Monday, February 21, 2011

Doilyghans - hints & tips

Heart is hosting a 
over at Crochetville.  

For those of you not familiar with Doilyghans - it's the art if creating doilies with yarn to make afghans instead of doilies.  Many are baby sized but there are several large enough doily patterns to make full size afghans.

I would like to note upfront that I do not have experience with converting doily patterns into baby blankets using baby yarn.  This is written from the perspective of creating Doilyghans with 4plyWW yarn.  Hooks recommended would be anywhere from an F to a J depending on the brand and thickness of the yarn you've chosen to work with.

Upsizing doily patterns to thread isn't quite as clear cut as it would seem to be at first glance and there's a few different things to take into consideration as well.  I strongly recommend a gauge swatch of at least 5 rounds in thread and in yarn so that you can measure the difference and have an idea of the finished ghan.

If you choose a huge doily and the ghan is coming out much larger than intended you can also stop short at whichever point you feel looks good and give it a finishing edge.  One of my fav things about crochet is the versatility and ability to leave a pattern behind and add your own personal touches to make it truly unique and yours.

* I think the absolute most important thing a crocheter can do to make this process simpler and end up with beautiful results is to choose a 'good' doily pattern.  There are so many to pick from from free to paid for to those purchased and published in books.  You'll need to find a doily that can lay flat on it's own.  If blocking is REQUIRED then this is not a pattern you want to use with acrylic yarn.

* A very basic rule of thumb is that a doily made in #10 thread will grow by about 3 times.  A 10 inch doily made in #10 thread *should* come out to be about 30 inches.  A lot of this is going to depend on the pattern itself.  Not all doilies are created equal - doilies with many rounds of sc will be much smaller than doilies created with dcs or trcs.

* My basic rule of thumb is to use a doily around 30 rounds.  25 at the bare minimum and 35 for a larger toddler sized ghan.

* Most doily patterns have a lot of chs and ch sps.  You MUST be consistent in your tension and not work them loosely.  If you do have a loose tension on your chains then maybe you should consider dropping 1 or 2 chains from the counts.  This is trial and error and may include a bit of frogging to get just right.

*  You really don't want to use patterns that have ch segments longer than 7 or 8 chains in a row - these will create very large holes in the finished ghan.

* I strongly suggest using a hook recommended for the yarn and for a more open pattern 1 size smaller.  It will help it to hold it's shape better.  You may need to choose between a softer drape and a ghan that holds it's shape.

* Personally, I would avoid most doilies that call for dbtrcs - the openings are just going to be too large.
*  Be careful in choosing your doily for your ghan that you know if it's UK or US terminology.  If it is in fact written in UK and you work it in American terms then it will not lay flat.

* There is also the technique of using 2 strands of 4plyww with a K or L hook.  This will obviously increase the finished size by quite a bit.  According to my dear friend Darski- she states "It also can use a little more openness to the design. The 2 strands do seem to fatten chains and fill in more. It makes the ghan bulky but the openness offsets that as well. It was very warm for all its open parts though."

So - for all of you who have visions of doily-ghans (instead of sugarplums) dancing thru your heads - just grab a hook and your fav pattern and go for it!  What's the worst that can happen - a little bit of frogging?  And the best?  Your latest masterpiece!

Happy crocheting, my friends!



Anonymous said...

I've started a few doilyghans over the years, one just recently too. Normally something takes my attention away, but the recent one I found out the pattern was not going to work with yarn. Might not even work with thread. With each ch 2 space I had to make it ch 4 or ch 5 otherwise the doily turned into a bowl!
I think I made it to round 7 and gave up on that one. It needs to be frogged and started over with another pattern.

RoseRed said...

Not all patterns are created equal. Some are good, some are GREAT and some are lacking.

There are specific doily patterns created to bowl and cup specifically so that they can be stiffened into being a bowl.

A lot of it is trial and error.

There are quite a few amazing doily designers. The purpose of the post isn't so much to recommend any of them as it is to help you make the most of your doilyghan.

If you stick with a well known designer either from today or from the old black and white books (like my Grandmother had) you should be fine.