Monday, August 27, 2007

Question from Reader: Twisting for Lefties

I quietly read your blog every morning...thank you! I remember that you discussed the twist of yarn issue before and I've thought about this question since then, but have never found the answer. If one is a left handed crocheter would that change the effect of the twist on the yarn? If a righty is softening the a lefty tightening it? Maybe not, but I just spend so much of my direction reading reversing everything that I'm never quite certain when I come to something that I don't need to reverse.
Thanks for your help...and thank you for your faithfulness to blogging exclusively (well, almost exclusively!) about crochet.
All the best. Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Thank you ever-so-much for the compliments -- and for your faithful reading of my blog.  I'm also glad you like my near-exclusiveness of discussing crochet.  :)

 I think you bring up a great question from an entirely different perspective -- the lefties vs. the yarn twist: does it make a difference?  Not having the answer to your question readily at my finger tips, I decided to experiment.

I picked up a pink ball of Berrocco's "Suede Deluxe" and unraveled about 5 yards of fiber.  I placed a rubber band around the ball to prevent any more fiber from coming off.  Then I began crocheting with my left hand (Yes, I can crochet left handed too!)  I chained enough for a dozen double crochet stitches and continued until I had about 8" of fiber between the hook and the ball.

Now, before I continue on with my results, let me state why I picked Berrocco's "Suede Deluxe" and not a regular yarn that is twisted.  The quickest way to see the twisting factor in crochet is to use a flat yarn, such as the Suede, or any ribbon yarn you have on hand.  For this experiment, the Suede fitted the bill. 

Back to answering your question: If one is a left handed crocheter would that change the effect of the twist on the yarn? ... So there I was, with my crochet work in my left hand, 8" of fiber between it and the ball ready to be dangled in the air.  Which direction would the ball spin when I lifted my work up to allow the 8" of fiber to untwist from the act of my crocheting?  It spun clockwise.

I frogged my work (frogging is a fancy way of saying I ripped out my work), straightened the fiber out again, and this time crocheted with my right hand.  Same amount of fiber, same amount of stitches, same 8" of length left between the fabric I crocheted and the ball of Suede.  Which direction do you think the ball spun when I lifted it to allow the 8" of fiber to untwist?

It spun counter-clockwise!  This means, Lucy, that yes, indeed, it makes just as much of a difference of where you, the left-handed crocheters, pull yarn from as it makes to the righties!

Now, each time you crochet does it mean that you will pull from the same direction (inside vs. outside)?  No.  Because not all yarns are twisted the same (there is a difference between an "S" twist and a "Z" twist), nor are they all wound into skeins/balls the same.  This means that my advice from Friday still rings true -- regardless of which hand you hold your crochet hook in:  Yarn Ball WinderThe Proof is in the Swatching. 

If it's a "new to you" type of yarn, I strongly recommend you crochet two swatches: one drafting your yarn from the inside for one swatch, and another drafting the yarn from the outside.  Feel the difference.  Then go with the option that feels best to you.  You can even start a notebook, including the swatches, along with notes of what hook you used and which way you drafted your yarn (inside vs. outside)that you can reference at later dates.

If your swatching results state that your preference is to pull yarn from the outside of the skein/ball, but you don't like pulling your yarn from the outside  because it means chasing it all over the house, then you might be interested in getting yourself a new toy tool: a yarn ball winder!  I absolutely love mine and think everyone should have one! 

Thanks for writing in with the great question, Lucy, & happy swatching!


Anonymous said...

Dear Dee.
 I too read every one of your blogs and learn so much.  I am a left-handed crocheter and am one of your Stamford  Students.  I try as much as i can to use the yarn from inside the skein and i guess that i never realized that my project would be softer. WE learned this trick from you . I tend to be a tense crocheter so it is a very helpful thing to know.  I guess that i will add a Yarn ball winder to my Chanukah Want List.  Thanks for the experiment.  Looking forward to the Fall and a class or two with you
                 Shelley S

Anonymous said...

I also read you, regularly.  Thanks for all the great info. Thanks, also , for addressing this twist issue. You explained it so clearly that even now (9:30 PM) i understood it. LOL. I especially like the idea of keeping a journal about the different yarns. Since some people seem to know this twist info by memory, I realize how much I have yet to learn. You are a wonderful teacher!
Mary G. in NJ

Anonymous said...

Hi Dee,
As a left-handed crocheter I guess I've never really checked my work too closely.  I used to try and see what the differences were but I've decided that as a lefty I crochet on the wrong side instead of the right side.  I usually turn my work inside out, I don't know if that works but so far I haven't had any problems.