How to Block Alpaca Yarn

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Alpaca yarn needs special care when blocking.
Alpaca yarn needs special care when blocking. (Image: alpaca llama image by Karen Hadley from Fotolia.com)

Alpaca yarn is an animal fiber, softer than wool, that is lightweight while holding in warmth, making it a suitable choice for cool weather items. Blocking allows you to straighten yarn projects without ironing, as ironing could damage the fibers. In general, to block you wet the item, then reshape it on a flat surface to the shape you want it to take when dry. Take special care when blocking Alpaca, because the fiber becomes weak when wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Foam or cardboard blocking board
  • Rust-proof straight pins
  • Clean spray bottle

Place your blocking board on a flat surface.

Lay your handcrafted piece on the blocking board.

Insert rust-proof straight pins along the edge of the yarn piece, straightening and pressing it flat with your hands as you go.

Fill the spray bottle with cold water.

Spray water on the yarn, working across the entire piece and checking that it is fully saturated and evenly wet.

Leave the board in a location where it will not be disturbed for several hours.

Unpin and remove the handcrafted item when completely dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Any sturdy surface into which you can press the straight pins will make a suitable blocking board. Cork, cardboard and Styrofoam could all work as blocking boards. Place a towel over the surface of the board to help absorb the water if you are using a material like cardboard that could be damaged by water.
  • You can find rust-proof straight pins, sometimes labeled nickel-plated brass or stainless steel, at most craft or sewing supply stores.
  • Do not rub the alpaca yarn while it is wet or it may start to felt.
  • Do not use straight pins that do not state they are rust-proof or you risk rust stains appearing on the yarn during the blocking process.
  • Nickel-plated steel pins are only rust resistant, not completely rust-proof.

References

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