Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crocheting with Boucle'

Crocheting with Boucle (boo-clay), that I used to erroneously call Boo-sha-lay... LOL, can be really difficult.  It is nubby and fuzzy.  I affectionately call it "Poodle yarn" because it reminds me of the close clipped fur of a poodle.
The stitches and be really hard to see, even in simple sc.  Counting stitches is really difficult and making a stitch pattern is just a waste of time.  Much better to let the natural fuzzi-ness be showcased by the shape of the item you are making.  I was recently making a circle when it occurred to me that you might want to see how I navigate working with boucle.  This will also work for mohair and novelty yarns where the stitches are difficult to see.
I start with a bunch of stitch markers in at least 2 colors or 2 types. When working a circle, I generally place a marker in the first stitch of each round and move the marker to the first stitch of the next round as I get to it.  Above, in the green example, I used a different type of stitch marker to designate the first stitch so that I wouldn't confuse it with the other markers.  In the example on the right, I used a different color, the orange, to designate the first stitch.

When working a circle, or in many row patterns, there is a time when you will repeat a set of instructions, I place a marker at the first stitch of each repeat. Then you can easily count how many times you have repeated the instructions and you will know how many stitches need to be placed between stitch markers to help you keep proper count!

If you have to work a larger number of stitches of the same type, like 100 dc, I would place a stitch maker at every 10th stitch or so, or every 5 if I'm nervous I won't be able to keep my count.

With boucle I also rely heavily on the feel of the stitch feeling with my finger tips the "hole" of the stitch where the hook will go. Be gentle when ripping out stitches because you don't want to fray or shred the yarn as it un-knots.

For airy projects, it can be helpful to hold the project up to light or to a window during the day to illuminate the spaces and help see the pattern.  I did this for my Easy Winter Throw pattern.

While tedious, placing markers makes the project go more smoothly and avoids ripping, making the project go much more quickly.


Christine said...

Ellen: Thanks for talking about Boucle! I have some random balls of the stuff in my stash that I can't seem to ever get to. Maybe i'm shying away from it. Now I'v got some good hints for tackling a project with it.

finngarianknits said...

This is great because I was just given a gigantic ball of it for Christmas and was planning on doing some crochet with it!

crazymotheringchick said...

Oh, thanks for the tips. So helpful.

John Hablinski said...

The stars have definitely lined up in the cosmos for all these things to come together. First, I saw your interview on Knit and Crochet Today/Now Sunday on the Create Channel, and that put a face on the page I subscribe to, and so I thought cool. Next my nephew is about to have his first child, and I wanted to make something for the newborn. To that end I bought several balls of a pink boucle which I always called in my head Boo kul which sort of rimes with buckles. While working with the stuff last night I stopped and chastised myself and then looked up the pronunciation. That pretty much covers the second and third star. The fourth to line up is the fact I was trying to work with the stuff and found everything you described in your blog. I had a pattern in mind which started with chaining 112, and then went into just a “V” stitch. No problem right? Wrong! I found it near impossible to work into the chain. Silly me, and silly yarn company, I was trying to work using the hook size suggested on the package. I tore out the chain and did it again with a larger hook. Still no go. Finally I ended up making my chain with an “N” size hook. I still couldn’t see the stitches well enough to count and work the required “V” stitch. In desperation I very tediously worked SC across the chain. That helped further clarify the stitches in the yarn; I could feel the SCs as I went. I gave up on the “V” stitch and got out my copy of Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia and found a stitch that would work with my chain (2dc, ch, 2dc) across. That was something I could see and work with. The final star to align was your comments in the blog. We live and learn, se la vie. John