Crocheted embellishments and edgings like this one at Anthropologie are all the rage this season.

So, it was no suprise when recently a discussion erupted on the Crochet Partners e-mail list about how to make the holes in fabric necessary to add crochet to fabric. Lots of experienced thread crocheters use a tiny steel crochet hook to place the holes, but there are tools available as we learned from one member, Greta, who said I could reprint her post here:

“Wing needles (a sewing machine needle which makes holes automatically) and stilletto (a tiny awl used for sewing) are preferred for making ‘holes’ in the edges of woven fabrics like handkercheifs — they tend to pierce the fabric by spreading the fibers apart. The hole punches are ok for non-wovens, like fleece or felt — they tend to cut out a larger hole and will leave frazzled threads that pull and shift in the wash when it is done on woven fabric. Some linens and hankies also have hemstitched edges that are right ready to crochet into.

Also, consider if the edging is to be reused after the fabric wears out. I have collected some beautiful turn of the century pillow case edgings, some of which had been crocheted, and then sewn on, which could easily be removed and put on to other items; a few others that were directly crocheted to the material can’t easily be separated and have to be stabilized with extra stitches to be usable again. Sometimes you might want a ” breakaway basted” or less firmly attached edging so that you can remove a colored edging for the linen to be bleached, laundered, and or repaired and then rebaste it back on afterwards.”

I just love the idea of reusing vintage edgings. I had never heard of wing needles and stilettos, so I did a little research. Here are a couple of web sites that provide more info:

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Tools and Techniques: Wing Needles and Stilettos