August 2007 – Kill your acrylic!
First, some news…
You can find a couple of designs of mine in two new books: Vogue Knitting on the Go: Crocheted Shawls, which has already been released, and Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution, which will be available on October 14th.
The Crocheted Shawls book is a lovely little volume, packed with interesting and beautiful designs. If I had the time to crochet for pleasure alone, there are a lot of things I would like to make from this.
And I’m eagerly awaiting my author copy of the Crochet Me book – follow the link and click around a bit. I think you will get as excited as I am!
And now, on to the acrylic!
I’m not much of a yarn snob – if it looks pretty and feels nice, I like it. If I can buy nice yarn cheaply, I’m happy and proud.
There is very little 100% acrylic in my yarn stash, though. I don’t really like the touch of acrylic, and it’s often a bit stiff. However, I own one ball of Barisienne from Bergère de France. I bought it when I started crocheting again about six years ago (after a 20-year hiatus) and tried out almost everything available on the market to see if I could crochet with it.
Barisienne is a cheap yarn that comes in a lot of colours. When I bought it, I was hoping that the synthetic fiber would feel soft against my sensitive skin. It wasn’t the case, and so the lonely ball went to rest in my stash. Until the other day, when I pulled it out with the firm resolution to kill it.
Why so violent?
« Killing » a swatch or a crocheted fabric is actually less violent than it sounds. It refers to a very special treatment – ironing on high heat, especially fibers that should never, ever, be ironed that way. Of course, you can’t put your iron directly onto your acrylic yarn – it would melt. You would destroy not only your crocheted item, but also your iron. So when « killing » your acrylic, make sure there is always a cloth between your iron and your yarn.
I had read about this technique but never tried it. The time had come.
Time for action
Because right now I’m working on a flat, back-and-forth project, I decided to try out a motif in the round (from one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries). As usual, I selected a hook 1 mm bigger than the hook size indicated on the ball band.
My little motif worked up quickly, looking like this:
I pulled out my iron, set the heat on high and the steam on maximum. I carefully covered my crocheted motif with a cotton cloth and ironed away. The result was this:
You can see in the picture that the motif is much flatter, and that some stitch definition is lost. What you can’t see in the picture is how much softer and more drapey the sample is. Look how it falls over my hand:
It’s difficult to show… You’ll just have to believe me when I say that the difference is impressive. What effect could I get with a thinner yarn? A more open stitch pattern? Or a solid fabric? I will most certainly continue to experiment with this. What about you?
See you soon!