Thursday, July 14, 2011

Avoiding the Owie with Tarn

Cutting and working with tarn (T-shirt yARN) can be painful. Here are some tips for minimizing the owie, which you can use with the Tarnation Rectangle Rug and Tarnation Oval Rug patterns.

1. Don't get too carried away with cutting the tarn, or your hand will start to hurt. It’s best to break it up into short time periods. I like to cut a shirt or section of a shirt, crochet (or knit) it into the project, and then cut more.

2. Use nice, sharp scissors for cutting tarn. As for sewing, you might want to get a brand new pair, and designate it for tarn cutting only. Scissors used for cutting paper quickly become too dull for fabric cutting, and tarn is a stretchy, thickish fabric, so you need all the help you can get. There have been reports of tarn-cutting wreaking havoc on good sewing scissors, so an inexpensive, new pair of sharp scissors for your tarn is a good idea.

3. Stick with crochet. I love knitting, but for tarn, knitting causes the strands to “grab” the needles, causing a lot of pushing and pulling to get each stitch made. Crochet can be done loosely enough to minimize the grabbiness.

4. Work a bit more loosely than you would with regular yarn. The harder you have to pull to get the stitches made, the sooner your arms, neck, and shoulder will start to hurt.

5. Take lots of breaks. Stop and shake out your hands and arms, stand up and stretch, whatever you need to do to keep the muscles relaxed and the blood circulating. Also, longer breaks give your hands and arms some recovery time.

6. Cut your tarn thin, but not too thin. Anything wider than 1/2” will be hard on your hands and arms, but thinner than that, the fabric can sometimes unravel and break when pulled hard.

You can find more crochet tips for the Tarnation Rectangle Rug and Tarnation Oval Rug patterns in the following posts:
Choosing Shirts for a Tarn Rug
How to Make Tarn
Making the Print Show
Allover Print Tarn
Mending a Tarn Rug

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