|Crisp gauge: #10 cotton, size 7 steel hook|
Threadwork, especially, has traditionally been all about the stitches, but most afghans are about the stitch texture, too. The fabric draws attention to itself, which is great for making an accent piece to accessorize a room or an outfit.
A fabric that draws attention to itself is great for special occasions, but I'm have a quieter lifestyle and often prefer a more subdued fabric for most of what I make, not just accessories. That's when I remember there is another perspective: the fabric.
|Loose gauge: #10 cotton, 00 (3.5mm) steel hook|
It's a combination of granny square and pineapple motif ideas, with a hint of file crochet added at the end, so there are lacy and solid bits (no 3D bits for this discussion). In order for this piece to look traditionally nice, I want to use a firm gauge -- a small hook with the small thread -- so the stitch texture is crisp and well defined.
Sometimes, I like the look of that texture, but I want it to be bigger and make up faster, so I go to a bigger hook:
|#10 cotton, 00 (3.5 mm) steel hook - solid fabric,|
maybe a bit too solid.
This is where a different approach to choosing the stitch comes in. I like to do my random stitch. It makes a fabric that isn't about how the stitches work together to make a design. When I work it at a firm gauge, the fabric is very solid. Great for making tree bark, which is where it started. (I didn't make a sample of that for here.) But when I loosen it up, a lot, it takes on a whole new personality, and I really like it.
|#10 cotton, size 5mm hook - lacy, soft drape|
|Cobweb weight merino, 4mm hook|
A great way to get a grown-up fabric. Funny thing about all this is that, with such a big hook, it works up much more quickly than any stitch-texture-based stitches - totally a win/win!