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Crochet Netting vs. Lace

Here's exactly what kind of crochet inspiration happened since the last newsletter:

I had to go through my entire yarn stash because I'm renovating the room where my yarn is stored. Of course I rediscovered yarns that inspired me. One of them sparked a wildfire.

It's funny which yarn it was and why: one ball of Plymouth Obsession that I've had for about four years. It's insanely soft, but plenty of yarn is that soft. It also has a novelty hippie texture (looks frayed and faded like old jeans) and has mottled colors like a Monet painting. I held it and thought, "Why don't I crochet a simple filet scarf and get it over with already?"

I did that, and wondered, "Why is my fall-back filet?" (dc + ch-1 or ch-2 in each dc of each row). "Because I want it meshy, not solid." Then, "So why filet and not diagonal mesh (ch 5, sc in each ch-5 space of each row)? Or some other mesh, heck, a Tunisian mesh? And why in rows? Why not corner-start it or something?" 

These thoughts caused a whole net-crochet swatching fest over here. I have answers to my first questions, but they brought on more questions. Then I caught a cold (hayfever migraine?) and that put a damper on them. Before that happened, here's what I noticed:

I want a "net" on those rare occasions when I want lace without the lace. Usually I can't resist gussying-up a simple net, like the yellow bolero at right; but if the yarn has fancy colors or textures, a simple net is much better than a lace pattern.

Unlike true lacy-lace, net is a simple binary structure: all stitch spaces are the same, like a building-block grid. The space is either filled (solid) or empty (a hole).

Netted A Few Experiments

I experimented with offset rows, starting in one corner, and sprinkled in a few other stitches. Filet isn't the only crochet stitch pattern that is a binary building-block grid. There is the diagonal mesh (a.k.a. "fishnet") and a hexagonal-looking net, and simple-to-elaborate variations of these. I tried starting filet (left), fishnet (center), and hexagonal mesh (right) from one corner. A big advantage of fishnet is that it's normally much stretchier than filet; but when started in a corner, the filet has the most stretch at the edges.

I notice that I fall back on filet instead of diagonal mesh if I want to have the fewest choices to make before crocheting: I have filet on speed-dial in my memory bank. With fishnet, I often forget how I most like to set up the first row and start the next rows, because each row is offset. However, an advantage is that it lends itself to lovely shell patterns.
Here's a  Tunisian mesh swatch in a glossy blue bamboo yarn (above). I think I'd like it more if I used a thinner yarn. The white swatch at left is bamboo in slightly gussied-up offset filet.

Bamboo yarns and fancy nets are beautiful pairings for summer.

Abbrev's: ch=chain, dc=double crochet, sc=single crochet.
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
This Issue #19 is brought to you partly by My Favorite Link This Week, below.

My Favorite Link This Week
My friends designed squares for a crochet cable afghan pattern booklet. It's a group hug for our pal Pam Gillette who is surviving breast cancer. 100% of the pattern sales go to Pam:
Of the 23 of us who contributed, it could not have happened at all without: Tammy Hildebrand who coordinated, collected, and joined our squares, turning it into a magnificent gift for Pam. Doesn't it look fabulous on Pam's couch?! Susan Lowman did much preliminary editing, and award-winning tech editor Marty Miller did the final editing of the entire booklet. The beautiful photography and booklet design is by Amie Hirtes Bentley

DesigningVashti News
I love having plenty of news to report!
1. OK, finishing up about Pam's Comfort Cables afghan (linked above):
This is the square I contributed. It's called "Brighíd's Willow" because Pam loves Celtic cables, so the name has an Old Celtic healing theme. 

2. Doris Chan's deluxe Trellis pattern was released this week. I enjoyed what Doris blogged about it, so then I had to blog about what she blogged !

3. My new Petals Tunisian Lace Wrapper (large cowl) released yesterday at my site and in my Rav Store It has two fancy (but easy) beaded rows to accent a diagonal seam. The slight added weight gives pretty drape and a luxe feel. Haven't blogged its story yet, but it involves Starbucks and my local friend Colette....

4. Petals does make an appearance in "Tunisian Crochet Lace: New Habits." I recently blogged what I've discovered about crocheting and teaching Tunisian lace, compared to the more traditionally dense and solid Tunisian crochet. 

5. Remember the foundation stitch topic of this newsletter 2 weeks ago? An update: I polished up my photo tutorial with more details and some color-coding. This week, Doris has a new blog post about it (includes a link to another post she wrote on the topic back in March).

I leave you with a jewelry design that I tried in blues for an upcoming pattern,  "Cabochon Braid."
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