>When you’ve tinkered with enough yarns and fibers you get to know which ones are going to give you grief. I personally crochet all my own design samples so I need to work quickly and efficiently in order to meet my deadlines… er… come close to my deadlines… hmmm. Let’s not talk about deadlines, huh? Anything that holds up the production line is my enemy; yarns that split and snag are the worst culprits.
With experience I’ve learned to come to terms with yarns that tend to split. If you use a large enough hook in a loose enough gauge you can keep splitting to a minimum. Still, if the project is important enough and has to be perfect (which describes pretty much everything I crochet!), you should check your stitches occasionally and be prepared to frog back and fix the split.
Snagging is a whole nother matter. Snagging has nothing to do with how you crochet. It is an insidious cosmic conspiracy devised to keep us humble. It is a reminder that even though we among all beasts are blessed with opposable thumbs, we are but lowly, inept mortals.
My issues with snagging began way before I had a career in crochet. My mother, in a useless attempt to civilize her daughter, persuaded me to replace my beat-up Chucks with stockings and pumps. I saw nothing wrong with pairing sneakers with skirts (I still see nothing wrong with that) but mom was horrified, so I caved in. You chickadees might not remember the Dark Ages before that miracle of modern science — no-run-panty hose. Lucky you. For a couple of years in junior high I had to wrestle with old-fashioned nylons and garters and it wasn’t pretty. I was never able to put on a pair of stockings without encountering a host of snags, which resulted in runners which resulted in abject misery. I was happy but I believe my mother was even happier the day the assistant principal announced that girls would be allowed to wear pants to school.
A useful hint I’ve heard from other fiberazzi is to keep an old pair of panty hose to run over the hands in order to test for any trouble spots that might cause yarn snags. Since I have not owned panty hose since 1999, I came up with a different solution. Every time I encountered a yarn with a real snagging problem I kept some aside as a snaggle ball. Each new yarn that snagged even worse than the current snaggle ball would replace it.
Today, even with my superbly smooth and soft hands due to obsessive hand care and slathering of rich creams and precious home-crafted oils, I occasionally get snags when I crochet. There are yarns, evil yarns that seek out the least little nano-particles of skin on which to get hung up. Hey, there are yarns that snag on air, know what I’m saying? I still pull out and manhandle my long suffering snaggle ball before I touch any suspicious yarns.
For years the most cunning offender was Lion Brand Microspun. Many have tried to topple this grandaddy of all snaggers; none have succeeded until recently. The usurper wasn’t a cheap, indifferently manufactured yarn. It wasn’t an unfortunate choice made by an editor that I was obliged to live with. Nope.
At the time it earned the title, this yarn was my single most expensive purchase for personal use. I totally fell for the luscious colorway, the sheen, the elegant drape, the luxury of the 100% hand-painted silk. And to this day I have not been able to bring myself to crochet anything out of it because it snags like a S-O-B. May I present my galactic champion snaggle ball of all time: ArtYarns Silk Ribbon.