Cro­chet­ing With Self-Strip­ing Yarns

Crochet World - - CONTENTS - By Brenda Bourg

Self-strip­ing yarns are most of­ten those gor­geous, mul­ti­col­ored, cen­ter-pull cake skeins that are so pop­u­lar right now. There are sev­eral reg­u­larly shaped skeins or balls that have very long strip­ing as well. No mat­ter their shape, they are all ab­so­lutely ir­re­sistible! The first thing we need to know is that cake yarns in par­tic­u­lar are very long strip­ing yarns with col­ors that usu­ally don’t re­peat. If you want to make some­thing with re­peated stripes be sure to buy sev­eral cakes of the same color and/or dye lot all at one time. Bet­ter to have plenty of yarn than to run out! The stripes are ei­ther beau­ti­fully con­trast­ing, mes­mer­iz­ingly monochro­matic or de­light­fully com­ple­men­tary. Once you get them home, though, you might won­der, where do I even be­gin? What are the best stitches to use with self-strip­ing yarn? What are the best items to make to uti­lize all of these tan­ta­liz­ing col­ors? The strip­ing in cake yarns can change very abruptly, so plan­ning for your color changes will be im­por­tant if you have a par­tic­u­lar strip­ing al­ready in mind. The be­gin­ning of a new stripe of color is called a run. In or­der to make co­he­sive items such as gar­ments, we should be­gin each piece with the same color and at the be­gin­ning of the run. Do­ing this en­sures that all the strip­ing matches through­out our project. Each sleeve will have the same strip­ing as the body, and the front and back of the gar­ment will have stripes that seam beau­ti­fully. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? There are just a few tricks you will need to use to get them to match, along with start­ing with the same run. To make our gar­ment, we will need to work the front and back pieces each with their own skein mak­ing sure to pay at­ten­tion to the strip­ing—gauge can be a game changer here! We want to make sure we work ex­actly the same num­ber of rows per run. When we seam the body, the stripes should match per­fectly. Sleeves do re­quire a bit more thought and ends to weave in. They are usu­ally much thin­ner than the body of a gar­ment, so it’s im­por­tant to fac­tor that into how wide we want our stripes. If we want our stripes to match the height of the stripes of the body, we will need to work the same num­ber of rows in the run, cut the yarn at the end of the row, and then add the new color at the be­gin­ning of the next row. It does re­quire plan­ning and pay­ing at­ten­tion but the end re­sults are well worth it! Since many cake yarns do not usu­ally have color re­peats, you will need to buy a new cake for each part of your gar­ment. The good news is that you’ll have the same col­ors left over to make a whole new de­sign! We can use these left­overs or we can sep­a­rate a new skein’s col­ors for some re­ally fun projects! Once we have cut each run and rolled them into sep­a­rate balls there re­ally is no limit to what can be made! We have all the col­ors needed for a per­fectly co­or­di­nated mo­tif afghan or top. We can make match­ing striped mit­tens, mitts or slip­pers. Toys are al­ways a fun op­tion, es­pe­cially with the brighter col­ors! We could

even make sev­eral co­or­di­nat­ing man­dalas—all with dif­fer­ent color ro­ta­tions from just one skein of yarn. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are only lim­ited by our imag­i­na­tions! Afghans are re­ally stun­ning in self-strip­ing yarns. It’s all the fun with none of the stress over which col­ors to choose. If you pre­fer not to have a very no­tice­able color change right in the mid­dle of a row, a lit­tle math and a swatch might be needed. We be­gin our swatch by cro­chet­ing a few rows in the gauge our pat­tern in­di­cates. Count the num­ber of rows cro­cheted and write the num­ber down. Next, we will un­ravel our swatch and mea­sure how much yarn was used to make our swatch. We then di­vide that num­ber by the num­ber of rows we cro­cheted. This tells us how much yarn we need for each row. We can then mea­sure our runs and ad­just our gauge ac­cord­ingly. We can also ei­ther add stitches and make our afghan wider with thin­ner stripes, or we can sub­tract stitches from the pat­tern and make a thin­ner afghan with wider strip­ing. If you are a bit more ad­ven­tur­ous, why not just throw cau­tion to the wind? You could eas­ily cro­chet un­til you’re at the end of the fi­nal row of the run, cut the ex­tra yarn (leav­ing enough to weave in) and be­gin the next row with the new color. There’s no count­ing and each stripe is fear­less fun just wait­ing to see how many rows we can get out of a run. This is my pre­ferred method—I love to live on the wild side! Solid or tex­tured stitches re­ally show­case the love­li­ness of these yarns. The self-strip­ing does all the work for you. You can use lacy stitches, but you will find that the stitches start to com­pete with the yarn for at­ten­tion and can quickly be­come unattrac­tive. Solid or tex­tured stitches tend to be more har­mo­nious with strip­ing. The lengths of each run won’t al­ways be con­sis­tent de­pend­ing on brand and dye lot so we might need to oc­ca­sion­ally ad­just them re­gard­less of which stitch we choose. That said, the granny stitch works ab­so­lutely fan­tas­ti­cally with these yarns! The best and only way to know if your stitch is go­ing to work with strip­ing is to make that swatch. It’s pretty amaz­ing what those squares can teach us! The eas­i­est way to en­sure that your self-strip­ing yarn is go­ing to work with your project is to choose a pat­tern that al­ready fea­tures the self-strip­ing yarn you have cho­sen. A pat­tern de­signed in a solid color will look com­pletely dif­fer­ent in a self-strip­ing yarn. With so many new self-strip­ing pat­terns avail­able, why not go with one that al­ready has the work done for you? No mat­ter what method you use, make sure to have fun!

The Ale­gria Afghan pat­tern shown here is avail­able at An­niesCraftS­

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