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Spring-Loaded Stitches

You're reading issue #11 and the topic is fibers that 'sproing.'  Odd topic maybe, and I could get punny about Springtime (my peach trees are blossoming!) and the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (starting today!)....but I have a certain kind of crochet on the brain. If I knew of a better term than "sproing" I'd use it.

Some yarns cause crochet stitches, especially chains, to spring open wide and round like coils. I can't always tell a yarn is going to do this until I swatch it, because a yarn can feel soft, silky, drapy, stretchy or not, and still behave like a wiry spring. I used to think this defined alpaca, but some alpaca is the opposite--a few are so limp they actually deflate and collapse into the stitches if the gauge is too loose. Mohair does tend to be springy. Some

yarns become kinetic coils simply because they're overspun. And then there's JellyYarn(r), a vinyl filament with maximum bounce.

I loved this effect when I swatched a glossy alpaca-tencel yarn, and the result was the Chainmaille Cowl  Here's a close up of the stitches in this silky-but-sproingy yarn, and a closeup of the same stitch pattern in a limp cotton yarn: can you see the difference? (It's dramatic in person)

Enjoying the Sproing

I can offer some suggestions for playing with sproingy yarn:

1. Use it with a big hook to swatch some Tunisian stitches--something unexpected might happen!

2. Use it for Love Knots. I love the love knot stitch so much that nowadays I only bother swatching them if the yarn has sproing!

3. Jewelry: the extra strength and body of some smooth, sproingy yarns adds crisp style that stays new-looking with wear. Highly-twisted 6-ply 'cordonnet' thread has this; so do some of the finer hemp beading cords in bead shops. I blogged a bit about cordonnet here:

4. Jelly Yarn(r) transformations: A striking discovery happened with I slip stitched into the front loop only of a chain of Jelly Yarn(r). A simple drawstring cord flattened into a new fancy-looking double-layer strip. I don't know how to convey it in a photo but it's very cool. (This is from the Jellyfish Purse, published in 2008.)  Its sproing is essential for something like the Barbed Wire Belt:
and adds the drama to this tambour-embellished pillow: .

5. Swatch up a stitch pattern that's full of chain strands for a new look. (Yarn shown: Classic Elite Miracle)

That's it for now! If you know someone who would enjoy this kind of newsletter, please forward this to them so that they can subscribe. (Click here to subscribe: ) If you have any comments or suggestions, please email me. Thanks!      --Vashti
The Latest Sproing
I found the perfect project for a fascinating yarn in my stash: Wagtail Yarns Fine Kid Mohair 4 Ply. It's 100% mohair and not like any other mohair I've used. It's silky, shiny, and smooth. When I crochet it, it sproings and makes my stitches look unusual.

Naalbinding (see link below) popped up in forums this week. An odd thing happened when I viewed an online photo: instead of looking like fancy naalbinding to me, it looked like a familiar crochet shell pattern, made unfamiliar by a sproingy yarn and big hook. You can see my comment and a rebuttal here: (I don't know what to conclude. I'm no naalbinding expert and I've seen crochet stitches do this.)

More Alpaca Doin' the Sproing:

Misti Alpaca Handpaint Lace

Great Adirondack Yarn Co. Sierra

Links I Enjoyed This Week
A crochet designer friend, Annette Petavy, sent out a new issue of her newsletter and I like the visual aids she used to explain an important building block of crochet mastery: working into only one loop: front vs. back vs. THIRD loop of a stitch. This seems to be a neglected topic because I regularly receive private requests for clarification.

Thanks to the naalbinding discussions I've discovered Donna Kallner's site on "looping" .

DesigningVashti News
Yippee! THREE new crochet patterns released this week!

1. Fresh today: DJC Snow Day, a true mobius, lacy, warm & quick. This is Doris Chan's newest addition to her indie DJC pattern collection.

2. Alzannah Custom Convertible (Vest-Ruana-Wrap)

3. Pallas Scarf & 2 Variations

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