Can Cotton Yarn Be Blocked?

Cotton yarn is one of the best ideas for creating garments, toys, or even decors, and the blocking makes the project more beautiful and worth having.

In this article, come along as you better understand what yarn blocking is, why it is necessary, and how to have a beautifully blocked cotton yarn with a step guide.


Can Cotton Yarn Be Blocked?

Yes, cotton yarn can be blocked. It is, however, essential that you block the cotton yarn, not just to get the exact size measurement or right shape but also eliminates any tension in the cotton yarn and get it to stretch; this is called the blocking process. Cotton yarn is a plant-based fiber that is sturdy, cheap, lightweight, breathable, and durable, with a water-absorbing and evaporating ability. It is best to create any item or garment worn in any season that feels itchy initially but tends to get more comfortable.


Why Do I Need To Block Cotton Yarn?

You must block a cotton yarn as it has no memory – it cannot return to its initial shape. After a project has been finished, you should block it to even out the stitches or seams, ensure the correct size, and make it neat. Cotton yarn is sturdy fiber and doesn’t stretch while in use, but the blocking process will make it much softer, stretchy, and in shape. It also gives you a pretty, neat lace and likely bigger finished work.


How Do I Block A Cotton Yarn?

Cotton yarn is a fiber that responds well to the blocking process, making the stress of blocking worth it. 

Two blocking methods are reliable in blocking a cotton yarn to give the perfect and beautiful project finishing. These methods are the Wet blocking method and Steam blocking method. They both have a step-by-step guide to get the project to shape, pattern and size, but there are a few tips to note before you start the blocking process.


Before Blocking, take note of the following tips:

  • Care label instructions: Ensure that you always and adequately check the yarn care instructions to know which blocking methods and temperature levels it will undergo. The wrong blocking method will damage the item. 
  • Try swatching: If you lose the care instructions label, it is best advised to try the swatching first to know the best blocking method the cotton yarn requires.
  • Weave the ball ends: you must weave in all the ends of the yarn ball before blocking to secure the yarn ends, make it stay in place, and prevent it from unraveling.
  • Make gauge swatches: checking the tension of the pattern and measuring the gauge before creating any item is essential.
  • Try not to scrub: when wet blocking, try not to scrub the item to avoid felting them.


Now, let’s look into the cotton yarn blocking processes:



This method involves water use. This method is divided into two forms – wash and spray blocking. The form preference is entirely based on the item size. 

  • Wash Blocking

Wash blocking is the immersion of an item into the water, especially large items.


Materials needed for wash blocking

  • A wash basin (big enough to hold the item)
  • Water (preferably use cold or lukewarm water)
  • Towel (You can use a batch towel or any other towel and in case the item is prone to bleeding, it is best to use an old but clean towel.)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Rust-proof pins (there are several types but ensure to get the ones that are roof-proof since you’re using water)
  • Blocking surface (a blocking board or mat is needed, but in cases of items that are larger than the board or mat, you can use blankets, mattresses, or other broad surfaces)
  • Wash (a non-rinse wash is optional, but they give good scents to the item)


Steps involved in wash blocking

Step 1: Soak the cotton item

In a bowl, add water to fill, then the non-rinse wash if you’re using and dip the item into it. After, carefully stir the item but do not scrub or rub. Allow to soak for about 10 minutes (this may depend on the care label instructions).

Step 2: Remove and drain

Once it is entirely soaked, gently remove and drain the water. Be careful while you remove it, so it doesn’t stretch. While draining, avoid twisting or applying pressure. 

Step 3: Towel dry

Lay the item on the towel, shape it into the desired form and ensure that the pressure applied is light to drain the excess water.

Step 4: Place on the blocking surface

Once you are done draining the water, gently place the item on the blocking surface. Carefully spread into the preferred shape or pattern design and pin to stay on the surface

Step 6: Allow drying

Now, leave the pinned item to dry on the surface. The drying time depends on the weather and how thick the item is, but it takes about one day. 

However, ensure that it is completely dried as the item might look ready, but the fiber core still be wet, and if the pin is removed before it gets dry, it likely shrinks and ruins the blocking aim.

Step 7: Remove the pins

When it’s about 24 hours later, the item should be well-blocked, and you can remove the pins.


  • Spray Blocking

Spray blocking is done by spraying the item with water (mostly done to block small items). It is the opposite of the wash-blocking method and requires more care as high heat could damage the piece.


Materials needed for spray blocking

  • A spray bottle
  • Measuring tape
  • Batch towel
  • Blocking surface (a blocking board or mat is needed)
  • Rust-proof pins (there are several types but ensure to get the ones that are roof-proof since you’re using water)


Steps involved in spray blocking

Step 1: Place the item on the blocking surface

Gently place the item on the blocking surface and stretch to preferred shape or pattern dimension.

Step 2: Pin down

After, use the rust-roof pins to hold the item down onto the blocking surface.

Step 3: Spray the item

You can now spray the item to get wet (make it soak well). 

Step 4: Leave to dry

Allow the sprayed item to dry properly. You can add more pins if the need arises and ensure to respray in case it doesn’t get well enough and allow it to dry completely.

Step 5: Remove the pins

After it has dried up and the item is well blocked, remove the pins.



Steam blocking involves steam or heat use. Here, you can use either an iron or a fabric or cloth steamer.


Materials needed for steam blocking

  • Ironing Surface (an ironing board is best to avoid damaging any surface with heat)
  • The steaming device (you can use an Iron or fabric steamer)
  • Cloth (if you have any of a press cloth, a towel or cotton cloth)
  • A spray bottle
  • Rust-proof pins
  • Measuring tape


Steps involved in steam blocking

Step 1: Lay the item

Place the item on the ironing surface with the opposite side surface and stretch into preferred shape or pattern dimension.

Step 2: Pin it down

Then, pin the item down to the surface and ensure it is adequately pinned.

Step 3: Cover the item

Over the item, place a wet cloth or towel (this helps to get the iron to steam).

Step 4: Stem the item

You can now press the item but ensure to have checked the care label instruction for the temperature level before pressing (it takes about 204oC or 400F). Then, gently place the iron or fabric steamer over the damp cloth and press to create steam. Continue doing this for a while, and keep re-wetting the cloth till you have a wet item that is in the desired shape. 

Step 5: Leave to dry

Once the desired dampness is achieved, remove the cloth over the item and allow it to dry.

Step 6: Remove the pins

Once it is completely dried, remove the pins, and the item is blocked.


However, it is excellent to know that these blocking processes also work for other yarn types (just a little tip).



The final method of a beautiful project is blocking. It defines the stitch pattern and allows the item to get into the desired shape and design. 

You can choose the preferred method of blocking for your project, and you’ve nothing to worry about, as the above techniques work best for any cotton yarn item or fabric. 

Cotton yarn is known to be cheap, sturdy, lightweight, breathable, and durable, and every wash makes it softer with no delicate laundering care. It is the best choice for all-season temperatures. Its ability to hold water makes it classified as absorbent, but it is, however, quick to shrink. Cotton yarn is an excellent choice for any decor.

Trust you got the best from this piece. You can share with friends, families, and neighbors too.

Happy Blocking, Happy Knitting!