Friday, January 21, 2005

VogueKnitting, er Crochet!

In the Winter 2004/2005 issue of VOGUEknitting I read with interest an article titled "wear and CARE." Afterwards I thought about it some more and decided it would be a good topic to bring up since most newbie crocheters may not have been exposed to this yet.

First, I think a look at the fiber content is important. With the strongest of urgings, I recommend that if you're going to crochet pot holders, you DON'T use acrylic. Acrylic will melt under high heat and offers the user no protection against getting burned. This is why many of the women in the pioneer days wore dresses made of wool. Should a spark from an open fire (remember, they didn't have stoves like we do today)! rise and hit their dress, the wool was dense enough to smolder giving plenty of time to douse the spark before the woman became engulfed in flames. Just keep in mind that acrylic should not be used for anything going near a heat source and all will be OK.

Getting back to the article, it discusses the need for knitters, and from this point on I'm going to say crocheters, to follow the washing instructions provided on the yarn/thread labels. This is because testing is done on the fibers (much like the clothes we buy in stores that have those little care tags sewn in). The tests indicate the best washing and drying instructions to offer a long life for your item. And lets face it, if we're putting hours upon hours into crocheting up a wonderful item, we don't want to ruin it by washing and drying it incorrectly! Just think about a wool sweater that accidentally made it into the dryer!! Yikes!!

If you're unsure of a particular fibers behavior in the wash/dry cycles -- be it machine or by hand, then I recommend that you crochet up several swatches. Put a hang tag on one and label it "control." Wash and dry the others and match it against the control swatch. Note the wear (pilling), the color, and the size. This will tell you a lot of what to expect when you work up your entire project and have it washed.

The article also discusses blocking. For those new to crocheting, blocking is used to help your creation lay flat, or take on it's proper form. The exception, the article notes, is yarn with long eyelashes (known as protrusions or projectiles coming from the core of the fiber) . For this they recommend that "you shake them to fluff." If you want to learn more, check out the magazine. If you can't find it at your local book store, check your local library.

Don't forget to check out the crochet hat and scarf they have featured on page 62, the ad on pg 47 -- that's one of the stores I teach at; and check out the rhinestone zippers too! BTW, it looks like the Spring issue will feature a crocheted handbag. Who says crochet isn't hot!??!  You know it is when it's included in a fashion knit magazine!!! :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm confused on blocking!  Is this, like, when instructions say to (after washing) "lay flat to dry"???  How big of a swatch do you recommend?  Would one want to do this for every skein of yarn or just every type by manufacturer?  Say I have 3 colors of Caron's Simply Soft, would I want swatches of each color even if the fiber content & ply are the same?  I'm glad you talked about this Dee.  Some of us don't think about this kind of thing and we take it for granted that colors won't run and pills won't form.  Thank you!!!  Sheila