Chat with Crochet Designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, Part 1

Here is the official transcript from Crochetville’s live chat with crochet designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan that took place on our Facebook page on Friday, January 10, 2014. They joined us for a talk about their wonderful new yarn, Lotus, designed by crocheters with the special needs of crocheters in mind. We had so many questions that I’ve had to divide this blog post up into multiple parts. Links to all the parts can be found at the end of this post.


(Note: Text appears as it was entered during the live chat.)

We hope you’ll join us on our Facebook page for future chats with more of your favorite crochet designers.

Transcript of Live Chat with Crochet Designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan, Part 1 of 3

Amy: Okay, my clock says it’s 1:00 PM Eastern, so let’s get started.

Welcome to the chat everyone, especially our fabulous guests, crochet designers Vashti Braha and Doris Chan.

They’re with us today to talk about their brand-new Lotus yarn, although I’m sure they’ll also answer other questions.

To keep us organized, post a ! whenever you have a question. I’ll keep track of the order in which people post, and then call on you in turn.

First up is Karen Ballard. Karen, what is your question?

Karen: Can Doris/Vashti tell us how Lotus got its name?

Vashti: I ship out all the Lotus from my warehouse, and I’m seeing a lot of TEAL and GRENADINE orders!!

Doris: Hey!  We both are beside ourselves with this new yarn, Lotus.

It’s about Vashti’s laid-back view of the world.

Zen.  OOOHM.

Vashti: Hi Karen! OK, well, it has some lovely childhood associations for me, combined with the properties of the yarn itself.

The properties being that it has a luster, and the colors are fresh like the lotus scent.

Luciucantsayit: OOhhh!   More yarn!

Vashti: And it has a lovely drape. The lotus flower is just so beautiful. I could go on.

Amy: How My Lotus Yarn Got Its Name: http://designingvash…t-its-name.html

Next question: Carol, mrsmhwillia

Mrsmhwillia: I saw that Vashti ships Lotus from her warehouse.  Is there something in the works so it will be available at LYS?

Vashti: mrsmhwilllia — I’m working on that!

Doris: The boss is in charge of that stuff.  I just play with the stuff.

Amy: Next question: luciucantsayit

Vashti: The yarn is labeled and packaged in 6-ball bags with yarn shop shelves in mind.

Doris: BTW, I bet you can tell which colors were decided by which of us!

Luciucantsayit: Hi! So glad to bea part of this! My question is: How exactly does your yarn cater to crochet?

Doris: Z-twist is a major point.

Most yarn is S-twist, which favors use by knitters, and also lefty crocheters, as Amy has discovered for us.

Vashti: omg the z-twist. So much more fun with a lot of different crochet stitches!

Doris: When the yarn is Z-twist, it resists becoming untwisted as a crocheter works.  This is particularly an issue with tall stitches and openwork, which Vashti and I both do.

Amy: Yes, I’ve always heard right handed crocheters talk about yarn splitting. But as a leftie, I wrap my yarn in the opposite direction, so have rarely encountered the problem.

Vashti: I love crocheting and looking at the really tall stitches (triple trebles etc) with Lotus and other z-twist yarns

Amy: Well, as a leftie with Lotus and Z twist, now I’m the one encountering the issue. But I’ve found a way to counter it!

Doris: Tall, firm stitches, better stitch definition, and coherence.

Linda D: I find that the yarn keeps its structure and “plumpness” in Z twist

Doris: This makes possible certain designs that I couldn’t find the right yarn for.

Vashti: Amy, talk about what you do as a leftie with a z-twist yarn!

Doris: You can sit on Lotus.  It is easy care.

Amy: I tend to hold my yarn very loosely, with lots of room between where I’m holding it and my work. I need to close up the distance between my holding fingers and my work, giving it less room to untwist. I also find by holding it tighter, I reduce its ability to untwist.

That’s only what I’ve found in the limited time I’ve had to play with this yarn and learn new techniques for managing a new phenomenon. I may come up with other suggestions for lefties as time goes by.

Doris: Yes, I find that keeping a shorter feed length, allowing the yarn’s twist to come up into your work, will help to reduce any twist issues.

Amy: I do love, love the yarn and want my results to look as fabulous as the results Vashti has posted with it.

Vashti: I’m thinking I should bring a bunch of Lotus to the next Chain Link conference and we can all crochet it side be side and compare our experiences and results. ?

Amy: Absolutely, Vashti!

Vashti: A Lotus party maybe?

Amy: I’m always fascinated by watching others crochet and their techniques.

Doris: The other thing about Lotus is the fiber and resulting drape.  DRAPE DRAPE DRAPE!

Amy: Good drape is so important for crochet garments.

Doris: There’s just enough rayon in there to make it just gorgeous in the fabric, and even more luscious on the body after blocking.

Vashti: It’s a big priority for both Doris and me that yarn be awesome for crochet clothing.

Amy: Craftyone, ask your question.

Craftyone: How did you decide what colors to offer?  Will there be more colors available soon and will you be making any variegated/ multi colors? Amy, I did the same thing to reduce the twisting as a lefty.

Doris: I chose, you must be able to tell, all the jewel tones.

Crochetkween1: Can we do yoga while we crochet with Lotus at Chain Link, Vashti?

Vashti: MORE colors YES! Multi-colors, variegateds, self-striping, I don’t know yet! Have to get to know the dyer better 🙂

Doris: Being a winter, I live in red, blue, purple, teal.  Vashti said we had to have other colors.  PHOOEY!

Hey Gwen, if you can crochet and yoga at the same time, go for it!

Craftyone: I love the jewel tones too.

Amy: Karen Ballard, please ask your question.

Karen: Similar question to lucs and I believe already answered:  Why is the Z-twist better for crocheters?  Is it better for right-handers or left handers?  Seems to me that Vashti told me earlier that z-twist is particularly good for bullions.  Sounds like it may be better for us right-handers?  Sometimes Rayon is too slinky, and a little difficult to control  — any similar problems with Lotus.  I would like varigateds, with very subtle color changes-

Magiccrochetfan: the color range is beautiful.  almost makes it impossible to choose which one to start with!

Vashti: It would be cool to find some artisan dyers for special color ways wouldn’t it?

Doris: As you yarn over, a right handed crocheter gives the yarn a Z-twist.

When you do this over and over, more with tall stitches and buillions, you are gradually un-twisting yarn that is S-twist.

Vashti: craftyone – My next blog post will be about the colors. It was a bigger process than I imagined. Fascinating process.

Doris: I was finding that my rows were starting to look really crappy, and couldnt figure out why.

Craftyone: Looking forward to reading that Vashti

Amy: Vibeskat, please go ahead and ask your question.

Vibeskat: Two questions, where is the yarn made? And can you give an example of a yarn we might have seen before that has a a twist.  I promise I won’t go buying anything else, just as a comparison.

Doris: So if you are having the experience of your stitches looking worse row after row, and the yarn getting majorly spitty, it’s about the twist and not your fault.

Vashti: It was important to me to have lots of drape without slipperiness. I like that I can have both with Lotus. Plus, some luster without slipperiness too.

Amy: Many crochet threads have a Z twist to them.

Karen: !  I did not get an answer re: slinkiness of rayon.

Vibeskat: Oops, iPad mistake, an example of a yarn with z  twist

Doris: We went to a local Philadelphia yarn mill with a long history of providing fibers for manufacturing.

Vashti: I plan to design lots of Tunisian lace with Lotus, and I saw in my classes that slippery yarns look great but are unnecessarily challenging.

Karen: Sorry Vashti, you answered while I was typing

Doris: they obtain US sourced fiber (cotton and rayon) and custom spin and twist for us.

Linda D: Karen I haven’t found Lotus to be as slippery as other rayon yarns, the cotton seems to hold it down a little.

Amy: I don’t find the Lotus slippery at all. It seems to be a cotton yarn with a thin rayon yarn wrapped around the cotton core. The cotton greatly reduces the slipperiness of the rayon.

Doris: Oh, and custom dye.

Vashti: Getting to know the mill together with Doris made it really fun.

Vibeskat: Which mill did

Doris: I visited the mill a few times, in the process of getting Lotus just right.

Vibeskat: where is the mill you used?

Vashti: Karen – so the amount of cotton with the rayon gives just enough grip.

Karen: Sounds lovely!

Amy: Vashti and Doris, do you know of a commercially available yarn, not thread, with a Z twist?

Doris: Huntingdon Yarn Mill

DeniDecember: !Are there any crochet patterns to go with Lotus?

Amy: One of the links I have posted has suggestions for a number of patterns to use with Lotus.

Doris: Nothing specifically designed with Lotus, YET.  However if you take a look at my blog I’ve posted images of future design.

Amy: Patterns designed for Caron’s discontinued Spa also seem to work well with Lotus.

Vashti: I think Huntingdon’s experience with yarns for the fashion industry helped create the great effects this yarn has. They seemed to instinctively understand what we were looking for and having trouble finding.

Karen: What size yarns do you offer?  Do you plan to offer finer ones and threads?

Vashti: Amy – z twisted yarns come and go and are hard to search for, so over the years I find them by accident.

Doris: Lotus substitutes perfectly for many sportweight products, like spa and Patons Grace.

Coffeedog: My question was answered a few minutes ago.

Vashti: That said, 99% of 1-ply wool yarns are z-twist. But you don’t see what happens with the plies, being only 1 of them.

Amy: Finding other Z twist yarn: Everyone, look at yarns you have at home. If the slant as the yarn wraps goes in the same direction as the slant in the letter Z, it’s Z twist. If you find any, send me the names!

Doris: And it’s the yarn I wish I had for sportweight (size 6 and 7 crochet hook) designs in all of my books.  Really

Amy: CrochetWithDee, ask your question.

CrochetWithDee: 1. where is the icoffee?  2. are we allowed to comment any time? (my first time in CV’s chat room … and 3…. I want to thank you for the samples … The HHCC had a “Lotus Party” of sorts.  Some members found the Z twist to be a “different” type of experience, others really, really liked it. I think we’ve been using S twist for so long that it may take some time for crocheters to get used to having another option…

Amy: Yes, comments or further questions about the current topic of discussion are absolutely fine.

Links to Other Parts of Chat Transcript:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


About Vashti Braha

Vashti Braha

Vashti’s name may be familiar to you. Her crochet designs have been published in magazines and books since 2004, including Interweave Crochet, Crochet!, Crochet Today, Knit.1 . . . and have been seen in other popular publications and websites.

You can find Vashti on the internet in the following places:

Her Designing Vashti website

Her blog

Her Facebook page

Vashti’s Crochet Lounge on Ravelry


About Doris Chan

Doris Chan
Doris Chan is world-renowned for gorgeous, lacy crochet garments featuring top-down seamless construction. Her designs have also been published in Interweave Crochet, Crochet!, Crochet Today, Vogue Knitting, KnitScene, and Crochet World magazines. Many yarn companies have published her designs including Tahki Stacy Charles, Caron International, and Coats & Clark. Doris has also published 4 books of garment patterns with Potter Craft.
You can find Doris on the internet in the following places:
Her blog

Her Doris Chan Crochet group on Ravelry

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