Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Rope or the Z-twist

I am currently working on a couple of projects at once which means that I am getting a lot done very slowly.  One of the patterns I am working on is a crochet reading character bookmark of the Scarecrow of Oz.  In looking at pictures I see that he is tied together using rope at various points.  I was trying to figure out how to make crochet stitches look like rope.  Then my dear husband reminded me of a pattern I did in my youth that had a rope looking part to it. 

I thought I would do a pictorial tutorial on how to make the appearance of rope.  Spinners will recognize this as the Z-twist.  It can be used with yarn, string, thread or any material of sufficient length.  I have even used this with dried Yucca leaves to make rope just as Native Americans did years ago.  In spinning it is called plying and it involves spinning several bobbins going one direction.  Then to ply the single thread created on each bobbin into a 2 ply or 3 ply yarn, the single thread bobbins are spun together on a separate bobbin going the opposite direction from the way the single threads were spun.  This locks them into place and give the yarn much more strength.

I took a long piece of crochet thread and doubled it.
This can be done with yarn for the same results.  Next step is to twist it tightly.
Now I knot both ends without losing the twist in order to keep the twist in the work.
Now comes the z-twist part.  I double the thread which causes the twists on both threads to want to lock into place.  I kept both threads apart until they were even length and then allowed them to lock together.

I then twist them together a little more if needed and tie both ends to keep these twists in place.
Some of my "rope" needed to be thicker than other ropes on the piece, so I just doubled the thread again.  
Twisted a little more and knotted both ends to hold in place.  Now I have the "rope"  that is needed to make my scarecrow.  I have used this technique with yarn also and it produces the same great results.
I am hoping to have this pattern off to my pattern testers by the end of the week.