Sunday, September 6, 2009

Making Crocheted Bouclé

Higglety pigglety, this bouclé is bigglety!

The 33 yards of bulky and dense bouclé, shown in the last post, was made of the ingredients that you see in this photo. The curly part is made of 100 yards of a 2-ply handspun wool yarn that I made in the colorway like the yarn on the left, except it was drafted as a thinner yarn than the one in the photo. The binder yarn is a thin wool machine yarn put up on a cone. Some beads were added to the binder yarn just for fun.

Each loop (there are approximately 3½ loops per inch) was stitched in place by my own nimble fingers using a small steel crochet hook and basic crochet stitches.

If you do the math, you'll calculate that there are approximately 4,158 loops handstitched into this fine specimen that took 8-9 hours to create (including the spinning and plying of the original fiber, but not including the time it took to do the process discussed in the following paragraph).

Before the 2-ply yarn was put into a bouclé, it was knitted up as a hat that didn't come up to my standards. That yarn sat all done up as a hat for a month or so before I frogged it. (For those of you who are not knitters, frog is a term for unravelling or ripping apart a knitted item. The term is precise--ha ha!--because a frog says "Rip-it, rip-it!")

Here's a photo of hat undone:

Now, the rational thing to do at this point would have been to put this fiber back in a warm water bath, straightening it when wringing out the excess water, and then drying it with a weight attached to straighten it further. It could then be re-knit into something new.

Why do the rational thing when the crazy thing is so much fun? I saw all the lovely waves in that unravelled yarn and immediately thought, "Hells bells, I could crochet up some bouclé with that stuff!"

Had anyone ever crocheted bouclé before? Was it totally insane? How long would it take?

You can see that I was already obsessed and running down the path to massive time consumption for a hair-brained idea. But, this is what I saw in my head--a better hat with a bouclé brim having the texture of a Berber carpet.

So I sat down and started crocheting the binder yarn around the curly handspun 2-ply.

If you want to try this, go take an old sweater, unravel it, loosely put it on your swift and leave it there while you crochet it into some cool new stuff. Here's what you do: *Work a single crochet (sc) in the top of a little wave, work a chain stitch (ch); repeat from * for each and every little f*ing wave in your yarn. (Have fun with that! Good time to listen to some knitting podcasts or a book on tape.)

Next post I'll show you Bigglety Beanie in process.


inkberryblue said...

Wow! Your boucle yarn is beautiful! It must have been very time consuming to make. I love the colours, the texture and the beads. =>

Bri said...

OK I think you're totally nuts but the end result looks GREAT! And the colors are lovely together too. Nice work.