Tips for Working with Tough Hemp Yarns
Natural-colored plant fibers are all the rage in bags and home décor this summer. Luckily, we have a whole story of crochet projects in Interweave Crochet Summer 2018 that use these stunning fibers! While these fibers produce a fantastic finished project, they’re not quite as soft as the wools and cottons we’re used to sliding through our fingers. If working with hemp yarn and other plant fibers is a trend your dying to tackle, read on for expert tips from our designers from this issue!
Designer: Donna Childs
Project: Light of Day Tote
Fiber: HiKoo Woodi, distributed by Skacel (a cotton and abaca pulp blend)
Pat baby powder on your hands to help the fibers slip smoothly through your fingers.
Designer: Brenda K. B. Anderson
Project: Daybreak Espadrilles
Fiber: Hemp Traders Hemp Twine 1mm (100% hemp)
Because hemp twine has virtually no stretch, it can be very difficult to work into your stitches—especially if you are crocheting at a fairly tight gauge (as in the Daybreak Espadrilles pattern). To alleviate this problem, I often use a slightly smaller hook than I normally would to get the desired gauge and pull up on each stitch a bit more than usual to make my loops a bit looser. This makes it much easier to work into my stitches on the next row.
Using the right type of hook can also make things easier. I like a hook with a soft grip to protect my hands and a metal hook for sturdiness. The shape of the hook is also key—I find that some tapered hooks are great when I’m inserting them into my stitches but have a tendency to get caught when I’m pulling them back out through the loops. In-line hooks are great for pulling the hook back out through my stitches, but the hook head is fairly wide and can be difficult to insert into a tight stitch. The only way to know what works best for you is to try out different styles of hooks.
Another thing to keep in mind is to take frequent breaks to stretch your hands and wrists. It is easy to forget to do this while you’re working on your project, so it may help to set a timer to remind you to do some stretches.
Designer: Ashlyn Holmes
Project: Basking Crossbody Bag
Fiber: 23 Bees 22 lb Hemp Cord (100% organic hemp)
Some of these yarn types can be tricky to work with. For my crossbody bag in this issue, I picked a softer hemp yarn to work with and then starched it after I finished the piece to give it a sturdier feel. The softer hemp is easier on your hands while you work, and the starch is a good trick for making the final piece more structured.
To read more about the benefits of hemp yarn, check out our post on 5 Reasons to Use Hemp Yarn.
Were these tips helpful to you? Do you have any more to add? Let us know in the comments below, and happy stitching!
Editor, Interweave Crochet