Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What is Dupioni Silk?

Doupioni [doo-pee-oh-nee] Also spelled douppioni, dupioni [doo-pee-ohn] or dupioni, is a silk fabric. It is so called because two cocoons (or dupions) that are reeled as one. This created a very strong but slubbed, irregular yarn. Silk fabrics called shantung or pongee are also made from doupoini yarn. The plain weave fabric made of this yarn and labeled Doupoini will always exhibit this slubbed texture. It is considered slightly inferior to ordinary raw silk, but is very strong and with slight give. It is used for fine apparel and upholstery.

As you can see from the pictures, there is some variation from one fabric to the next in the amount of texture. Also, the fabric is very prone to raveling - something to consider when choosing it. Imitations are made in rayon and synthetics under different names such as cupioni.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Fabric Yarn...

When most of us think about crochet, we think of yarn – defined on as “a thread made of natural or synthetic fibers and used for knitting and weaving”.

It is made by spinning which is further defined as the ‘drawing out, twisting, and winding of fibers”. We differentiate types of yarn based on the fiber – wool, cotton, silk, acrylic, etc. However, we can also crochet with yarn substitutes. A couple of years ago I wrote about recycling plastic grocery bags into "yarn". This idea led me to another project for using up remnants of fabric. I took some of the scrap fabric left from making a quilt, and made a crocheted fabric yarn purse.

Making the fabric couldn't be easier.

Step 1 – cut fabric into narrow strips. I cut mine at ½ inch to make a bulky but manageable yarn. Make sure to cut each strip into the longest length possible. This will reduce the number of joins you need to make, and save time. You can either cut the strips with scissors or a rotary cutter, or if you want a softer look, rip the fabric. To do this, use your scissors to cut small snips the appropriate width about along one selvage edge of your fabric. Then just start ripping the strips. Due to the fact that fabric is not always printed to line up perfectly with the straight of grain, you may find that the first couple of rips are very short. However, this is the best way to square up the fabric, and will yield a stronger yarn.

Step 2 - cut a small slit in the both ends of each strip. Now thread the end of one strip through one end slit of another.

Step 3 – take the other end of strip #2 and thread it through the slit end which has been passed through strip #1

Step 4 – pull the resulting knot tight.

Step 5 – continue to add strips until you have many yards, then roll the “yarn” into a ball ready to crochet. The beauty of this method is that you can always make more yarn – either from contrasting and complementary scraps you have lying around, or by going to the fabric shop to buy something out of their remnant bin.