27
Sep

The Big New Thing

And I do mean big!
DSCN4002

Getting into crochet has been a great spark for me. I love learning and trying new things and experimenting. I love to push my own boundaries, too – so when I kept seeing amazing images of arm-knitting and arm-crocheting, I needed to try it!

Basically, arm-knitting and crocheting is when the material you’re working with is so large that your arms become the needles or hook (or, if you’re really crafty, you make the tools yourself!). This larger-than-life technique isn’t new – it’s been a perennial favorite of installation artists who work with everything from fiberglass to 1,000 strands of yarn at once. But it is new to me.

I had a wad of plain Wool of the Andes roving sitting around, and on a whim I grabbed it, split it into two halves lengthwise, and tested what could be done with it as yarn. The sample didn’t look like much, but it was promising. So, in my typical go-big-or-go-home fashion, I ordered 20 hanks of Full Circle roving in quarry and set out to make…something!
DSCN4003

When you take something small and make it big, simple is the way to go. So, I figured that a really basic crocheted circle would be a good place to start. Density is important here too, because the roving will tend to want to fall apart a little. ‘Armed’ with my ideas and tools, I started to play.

I’ve done three rounds on this experiment so far: the first was double crochet, the second half-double, and the third single crochet. If you thought crochet eats regular yarn, I’ll have you know that in a 100-gram ball of roving, you can make exactly 8 double crochet stitches. I’ve already gone through five hanks in three rounds!DSCN4029

Going through the roving that quickly means attaching a new length every few stitches. Because Full Circle roving is so soft, it turns out the best way to attach new lengths is actually with a little knot. It basically blends in with the fabric, and makes a join that is less likely to fall apart. DSCN4000

Of course, I’m not the only one who is really enjoying this process. In fact, someone took this project over for me, leaving me to move on to something else.
DSCN4012

 

And I did! I’ve been looking up ways to make rag rugs out of my fabric scraps, and I wondered if it could work for a cushy wool rug as well. I grabbed a ball of Chroma Worsted in Supernova, and started working out what to do. I started with a Magic Circle, but if I was to do this again, I think I’d pick something else. That technique relies on your ability to pull the yarn tail and cinch up the hole, but that’s a no-go with roving!

DSCN4018

Incidentally, this photo is taken with my cat as a backdrop. He would not leave that roving rug!

It took a while to get used to the feeling of working with roving and hook – being sure not to snag the roving and trying to keep the stitches even. Several rounds in, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

DSCN4024

Though it’s definitely more time consuming, I’m really loving how the ‘rag rug’ feels. I bet it would be wonderful on a chilly morning!

DSCN4030

Overall, I’m really pleased with how this ‘experiment’ has turned out. And the best part is, I’m nowhere near done yet with either one, so there’s much more fun to be had here!

5 thoughts on “The Big New Thing

  1. This is a really neat idea! The binding of the roving with yarn creates an almost woven appearance, and I bet it’ll be WARM!

  2. I love the look of the rag rug! Also my kitties love all of my wool yarn, I can see why yours didn’t want to get off of the roving!

  3. Interesting. I’d try a rug like that if the fibers were cotton, but within a week it’d be infested if wool. We’re bug central with our hot moist climate.

    Over all, I think with the giant crochet and the roving trying to fall apart. What if you were to twist the roving first? And with eating it up what if you were to pull the roving apart in three strips and braid those, then crochet it? I’m thinking even two strips twisted like two singles plied would also work at keeping the fibers together better.

    Wrapping yarn around the roving has been around a long long time. It looks very much like irish crochet when it’s done around a cord, only giant sized. Which now has me wondering, how many irish crochet techniques could be translated into giant sized? Nothing delicate I’m sure, but I think you could get an IC rose, or leaf out of it. Definitely worth pondering over.

  4. Love the ideas you had…

    On the “rag rug” – is that just single crochet around the wool? or a different kind of stitch? Just wondering – would love to make a wool rag rug sometime. :)

  5. I have to admit when I started reading this post I was a little skeptical….but then I saw the pictures! These look really cool! And you were obviously making that rug for a kitty bed. ;-) Can’t wait to see the finished products. =)