Have you had a chance to run the new Bernat Velvet yarn through your fingers yet? If you’ve seen it in the store, or if you’ve brought some home already, you know how delicious it feels next to the skin. It is soft and luxurious and it just glides through your fingers. After working up four of my new Velvet Cardis, I think it’s safe to say that I have fallen in love with this yarn. That being said, there are a few things I’ve noticed while working with it that can be aggravating given it’s slippery texture. I decided to compile this list of tips for working with Bernat Velvet (or any velvet) yarn that helped me.
Tips for Working with Bernat Velvet Yarn
While designing the Velvet Cardi, I noticed that tension played a huge factor in how well my piece turned out. Because velvet yarn is so slippery, it is very common for the stitches to “worm” their way out of alignment. These are simply yarn loops that pull away from the fabric creating little (or big) loops which looks like worms and can throw off your entire project – or worse, make you want to throw it in the trash. We will also discuss how hook size plays an important roll in the outcome of said project and other tips to start you out on the right foot with velvet. Grab your hook and let’s check it out!
Keep tension tight
While this yarn is a dream to the touch, it is slippery to work with, which can cause the yarn to pull away from the other stitches, causing a “worming” effect. This happens when the tension is too loose allowing the stitches to settle and relax in a way that creates unseemly (and super aggravating) loops. To combat this, you’ll want to keep your tension tight while working with velvet yarn. Consciously pull your loops a bit tighter than normal.
Consider going down (at least one) hook size
After realizing how much of a role tension plays on how well the finished product turns out, I ended up going down TWO hook sizes from the recommended hook size (from 6.5mm to a 5.5mm) in order to get a fabric/weave I was happy with. The smaller hook makes the stitches smaller, and I found that working smaller stitches, in addition to this, further helped to keep the yarn from worming. Consider using smaller stitches when working with this yarn.
For example, I used double crochet to make my first gauge swatch and single crochet for my second swatch before switching to a happy medium, the Half Double Crochet paired with a smaller hook. I loved the fabric it created so much I ended up using it in my new Velvet Cardi pattern.
Leave longer velvet yarn tails to weave in
As I worked with this yarn (through four cardigans now) I noticed that the yarn ends like to wiggle their way out with wear and that the yarn ends shed. For this reason, leave your yarn tails about twice as long as you normally would. This allows you to SUPER weave in your ends (back and forth through several rows and going in several directions) so that if the pesky little yarn end DOES pop free, you can simply snip it without fear that the entire piece will work itself loose and unravel.
Check your work frequently
Periodically stop to review your work. When you stop to take a drink, get up to use the bathroom, stop to count a row etc, take a quick look over your recent work. This way if, in the last few rows, you see a loop that is noticeably looser than the rest, you can frog (rip the stitches out) back to correct this tension issue – and the almost certain “worming” that will take place as a result. It is much easier (and less painful) to fix a mistake one or two rows back rather than frogging all the way back to the beginning of your project. I had a few mini-frog sessions myself while using this velvet yarn and going back to fix it was worth it in the end. Take it from me and check your work periodically. The more often you check the less frogging you’ll have to do.
Pay attention to your loops
Pay close attention when inserting your hook into the stitches. Because the velvet stitches (and certainly the individual loops, back loop and front loop) are harder to see than stitches worked with regular yarn, it can be easy to insert your hook into only one of the loops instead of both of the loops along the top of the stitch. If you pick up just one of the loops, this can create small holes in the fabric that are noticeable both immediately after crocheting them and after you’ve finished your entire project. If it feels like you didn’t hook enough of the stitch, you may not have gotten through both loops.
I recommend trying this intentionally so you can see – and feel – the difference.
Caring for velvet yarn
This yarn is recommended as hand wash only. While not my favorite thing in the world, it is better than losing your hard work! Hand wash and lay flat to dry. You might consider a sweater dryer like this one from WeCrochet. The less you jostle the stitches (especially in the washing machine), the less chances of worming.
In short, you’ll want to keep tension tight, use smaller stitches, and leave longer tails to weave in. I just love how this yarn feels against my skin, so I say its worth it!
Have you tried velvet yarn? I’m curious to know what you think, and I love to hear any tips or tricks that worked for you. Leave a comment if you care to share!