chandi Hi, I'm Chandi! I'm a self-professed lover of all things yarn. I'm an avid knitter, crocheter, wool dyer, fleece and roving spinner and occasional felter! I offer beautiful, inspiring, hand-painted yarns and deliver the best of all yarn-related tutorials I can on my blog.

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