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Last 30 days Last 90 days. Before use, hanks are wound into balls in which the yarn emerges from the center, making crocheting easier by preventing the yarn from becoming easily tangled.
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The winding process may be performed by hand or done with a ballwinder and swift. A yarn's usefulness is judged by several factors, such as its loft its ability to trap air , its resilience elasticity under tension , its washability and colorfastness, its hand its feel, particularly softness vs. Other factors include allergenicity, speed of drying, resistance to chemicals, moths, and mildew, melting point and flammability, retention of static electricity, and the propensity to accept dyes. Desirable properties may vary for different projects, so there is no one "best" yarn.
Although crochet may be done with ribbons, metal wire or more exotic filaments, most yarns are made by spinning fibers. In spinning, the fibers are twisted so that the yarn resists breaking under tension; the twisting may be done in either direction, resulting in a Z-twist or S-twist yarn.
If the fibers are first aligned by combing them and the spinner uses a worsted type drafting method such as the short forward draw, the yarn is smoother and called a worsted ; by contrast, if the fibers are carded but not combed and the spinner uses a woolen drafting method such as the long backward draw, the yarn is fuzzier and called woolen-spun. The fibers making up a yarn may be continuous filament fibers such as silk and many synthetics, or they may be staples fibers of an average length, typically a few inches ; naturally filament fibers are sometimes cut up into staples before spinning.
The strength of the spun yarn against breaking is determined by the amount of twist, the length of the fibers and the thickness of the yarn. In general, yarns become stronger with more twist also called worst , longer fibers and thicker yarns more fibers ; for example, thinner yarns require more twist than do thicker yarns to resist breaking under tension. The thickness of the yarn may vary along its length; a slub is a much thicker section in which a mass of fibers is incorporated into the yarn.
The spun fibers are generally divided into animal fibers , plant and synthetic fibers. These fiber types are chemically different, corresponding to proteins , carbohydrates and synthetic polymers , respectively. Animal fibers include silk, but generally are long hairs of animals such as sheep wool , goat angora , or cashmere goat , rabbit angora , llama , alpaca , dog , cat , camel , yak , and muskox qiviut. Plants used for fibers include cotton , flax for linen , bamboo , ramie , hemp , jute , nettle , raffia , yucca , coconut husk, banana trees , soy and corn.
Rayon and acetate fibers are also produced from cellulose mainly derived from trees.
Common synthetic fibers include acrylics ,  polyesters such as dacron and ingeo , nylon and other polyamides, and olefins such as polypropylene. Of these types, wool is generally favored for crochet, chiefly owing to its superior elasticity , warmth and sometimes felting ; however, wool is generally less convenient to clean and some people are allergic to it. It is also common to blend different fibers in the yarn, e. Even within a type of fiber, there can be great variety in the length and thickness of the fibers; for example, Merino wool and Egyptian cotton are favored because they produce exceptionally long, thin fine fibers for their type.
A single spun yarn may be crochet as is, or braided or plied with another. In plying, two or more yarns are spun together, almost always in the opposite sense from which they were spun individually; for example, two Z-twist yarns are usually plied with an S-twist. The opposing twist relieves some of the yarns' tendency to curl up and produces a thicker, balanced yarn.
Plied yarns may themselves be plied together, producing cabled yarns or multi-stranded yarns. The single yarns may be dyed separately before plying, or afterwards to give the yarn a uniform look. The dyeing of yarns is a complex art. Yarns need not be dyed; or they may be dyed one color, or a great variety of colors. Dyeing may be done industrially, by hand or even hand-painted onto the yarn.
A great variety of synthetic dyes have been developed since the synthesis of indigo dye in the midth century; however, natural dyes are also possible, although they are generally less brilliant. The color-scheme of a yarn is sometimes called its colorway. Variegated yarns can produce interesting visual effects, such as diagonal stripes.
Crocheted fabric is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook though other methods, such as a magic ring or simple folding over of the yarn may be used , pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process to create a chain of a suitable length. The chain is either turned and worked in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in rounds. Rounds can also be created by working many stitches into a single loop.
Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain. At any one time at the end of a stitch, there is only one loop left on the hook. Tunisian crochet, however, draws all of the loops for an entire row onto a long hook before working them off one at a time. Like knitting, crochet can be worked either flat back and forth in rows or in the round in spirals, such as when making tubular pieces.
There are five main types of basic stitches the following description uses US crochet terminology which differs from the terminology used in the UK and Europe. While the horizontal distance covered by these basic stitches is the same, they differ in height and thickness. The more advanced stitches are often combinations of these basic stitches, or are made by inserting the hook into the work in unusual locations.
More advanced stitches include the shell stitch , V stitch , spike stitch , Afghan stitch , butterfly stitch , popcorn stitch , cluster stitch , and crocodile stitch. In the English-speaking crochet world, basic stitches have different names that vary by country. Crochet is traditionally worked off a written pattern in which stitches and placement are communicated using textual abbreviations .
To help counter confusion when reading patterns, a diagramming system using a standard international notation has come into use illustration, left. Another terminological difference is known as tension UK and gauge US. Individual crocheters work yarn with a loose or a tight hold and, if unmeasured, these differences can lead to significant size changes in finished garments that have the same number of stitches.
In order to control for this inconsistency, printed crochet instructions include a standard for the number of stitches across a standard swatch of fabric.
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An individual crocheter begins work by producing a test swatch and compensating for any discrepancy by changing to a smaller or larger hook. North Americans call this gauge , referring to the end result of these adjustments; British crocheters speak of tension , which refers to the crafter's grip on the yarn while producing stitches. One of the more obvious differences is that crochet uses one hook while much knitting uses two needles.
In most crochet, the artisan usually has only one live stitch on the hook with the exception being Tunisian crochet , while a knitter keeps an entire row of stitches active simultaneously. Dropped stitches, which can unravel a knitted fabric, rarely interfere with crochet work, due to a second structural difference between knitting and crochet.
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In knitting, each stitch is supported by the corresponding stitch in the row above and it supports the corresponding stitch in the row below, whereas crochet stitches are only supported by and support the stitches on either side of it. If a stitch in a finished crocheted item breaks, the stitches above and below remain intact, and because of the complex looping of each stitch, the stitches on either side are unlikely to come loose unless heavily stressed. Round or cylindrical patterns are simple to produce with a regular crochet hook, but cylindrical knitting requires either a set of circular needles or three to five special double-ended needles.
Many crocheted items are composed of individual motifs which are then joined together, either by sewing or crocheting, whereas knitting is usually composed of one fabric, such as entrelac. Freeform crochet is a technique that can create interesting shapes in three dimensions because new stitches can be made independently of previous stitches almost anywhere in the crocheted piece.
It is generally accomplished by building shapes or structural elements onto existing crocheted fabric at any place the crafter desires. Knitting can be accomplished by machine, while many crochet stitches can only be crafted by hand.
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