In 2000 Fabrican patented an instant, sprayable, non-woven fabric.
Developed through a collaboration between Imperial College London and the
Royal College of Art, Fabrican technology has captured the imagination of designers,
industry and the public around the world. The technology has been developed for use
in household, industrial, personal and healthcare, decorative and fashion applications
using aerosol cans or spray-guns, and will soon be found in
products available everywhere.
The original idea of spray-on fabric came from Manel Torres’
work in the fashion industry. These photos capture the essence
of science and fashion in collaboration. Fabrican spray-on fabric
will liberate designers to create new and unique garments, offer a
carrier technology for delivery of fragrance or even medical active
substances, and allow the wearer to personalise their wardrobe
in infinite combinations. New textures and material characteristics are
a matter of adjusting chemistry. In addition to fashion, the technology is
opening new vistas, offering sprayable material for any application requiring a
fabric coating. The technology opens new vistas for personalised fashion,
allowing individual touches to be added to manufactured garments, or even impromptu
alterations. Garments could incorporate fragrances, active substances,
or conductive materials to interface with information technolgy.
After a decade of research, this futuristic
vision is taking shape.
Fabrican is a rare achievement in transforming a dream to practical realisation.
Through combination of clever exploitation of people’s immediate fascination with
the spray-on fabric, and Manel’s extraordinary ability to motivate multi-disciplinary
collaboration, Fabrican has brought interest and worldwide
- 1995 – 1997 Manel Torres conceives the idea for Spray-on Fabric whilst studying for his MA in Fashion Women’s Wear, Royal College of Art, London.
- 1998 – 2001 Manel Torres obtains his PhD for Spray-on Fabric at the Royal College of Art and has a patent filed for this technology. During his PhD research, his work was supervised by Dr Susannah Handley (Royal College of Art) and Professor Paul Luckham (Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London).
- 2003 Manel Torres establishes Fabrican Ltd. with Professor Paul Luckham.
Aware of the slow process of constructing garments, Manel investigated novel ways to speed up this process. Manel’s foresight and vision led him to think of developing a material that would almost magically fit the body like a second skin and at the same time have the appearance of clothing.
The original concept was to utilise Spray-on Fabric in the fashion industry. However, the technology has the potential to revolutionise and enhance numerous market areas.
Fabrican is focused on the research and development of Spray-on Fabric which can then be used across a number of market sectors. Fabrican’s mission is to develop prototype products, in collaboration with leading industrial partners, leading to commercial exploitation by the partner.
Our technology can be used across many industries, positively impacting the lives of millions of people as well as the environment.
Fabrican Ltd. is a company exploiting inter-disciplinary research which links the subjects of science and design.
Our team is dedicated to meeting the needs of consumers with creative ideas and innovative products, through the development of new applications for Spray-on Fabric technology.
Our novel concepts are enlightening major worldwide manufacturers as to the huge potential which exists, through the successful branding of a product range.
Our underlying ethos is to produce concept products which are market leaders, through scientific research and development for future markets.
Fabrican in Action
In the science lab
On the Runway
Couture in a Can
I still can’t tell yet if it would be a good investment as a designer or a huge waste of money, time, & effort. LoL Who wears that out? Gaga? That’s it?!?
“About half my designs are controlled fantasy, 15 percent are total madness and the rest are bread-and-butter designs.”~Manolo Blahnik
These are all my sample pieces. If you need something made in a specific size. Feel free to e-mail us, even if we’re sold out of one style we are more than happy to replicate another piece in the same likeness.** The Picture will take you to our shop page.
Don’t do your homework off my blog. Shop!! Thanks!
**All pieces are handmade, therefore not guaranteeing the same product each time. **
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on
March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the
history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest
loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire
caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died
from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were
recent immigrant Jewish women aged sixteen to twenty-three.
Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the
managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from
the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved
factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union,
which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was
located in the Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building of Science, a New York University facility.
It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and
a New York City landmark.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory occupied the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors
of the Asch Building. Under the ownership of Max Blanck and Isaac Harris,
the factory produced women’s blouses, known as “shirtwaists.” The factory normally
employed about 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women, who worked nine
hours a day on weekdays plus seven hours on Saturdays.
On the afternoon of Saturday, March 25, 1911, as the workday was ending, a fire
flared up in a scrap bin under one of the cutters’ tables on the eighth floor.Both owners of the
factory were in attendance and had invited their children to the factory on that afternoon.
The Fire Marshal concluded that the likely cause of the fire was the disposal of an
unextinguished match or cigarette butt in the scrap bin. Although smoking was banned in the
factory, cutters were known to sneak cigarettes, exhaling the smoke through their lapels
to avoid detection. A New York Times article suggested that the fire may have been
started by the engines running the sewing machines, while The Insurance Monitor, a leading
industry journal, suggested that the epidemic of fires among shirtwaist manufacturers
was “fairly saturated with moral hazard.” No one suggested arson.
A bookkeeper on the eighth floor was able to warn employees on the
tenth floor via telephone, but there was no audible alarm and no way
to contact staff on the ninth floor. According to survivor
Yetta Lubitz, the first warning of the fire on the ninth
floor arrived at the same time as the fire itself.
The floor had a number of exits – two freight elevators, a
fire escape, and stairways down to Greene Street and
Washington Square – but flames prevented workers from
descending the Greene Street stairway and the door to the Washington Square
stairway was locked to prevent theft and the foreman who held the
key had escaped by another route.
Dozens of employees escaped the fire by going up the Greene Street
stairway to the roof. Other survivors were able to jam themselves into the elevators
while they continued to operate. Within three minutes, the Greene Street stairway
became unusable in both directions. Terrified employees crowded
onto the single exterior fire escape, a flimsy and poorly-anchored iron structure
which may have been broken before the fire. It soon twisted and collapsed from the
heat and overload, spilling victims to their deaths onto the concrete pavement
nearly a hundred feet below. Elevator operators Joseph Zito
and Gaspar Mortillalo saved many lives by traveling three times up
to the ninth floor for passengers, but Mortillalo was eventually forced
to give up when the rails of his elevator buckled under the heat. Some victims pried
the elevator doors open and jumped down the empty shaft. The weight of these
bodies made it impossible for Zito to make another attempt.
As a large crowd of bystanders gathered on the street, sixty-two people
died by jumping or falling from the ninth floor. Louis Waldman, later a
New York Socialist state assemblyman, described the scene years later:
One Saturday afternoon in March of that year — March 25, to be precise — I was sitting at one of the reading tables in the old Astor Library… It was a raw, unpleasant day and the comfortable reading room seemed a delightful place to spend the remaining few hours until the library closed. I was deeply engrossed in my book when I became aware of fire engines racing past the building. By this time I was sufficiently Americanized to be fascinated by the sound of fire engines. Along with several others in the library, I ran out to see what was happening, and followed crowds of people to the scene of the fire. A few blocks away, the Asch Building at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street was ablaze. When we arrived at the scene, the police had thrown up a cordon around the area and the firemen were helplessly fighting the blaze. The eighth, ninth, and tenth stories of the building were now an enormous roaring cornice of flames.
Word had spread through the East Side, by some magic of terror, that the plant of the Triangle Waist Company was on fire and that several hundred workers were trapped. Horrified and helpless, the crowds — I among them — looked up at the burning building, saw girl after girl appear at the reddened windows, pause for a terrified moment, and then leap to the pavement below, to land as mangled, bloody pulp. This went on for what seemed a ghastly eternity. Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies.
The emotions of the crowd were indescribable. Women were hysterical, scores fainted; men wept as, in paroxysms of frenzy, they hurled themselves against the police lines.
The remainder waited until smoke and fire overcame them. The fire
department arrived quickly but was unable to stop the flames,
as there were no ladders available that could reach beyond
the sixth floor. The fallen bodies and falling victims also
made it difficult for the fire department
to reach the building. Bodies of the
victims being placed in coffins
on the sidewalk.
Although early references of the death toll ranged from 141 to 148, almost all modern
references agree that 146 people died as a result of the fire. Six victims remained
unidentified until 2011. Most victims died of burns, asphyxiation,
blunt impact injuries, or a combination of the three. Almost thirty
of the victims were men. The first person to jump was a man, and another man
was seen kissing a young woman at the window before they
both jumped to their deaths.
Twenty-two victims of the fire were buried by the
Hebrew Free Burial Association in a special section at Mount
Richmond Cemetery. In some instances, their tombstones refer to the fire.
Another six victims were buried in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in
Brooklyn. Originally interred elsewhere on the grounds, their
remains now lie underneath a monument to the tragedy,
a large marble slab featuring a kneeling woman.
Six of those victims were identified in February 2011.
The company’s owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, had fled to the building’s roof
when the fire began and survived. They were later put on trial, at which Max Steuer, counsel for
the defendants, managed to destroy the credibility of one of the survivors, Kate Alterman,
by asking her to repeat her testimony a number of times — which she did without altering
key phrases that Steuer believed were perfected before trial. Steuer argued to the jury that
Alterman and probably other witnesses had memorized their statements and might even
have been told what to say by the prosecutors. The defense also stressed that the
prosecution had failed to prove that the owners knew the exit doors were locked at the
time in question. The jury acquitted the owners. However, they lost a subsequent
civil suit in 1913 and plaintiffs won compensation in the amount of $75 per
deceased victim. The insurance company paid Blanck and Harris about
$60,000 more than the reported losses, or about $400 per casualty. In 1913, Blanck
was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory
during working hours. He was fined $20.
- American Experience: Triangle Fire (2011), documentary produced and directed by Jamila Wignot, narrated by Michael Murphy
- The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal (1979), directed by Mel Stuart, produced by Mel Brez and Ethel Brez
- Those Who Know Don’t Tell: The Ongoing Battle for Workers’ Health (1990), produced by Abby Ginzberg, narrated by Studs Terkel
- With These Hands (1950), directed by Jack Arnold
“Today, fashion is really about sensuality—how a woman feels on the inside. In the ’80s women used suits with exaggerated shoulders and waists to make a strong impression. Women are now more comfortable with themselves and their bodies—they no longer feel the need to hide behind their clothes.”~Donna Karan
Silk is a natural protein fibre, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre, which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles, thus producing different colors.
Silks are produced by several other insects, but only the silk of moth caterpillars has been used for textile manufacturing. There has been some research into other silks, which differ at the molecular level. Silks are mainly produced by the larvae of insects undergoing complete metamorphosis, but also by some adult insects such as webspinners. Silk production is especially common in the Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants), and is sometimes used in nest construction. Other types of arthropod produce silk, most notably various arachnids such as spiders (spider silk).
A variety of wild silks, produced by caterpillars other than the
mulberry silkworm have been known and used in China, South Asia,
and Europe since ancient times. However, the scale of production
was always far smaller than that of cultivated silks. They differ
from the domesticated varieties in color and texture, and cocoons
gathered in the wild usually have been damaged by the emerging moth
before the cocoons are gathered, so the silk thread that makes up the cocoon
has been torn into shorter lengths. Commercially reared silkworm pupae are
killed by dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge, or by
piercing them with a needle, allowing the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one
continuous thread. This permits a much stronger cloth to be woven from
the silk. Wild silks also tend to be more difficult to dye
than silk from the cultivated silkworm.
Silk fabric was first developed in ancient China, with some of the earliest examples
found as early as 3500 BC. Legend gives credit for developing silk to a Chinese empress,
Lei Zu (Hsi-Ling-Shih, Lei-Tzu). Silks were originally reserved for the Kings of China for their own use
and gifts to others, but spread gradually through Chinese culture and trade both geographically
and socially, and then to many regions of Asia. Silk rapidly became a popular luxury fabric in the
many areas accessible to Chinese merchants because of its texture and luster. Silk was in
great demand, and became a staple of pre-industrial international trade. In July 2007, archeologists
discovered intricately woven and dyed silk textiles in a tomb in Jiangxi province, dated to
the Eastern Zhou Dynasty roughly 2,500 years ago. Although historians have suspected a
long history of a formative textile industry in ancient China, this find of silk textiles
employing “complicated techniques” of weaving and dyeing provides direct
and concrete evidence for silks dating before the Mawangdui-discovery and other
silks dating to the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).
The first evidence of the silk trade is the finding of silk in the
hair of an Egyptian mummy of the 21st dynasty, c.1070 BC. Ultimately
the silk trade reached as far as the Indian subcontinent,
the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. This trade
was so extensive that the major set of trade routes
between Europe and Asia has become known as
the Silk Road. The highest development
was in China.
The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain
the Chinese monopoly. Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea around 200 BC, about
the first half of the 1st century AD had reached ancient Khotan, and by AD 300
the practice had been established in India.
Silk is produced, year round, in Thailand by two types of silkworms,
the cultured Bombycidae and wild Saturniidae. Most production
is after the rice harvest in the southern and northeast parts
of the country. Women traditionally weave silk on hand looms,
and pass the skill on to their daughters as weaving is considered
to be a sign of maturity and eligibility for marriage.
Thai silk textiles often use complicated patterns in various
colours and styles. Most regions of Thailand have their own
typical silks. A single thread filament is too thin to use on its
own so women combine many threads to produce a thicker,
usable fibre. They do this by hand-reeling the threads
onto a wooden spindle to produce a uniform strand of
raw silk. The process takes around 40 hours to
produce a half kilogram of Thai silk.
Many local operations use a reeling machine for this task, but some silk threads
are still hand-reeled. The difference is that hand-reeled threads produce three grades of silk: two
fine grades that are ideal for lightweight fabrics, and a thick
grade for heavier material. The silk fabric is soaked in extremely cold water and bleached
before dyeing to remove the natural yellow coloring of Thai silk yarn. To do this, skeins
of silk thread are immersed in large tubs of hydrogen peroxide. Once washed and dried,
the silk is woven on a traditional hand operated loom.[
Silk, known as “Paat” in Eastern India, Pattu in southern parts of India
and Resham in Hindi/Urdu, has a long history in India. Recent
archaeological discoveries in Harappa and Chanhu-daro suggest
that sericulture, employing wild silk threads from native silkworm
species, existed in South Asia during the time of the
Indus Valley Civilization, roughly contemporaneous
with the earliest known silk use in China. Silk is widely
produced today. India is the second largest producer of silk
after China. A majority of the silk in India is produced in Karnataka
State, particularly in Mysore and the North Bangalore regions of
Muddenahalli, Kanivenarayanapura, and Doddaballapur.
India is also the largest consumer of silk in the world. The
tradition of wearing silk sarees in marriages by the brides
is followed in southern parts of India. Silk is worn by people as a symbol
of royalty while attending functions and during festivals. Historically silk
was used by the upper classes, while cotton was used by the poorer classes.
Today silk is mainly produced in Bhoodhan Pochampally (also known as Silk City),
Kanchipuram, Dharmavaram, Mysore, etc. in South India and Banaras in the
North for manufacturing garments and sarees. “Murshidabad silk”, famous from
historical times, is mainly produced in Malda and Murshidabad district of West
Bengal and woven with hand looms in Birbhum
and Murshidabad district.
Another place famous for production of silk is Bhagalpur. The silk from Pochampally
is particularly well-known for its classic designs and enduring quality. The silk is
traditionally hand-woven and hand-dyed and usually also has silver threads woven into
the cloth. Most of this silk is used to make sarees. The sarees usually are very expensive and
vibrant in color. Garments made from silk form an integral part of Indian weddings and other
celebrations. In the northeastern state of Assam, three different types of silk are produced,
collectively called Assam silk: Muga, Eri and Pat silk. Muga, the golden silk, and Eri are
produced by silkworms that are native only to Assam. The heritage of silk rearing
and weaving is very old and continues today especially with the production of Muga and
Pat riha and mekhela chador, the three-piece silk sarees woven with traditional motifs.
Mysore Silk Sarees, which are known for their soft texture,
last many years if carefully maintained.
In the Odyssey, 19.233, when Odysseus, while pretending to be someone
else, is questioned by Penelope about her husband’s clothing, he says
that he wore a shirt “gleaming like the skin of a dried onion” (varies with
translations, literal translation here) which could refer to the
lustrous quality of silk fabric. The Roman Empire knew of and traded
in silk. During the reign of emperor Tiberius, sumptuary laws were passed
that forbade men from wearing silk garments, but these proved ineffectual. Despite the
popularity of silk, the secret of silk-making only reached Europe around AD 550,
via the Byzantine Empire. Legend has it that monks working for the emperor
Justinian I smuggled silkworm eggs to Constantinople in hollow canes from
China. All top-quality looms and weavers were located inside the
Palace complex in Constantinople and the cloth produced was used
in imperial robes or in diplomacy, as gifts to foreign dignitaries.
The remainder was sold at very high prices.
Silk emitted by the silkworm consists of two main proteins, sericin and fibroin, fibroin
being the structural center of the silk, and serecin being the sticky material surrounding it.
Fibroin is made up of the amino acids Gly-Ser-Gly-Ala-Gly-Ala and forms
beta pleated sheets. Hydrogen bonds form between chains, and side chains form above
and below the plane of the hydrogen bond network. The high proportion
(50%) of glycine, which is a small amino acid, allows tight packing and the
fibers are strong and resistant to breaking. The tensile strength is due to the many
interseeded hydrogen bonds, and when stretched the force is applied to these
numerous bonds and they do not break. Silk is resistant to most mineral acids, except
for sulfuric acid, which dissolves it.
It is yellowed by perspiration.
Silk’s absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm
weather and while active. Its low conductivity keeps
warm air close to the skin during cold weather. It is often
used for clothing such as shirts, ties, blouses, formal dresses,
high fashion clothes, lingerie, pyjamas, robes, dress suits,
sun dresses and kimonos. Silk’s attractive luster and drape
makes it suitable for many furnishing applications. It is
used for upholstery, wall coverings, window treatments
(if blended with another fiber), rugs, bedding and wall hangings.
While on the decline now, due to artificial fibers, silk has had many industrial
and commercial uses; parachutes, bicycle tires, comforter filling and artillery
gunpowder bags. A special manufacturing process removes the outer
irritant sericin coating of the silk, which makes it suitable as non-absorbable
surgical sutures. This process has also recently led to the
introduction of specialist silk underclothing for children and adults
with eczema where it can significantly
Silk moths lay eggs on specially prepared paper. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars
(silkworms) are fed fresh mulberry leaves. After about 35 days and 4 moltings, the caterpillars
are 10,000 times heavier than when hatched and are ready to begin spinning a cocoon.
A straw frame is placed over the tray of caterpillars, and each caterpillar begins spinning a
cocoon by moving its head in a “figure 8” pattern. Two glands produce liquid silk and force
it through openings in the head called spinnerets. Liquid silk is coated in sericin, a water-soluble
protective gum, and solidifies on contact with the air. Within 2–3 days, the
caterpillar spins about 1 mile of filament and is completely encased in a cocoon.
The silk farmers then kill most caterpillars by heat, leaving some to
metamorphose into moths to breed the next generation of caterpillars.
Harvested cocoons are then soaked in boiling water to soften the sericin
holding the silk fibers together in a cocoon shape. The fibers are then
unwound to produce a continuous thread. Since a single thread is too fine and
fragile for commercial use, anywhere from three to ten
strands are spun together to form
a single thread of silk.
As the process of harvesting the silk from the cocoon kills the
larvae, sericulture has been criticized in the early 21st century by
animal rights activists, especially since artificial silks are available.
Mohandas Gandhi was also critical of silk production based on the Ahimsa
philosophy “not to hurt any living thing.” This led to Gandhi’s promotion
of cotton spinning machines, an example of which can be seen at
the Gandhi Institute. He also promoted Ahimsa silk, wild silk
made from the cocoons of wild and semi-wild silk moths.
Ahimsa silk is promoted in parts of Southern India for those
who prefer not to wear silk produced by
Crochet (pronounced /kroʊˈʃeɪ/) is a process of creating fabric from yarn using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the French word “crochet”, meaning hook. Crocheting, similar to knitting, consists of pulling loops of yarn through other loops. Crochet differs from knitting in that only one loop is active at one time (the sole exception being Tunisian crochet), and that a single crochet hook is used instead of two knitting needles.
Lis Paludan theorizes that crochet evolved from traditional practices
in Arabia, South America, or China, but there is no decisive evidence of the
craft being performed before its popularity in Europe during the 19th century
The earliest written reference to crochet refers to shepherd’s knitting from
The Memoirs of a Highland Lady by Elizabeth Grant in the 19th century.
The first published crochet patterns appeared in the Dutch magazine Pénélopé in
1824. Other indicators that crochet was new in the 19th century include the
1847 publication A Winter’s Gift, which provides detailed instructions for
performing crochet stitches, although it presumes that readers
understand the basics of other needlecrafts. Early references to
the craft in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1846 and 1847
refer to crotchet before the
Knit and knotted textiles survive from very early periods,
but there are no surviving samples of crocheted fabric in
any ethnological collection, or archeological source prior to
1800. These writers point to the tambour hooks used in
tambour embroidery in France in the 18th century, and
contend that the hooking of loops through fine fabric in tambour
work evolved into “crochet in the air.” Most samples of early work
claimed to be crochet turn out to actually be samples of nålebinding.
Donna Kooler identifies a problem with the tambour hypothesis:
period tambour hooks that survive in modern collections cannot
produce crochet because the integral wing nut necessary for tambour
work interferes with attempts at crochet. Kooler proposes that early
industrialization is key to the development of crochet. Machine spun
cotton thread became widely available and inexpensive in Europe and
North America after the invention of the cotton gin and the spinning jenny,
displacing hand spun linen for many uses. Crochet technique consumes
more thread than comparable textile production methods
and cotton is well suited to crochet.
Early crochet hooks ranged from primitive bent needles in a
cork handle, used by poor Irish lace workers, to expensively crafted
silver, brass, steel, ivory and bone hooks set into a variety of handles, some of which
were better designed to show off a lady’s hands than they were to work with thread.
By the early 1840s, instructions for crochet were being published
in England, particularly by Eleanor Riego de la Blanchardiere and Frances Lambert.
These early patterns called for cotton and linen thread for lace,
and wool yarn for clothing,
often in vivid color combinations.
In the 19th century, as Ireland was facing the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849),
crochet lace work was introduced as a form of famine relief (the production of crocheted
lace being an alternative way of making money for impoverished Irish workers).
Mademoiselle Riego de la Blanchardiere is generally credited with the
invention of Irish Crochet, publishing the first book of patterns in 1846.
Irish lace became popular in Europe and America, and was
made in quantity until the first World War.
Fashions in crochet changed with the end of the Victorian era in the 1890s.
Crocheted laces in the new Edwardian era, peaking between 1910 and 1920, became
even more elaborate in texture and complicated stitching.The strong Victorian
colours disappeared, though, and new publications called for white or pale threads,
except for fancy purses, which were often crocheted of brightly colored silk
and elaborately beaded. After World War I, far fewer crochet patterns were published,
and most of them were simplified versions of the early 20th century patterns.
After World War II, from the late 40s until the early 60s, there was a resurgence in
interest in home crafts, particularly in the United States, with many new
and imaginative crochet designs published for colorful doilies, potholders,
and other home items, along with updates of earlier publications. These patterns
called for thicker threads and yarns than in earlier patterns and included
wonderful variegated colors. The craft remained primarily a homemaker’s art
until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the new generation picked up on crochet
and popularized granny squares, a motif worked in the round and incorporating
bright colors. Although crochet underwent a subsequent decline in popularity,
the early 21st century has seen a revival of interest in handcrafts and DIY, as well
as great strides in improvement of the quality and varieties of yarn. There are many
more new pattern books with modern patterns being printed, and most yarn
stores now offer crochet lessons in addition to the traditional knitting lessons.
Filet crochet, Tunisian crochet, broomstick lace, hairpin lace, cro-hooking, and
Irish crochet are all variants of the basic crochet method.
Crochet patterns have an underlying mathematical
structure and have been used to illustrate shapes
in hyperbolic geometry that are difficult to reproduce
using other media or are difficult to understand
when viewed two-dimensionally.
The Crochet hook comes in many sizes and materials,
such as bone, bamboo, aluminum, plastic and steel.
Steel crochet hooks range from 0.4 to
3.5 millimeters in the size of the hook,
or from 00 to 16 in American sizing.
These hooks are used for fine crochet work.
Aluminum, bamboo, and plastic crochet
hooks are available from 2.5 to 19 millimeters
in hook size, or from B to S in American sizing.
There are also many artisan-made hooks,
most of hand-turned wood, sometimes
decorated with semi-precious stones or beads.
Crochet hooks used for Tunisian crochet are elongated and have a stopper at
the end of the handle, while double-ended crochet hooks have a hook on both ends
of the handle. There is also a double hooked apparatus called a Cro-hook that has become
popular. Also, a Hair-Pin Crochet Hook is often used to create lacey and long stitches.
For crocheting you will also need some type of material that will be crocheted,
which is most commonly yarn or thread.
Other equipment includes cardboard cut-outs, which can be
used to make tassels, fringe, and many other items; a pom-pom circle,
used to make pom-poms; a tape measure, a gauge measure, both
used for measuring crocheted work and counting stitches; a row counter;
and occasionally plastic rings, which are used for special projects.
Yarn for crochet is usually sold as balls or skeins (hanks), although it may also be
wound on spools or cones. Skeins and balls are generally sold with a yarn-band, a label that describes
the yarn’s weight, length, dye lot, fiber content, washing instructions, suggested
needle size, likely gauge, etc. It is common practice to save the yarn band for future reference,
especially if additional skeins must be purchased. Crocheters generally ensure that the yarn
for a project comes from a single dye lot. The dye lot specifies a group of skeins that were
dyed together and thus have precisely the same color; skeins from different dye-lots,
even if very similar in color, are usually slightly different and may produce a
visible stripe when crocheted together. If insufficient yarn of a single dye lot
is bought to complete a project, additional skeins of the same dye lot can
sometimes be obtained from other yarn stores or online.
The thickness or weight of the yarn is a significant factor in
determining the gauge, i.e., how many stitches and rows are
required to cover a given area for a given stitch pattern. Thicker
yarns generally require thicker crocheting hooks, whereas thinner
yarns may be knit with thick or thin needles. Hence, thicker yarns
generally require fewer stitches, and therefore less time, to knit
up a given garment. Patterns and motifs are coarser with thicker
yarns; thicker yarns produce bold visual effects, whereas thinner
yarns are best for refined patterns. Yarns are grouped by thickness
into six categories: superfine, fine, light, medium, bulky and
superbulky; quantitatively, thickness is measured by the
number of wraps per inch (WPI). The related weight
per unit length is usually measured in tex or dernier.
Before use, one would typically transform a hank into a ball where the yarn
emerges from the center of the ball; this making the work easier by preventing the
yarn from becoming easily tangled. This transformation may be done
by hand, or with a device known as a ballwinder.
A yarn’s usefulness is judged by several factors, such as its loft (its ability to trap air),
its resilience (elasticity under tension), its washability and colorfastness,
its hand (its feel, particularly softness vs. scratchiness), its durability against abrasion,
its resistance to pilling, its hairiness (fuzziness), its tendency to twist or untwist, its overall
weight and drape, its blocking and felting qualities, its comfort (breathability,
moisture absorption, wicking properties) and of course its look, which includes its
color, sheen, smoothness and ornamental features. Other factors include allergenicity;
speed of drying; resistance to chemicals, moths, and mildew; melting point and
flammability; retention of static electricity; and the propensity to become stained and to
accept dyes. Different factors may be more significant than others for different projects, so
there is no one “best” yarn. The resilience and propensity to (un)twist are general
properties that affect the ease to work with.
Although crochet may be done with ribbons, metal wire or more exotic
filaments, most yarns are made by spinning fibers. In spinning,
the fibers are twisted so that the yarn resists breaking under tension;
the twisting may be done in either direction, resulting in an Z-twist
or S-twist yarn. If the fibers are first aligned by combing them, the
yarn is smoother and called a worsted; by contrast, if the fibers are
carded but not combed, the yarn is fuzzier and called woolen-spun. The
fibers making up a yarn may be continuous filament fibers such as silk and
many synthetics, or they may be staples (fibers of an average length, typically
a few inches); naturally filament fibers are sometimes cut up into staples before
spinning. The strength of the spun yarn against breaking is determined
by the amount of twist, the length of the fibers and the thickness of the
yarn. In general, yarns become stronger with more twist (also called worst),
longer fibers and thicker yarns (more fibers); for example, thinner
yarns require more twist than do thicker yarns to resist breaking
under tension. The thickness of the yarn may vary along its l
ength; a slub is a much thicker section in which a mass
of fibers is incorporated into the yarn.
The spun fibers are generally divided into animal fibers, plant and synthetic fibers.
These fiber types are chemically different, corresponding to proteins, carbohydrates and
synthetic polymers, respectively. Animal fibers include silk, but generally are l
ong hairs of animals such as sheep (wool), goat (angora, or cashmere goat), rabbit
(angora), llama, alpaca, dog, cat, camel, yak, and muskox (qiviut). Plants used for
fibers include cotton, flax (for linen), bamboo, ramie, hemp, jute, nettle, raffia, yucca,
coconut husk, banana trees, soy and corn. Rayon and acetate fibers are also produced from
cellulose mainly derived from trees. Common synthetic fibers include acrylics, polyesters such
as dacron and ingeo, nylon and other polyamides, and olefins such as polypropylene. Of these types,
wool is generally favored for crochet, chiefly owing to its superior elasticity, warmth and
(sometimes) felting; however, wool is generally less convenient to clean and some people are
allergic to it. It is also common to blend different fibers in the yarn, e.g., 85% alpaca and 15%
silk. Even within a type of fiber, there can be great variety in the length and thickness of the
fibers; for example, Merino wool and Egyptian cotton are favored because they produce
exceptionally long, thin (fine) fibers for their type.
A single spun yarn may be crochet as is, or braided or plied with another.
In plying, two or more yarns are spun together, almost always in the
opposite sense from which they were spun individually; for example,
two Z-twist yarns are usually plied with an S-twist. The opposing
twist relieves some of the yarns’ tendency to curl up and produces
a thicker, balanced yarn. Plied yarns may themselves be plied together,
producing cabled yarns or multi-stranded yarns. Sometimes, the
yarns being plied are fed at different rates, so that one yarn loops
around the other, as in bouclé. The single yarns may be dyed
separately before plying, or afterwords to give the
yarn a uniform look.
The dyeing of yarns is a complex art. Yarns need not be dyed; or they may be
dyed one color, or a great variety of colors. Dyeing may be done industrially, by hand
or even hand-painted onto the yarn. A great variety of synthetic dyes have been developed
since the synthesis of indigo dye in the mid-19th century; however, natural dyes are also possible,
although they are generally less brilliant. The color-scheme of a yarn is sometimes called its colorway.
Variegated yarns can produce interesting visual effects,
such as diagonal stripes; conversely.
How it’s Done
Crocheted fabric is begun by placing a slip-knot loop on the hook,
pulling another loop through the first loop, and repeating this process
to create a chain of a suitable length. The chain is either turned and worked
in rows, or joined to the beginning of the row with a slip stitch and worked in
rounds. Rounds can also be created by working many stitches into a single loop.
Stitches are made by pulling one or more loops through each loop of the chain.
At any one time at the end of a stitch, there is only one loop left on the hook.
Tunisian crochet, however, draws all of the loops for an entire row onto a long
hook before working them off one at a time.
Free Crochet Lace Pattern, click the photo below. Something to start us off with….
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”~Mark Twain
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