When your lace is ﬁnished, it will be all wrinkled and ﬂoppy, and look nothing like the photo. Now it’s time for you to make your lace pop. Edgings and insertions, and shawls and large items like tablecloths just need to be damp before blocking. Some items will need a little starch to help them keep their deﬁnition while they beautify your décor over time. Others, like ornaments and baskets, will need to be very stiﬀ.
There are all sorts of products that you can buy for varying degrees of stiﬀness, and lots of fancy products for blocking, but we’ll just stick to the cheap and easy methods I know work well.
There are always two steps. First dampen your lace, then block it by pinning or ironing. I have put a list of products at the bottom to help you ﬁnd the stuﬀ you don’t already have.
Some items, like tablecloths and bedspreads, don’t require any stiﬀening, but will beneﬁt from dampening and ironing. I like to soak my lace in Eucalan no-rinse ﬁne wash, then roll the lace up in a towel, and then squeeze it out over the sink. Your lace will smell wonderful too!
The easiest way to add light stiﬀening to your crochet items is to use spray starch. It’s readily available in the laundry detergent area of any of your local grocery or drug stores. Lightly spray your piece and then press it using a warm iron on the wrong side, covered with another material in between your item and your iron. Or you can pin it in place and allow it to dry. If you choose to pin your pieces, make sure you use rust proof pins so you don’t stain on your ﬁnished crochet work.
Spray starch is perfect for household items and holds up under normal wear. It’s not permanent and after you wash your item then you’ll need to starch it again.
White Glue and Water
For snowﬂakes and 3D lace, use white glue and water mixed equally. Dip your crochet item into this mixture, squeeze out the excess, and pin.
After you dampen the piece using one of the methods above, pin or iron your lace into shape and let it dry. Just laying it out on a ﬂat surface is not enough.
Sometimes just a steam iron on the ironing board is enough: push the iron from the inside of the lace to the outside, using the weight of the iron to stretch and shape the lace. This is quick and easy, but your results may vary.
Items with points and corners need to be pinned. Use the top of your bed (covered with towels) for large pieces. It will take your lace a few hours to dry, so don’t do it just before bedtime. Or you can use a sheet of foam insulation from the hardware store. For medium-sized objects, a folding cardboard cutting board from the sewing department, or your ironing board will work (all should be covered with towels).
For snowﬂakes, baskets, bells and other 3D items, use a sturdy cardboard box lid turned upside down, and cover it in wax paper. You can also use your old macramé board that you’ve been saving, waiting for the craze to return. For shaped items, you can use anything that ﬁts the shape: bowls, cups, Styrofoam balls and other Styrofoam shapes, always covered in wax paper when you’re using glue. Put pins in at an angle, not straight up and down.
Make sure that any pins and anything else you use to keep the shape of your lace while it’s drying are rustproof. I like to use t-pins, which have large “handles” to make inserting and removing them easier. Blocking wires help with large items, and items with long straight edges.