Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Learning to Crochet with Lace Weight Yarn: Part Two

This is the second part of my series on crocheting with lace weight yarn. Ultimately, the goal is to for you to be able to create those wonderful, gossamer creations for yourself. Since too many are easily intimidated, they never try.

The first part was about getting comfortable using smaller and smaller hooks. Here are the next steps.

Making lace requires the ability to manage your tension appropriately. This is where a lot of you get stuck since many of you are either all or mostly self taught.
• Lace weight yarn is a little harder to hang onto, so being able to figure out how to keep your yarn tension just right will help give you the right gauge.
• Lace doesn't require tight stitches when you use yarn rather than thread. But you don't want them too loose either.
• While your stitches don't need to be tight, you do want them to be regular. You want each stitch to look as much like the others as possible.

A lot of people struggle with tension, even with regular crochet projects, because they were never taught how to manage gauge with their hands. They only adjust it by changing the size of the hook. Here's what you can work on to help with that.

Look at how you hold your yarn while working. There is no correct way, only correct results. You should hold your yarn in a way that you are in total control of it and you can easily let the yarn slide through or stop it to create tension between your hand and the hook. If you're always too tight, you're going to have to figure out how to loosen up that yarn hand. Maybe fewer wraps, or just learning to relax and let it happen. If you're too loose, you need to learn how to lessen the slippage in your yarn hand. Maybe add a wrap of it around a finger.

Now take a look at how you use your hook. Yes, this is the other side of managing tension and your gauge. How much are you pulling on your working loop(s) to loosen them...or not pulling on them? With lace the key is to pull a little bit, just enough to let the hook through, but not so much to make a sloppy looking stitch.

Work on that for awhile and in my next post I'll talk about rhythm and tall stitches.