I bring this up because many of my students have at one time or another started a question by stating, "You may think this is a stupid question but ... " I've yet to think that. I like to point out, especially in a class, that the question is a good one and explain why because sometimes people are too shy to voice what's running through their minds. I'm not going to pass judgement on someone for asking a question; that would be so wrong! If the question was important for my student to ask it, then it wasn't stupid. I'm a firm believer that if we don't ask questions, we don't learn. And if we don't learn, what's the point, right?
So let me go ahead and answer the following email I received this morning:
I am a new crocheter and am happy you posted the 50 Top Things a crocheter should learn. I am stuck on #46. What is bearding?
Michelle, that's a great question!
Bearding is what the projectiles coming from our fibers is called. You may know the fibers for their various marketing names such as "eyelash" and "fur." The rule is that the thicker the bearding (ie fur) then the larger the hook and simpler the stitch for our projects. This helps to keep the fabric relaxed and give all those projectiles room to stretch out and be their beautiful selves.
You can experiment if you'd like. Take a very bearded fiber and crochet a small swatch using a "G" hook (say 13 stitches & 4 rows) using single crochet stitches. Then crochet up another swatch using a 'N' hook (same st count & row count) using a single crochet, chain one, (repeat) pattern. You should see a huge difference!
Fibers with sparse eyelashes can be treated the same as normal fibers but may get lost if you use them for textured stitches. The key here is to experiment until you find a look that YOU like! Thanks for writing in, Michelle! :)
"Stupid Question Day" indeed -- I wish they would change it to "Wonderment Question Day" instead! After all, where would crochet be today if someone never asked the question, "Gee, I have all this yarn stash and this funny stick with a hook at the end. What can I create if I put the two together?" ... see? NO question is stupid! Instead it's an opportunity to LEARN! ;)