Sure, you can skip blocking for afghans and blankets, but blocking is an essential part of crochet, especially for clothing items and lace.
And to be honest, it wasn't the blocking per se that I objected to, it was the fact that I did not have any way to block. I live in a 110 year old farm house with hard wood floors. We live on an extremely tight budget and I couldn't justify the purchase of blocking paraphernalia that is available from craft / yarn / online stores. They were just too darned expensive. Sooooooo, I skipped the traditional forms of blocking and when a pattern really needed that extra step, I fudged. I would stretch and steam on an ironing board (which didn't lend itself very well to even blocking). Or I would enlist my 20-something son to grab an end while I gently pulled a damp piece to the best shape I could. (Sigh!)
But I've just completed a crocodile stitch shawl for my older sister's birthday and I must say, it really needed to be blocked. That is, dampened and pinned to a surface and allowed to air dry. How the heck could I do that?
Here are 2 of the foam blocks snapped together. Luckily, the underside doesn't have any pattern to it, so I flipped them upside down to avoid leaving ridges.
Actually, it became a moot point since I decided to cover the mat (the foam smells AWFUL) with a gridded flannel fabric I've been hanging on to for years.
So, I bought the foam pieces, snapped 4 of them together and put them on my cutting table, then wrapped the surface with the gridded flannel fabric, pinning the underside with safety pins.
Next, I took the shawl and a wash basin with cold water and Woolite. I gave the shawl a good soak, washed it a bit and then rolled it up in towels and squeezed as much water out as I could. Then it came time to try my new blocking setup.
Let me explain briefly -- when I completed the crocheting, the shawl (which I call the Calico Crocodile for its lovely colors) was 60" wide and 22" long. This was a little disappointing as I was hoping for a nice wide triangle to cover the shoulders and a long drape in the back.
In this photo, you can see the crocodile scales and the calico colors. As of this evening, the shawl is almost completely dry. In the morning, I will remove it from the blocking and add the fringe. Of course, I will then post the final image below.
Stay tuned . . .