We have all done it. We have gone to the store and purchased the most beautiful and perfect yarn for our project. And then, once we start to crochet with it, we hate it almost from the start because the yarn is splitting.
What is a crocheter to do when this happens? It's really a hard question to answer, but I am going to give you a few tips that I have found work well for me.
When purchasing the yarn for your project
- Consider the quality of the yarn you are purchasing. While this is not 100% true across the board, I find that box store yarns tend to split more than indie dyed or LYS brands. While I can say that there are definitely higher-end yarns that split, if your project is something you plan to enjoy for years to come, it is a gift for someone else, or you just want to enjoy your time crocheting, make sure you look at the quality of the yarn. The tips below will help even more with this.
- Consider Natural Fibers. Yarns with natural fiber content tend to split less often. Wool especially has a natural stick-to-itself-ness that synthetic yarns do not have. From experience, I can tell you that some kinds of cotton are this way as well. Slick yarns like silk and bamboo tend to split UNLESS they are blended with wool or cotton.
- Check the twist of the yarn. While I do not agree with the notion that crocheters should work with "z” twist yarns for less splitting, I do recommend that crocheters look for yarns that have a tighter twist. The tighter the twist the less chance it will split.
When working with yarns that split
- Chose the right hook. As crocheters, we all have our preferences with hooks styles and brands. Sometimes, however, we have to look beyond what we love and choose the right tool for the job. Knowing which way you hold your hook (knife or pencil) makes a huge difference. I am a knife holder and I find that when I am working with an easily splitting yarn I need to use a hook that has more of a point. You will have to choose which works for you!
- Slow it down. If you are like me, you tend to crochet very quickly. With yarns that split, however, speed causes more splitting. If you are mindful of your stitching and slow down the speed, you will find you will enjoy the process so much more.
- Check out what others do. I have read things such as putting beeswax on your yarn or even spraying your yarn with hair spray. While I don’t do those, (nor recommend it) you may want to try googling what others might do.
When all else fails
When push comes to shove, crochet should be a joy in your life and not something that frustrates you. If you have exhausted all your options out there and you still are having a hard time with the yarn you chose, it might be better to find another yarn for the project. I know how heart-breaking that can be! It has happened to me more times than I can count in my years of crocheting. It is part of the craft that we cannot avoid. I know my local guild does yarn swaps yearly. We bring together yarns from projects that we aren't going to do or didn't like that year and swap them with each other. It's a great way to get new yarn to work without having to put out more money. You might check if your local guild or yarn shop might do that too! Otherwise, donate what you won't use, and shop for new yarn! You will feel great about helping someone else out and you get to shop for yourself! I call that a win-win!
Question: What suggestions do you have for working with yarns that split?