Monday, March 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns (2KCBW)

Day One: 28th March. A Tale of Two Yarns.
Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.

When I first got back into crocheting, I didn't understand all the differences between yarns (aside from color and price). I knew that yarns with different thicknesses would affect the size of an object, so when substituting yarns, I would pick another in the same category (one worsted weight for another, for instance). But, all worsted weights are not equal. There's a small range of thicknesses within worsted, plus the fiber content can affect the drape and final look of an object. There are other factors, like spinning technique, that also has an impact, but I don't worry about that too much at this point.

I had picked up Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker book (which I highly recommend) and decided to make the Violet Beauregard skirt. The original pattern uses a cotton yarn. I decided to use Lion Brand Homespun, because I liked the softness and texture.

This was the first time I used LB Homespun and it was a little difficult to get started. The texture of this yarn made it hard to work consistently into the chain; it was tough to find the loops, since the yarn is a squiggly. But, I got into a groove and was able to work through the initial problems. Once I had a few rows established, it became much easier to work into the stitches.

After completing the skirt, I found that it was much heavier than expected. The weight of the skirt couldn't be properly supported by just the waistband. Bummer. I had spent a lot of time making it and now I couldn't wear it. It also would stretch a bit, so even if I cinched it very tight at my waist, I didn't trust that it would stay up. So, I frogged it.

I then tried making a different pattern from Happy Hooker with LB Homespun, FrouFrou. This worked out better for me. Because a sweater goes over your shoulders, instead of just hanging around your waist, the weight of the yarn was better supported and I didn't have to worry about it falling off (the sleeves help too. :) ). It's still grown a bit, but not as much as the skirt and having this sweater a little longer in the back works with this design. I also use LB Homespun for afghans and shawls. I think it's a great yarn, but no yarn will work for every project.

I did end up making a different skirt with different yarn. I reinyarnated an alpaca/wool/nylon/acrylic blend from a thift-store sweater. Using a bias technique I learned at a Lili Chin workshop, I designed my own skirt. It's warm, but not too heavy for a skirt.

Now, I have a much greater appreciation for the variations in yarn and how they can affect our finished objects and our satisfaction or frustration with them. Early on in a project, I stop and look at how the object drapes and hangs. I've also started swatching more than I used to. Swatching is really the best way to test run a pattern and yarn to make sure of having the right combination, before investing a ton of time and yarn.

1 comment:

  1. I know alot of crocheters, myself included, who have picked up Homespun early in their crochet career and found it to be a bear to work with! I can manage it better now with more experience and a bigger hook. Your skirt is lovely!