Some things take quite a while to move from the acquisition stage, through the development and then re-development stages and into the final creation stage! A long time ago I purchased a variety of coloured polyester netting from Lincraft. I was after some tulle, which is softer than the poly netting, but the fabric I wanted just wasn’t available. Instead I purchased a metre each of the polyester netting in a variety of colours, and one metre of the softer tulle fabric so I’d have something to choose from when the design process fell into place. The idea was to make some exfoliating wash cloths.
My first attempt was foiled by the netting itself. Back brushes had been hard to get, they still are! My clever idea was to make something similar from the netting, using it as one does a towel to dry the back. After gathering the fabric, more like pleating really, I sewed it into place, with multiple rows of stitching using the best polyester thread I had. It looked really good and looked like it would work a treat. And it did, for about a month. This netting is savage. It cut through the stitching with every movement as it was used. All attempts to sew, and resew, the netting failed due the harshness of the fabric. Thus the unused netting stayed in it’s little bag, stored away in my sewing stash waiting for it’s turn to be redesigned.
It has sat for an embarrassingly long time before I’ve been able to combine motivation and design creativity into an actionable plan. The simple revelation of how to use the netting came to me while watching ‘Ascendance of a Bookworm’, an anime about a young girl transported into an unfamiliar setting from her own more modern times, and, among other things, how she used her crafting skills to better her and her family’s position.
It’s a delightful story and I recommend watching with subtitles rather than with the soundtrack/ voices being dubbed (translated into your language and spoken by a native speaker of the chosen language). Why? Because the nuances of the original language is lost in the translation as is any vocal inference. The original voices simply provide a much better all ’round experience. I think many of those who say they dislike anime are watching dubbed versions, which are just not the same. But, I digress …
After laying the folded netting fabric out on my cutting board, it was pinned in place, and cut into 6cm wide strips. I cut 8 strips for the first try.
The fabric is harsh, hard and the edges a bit prickly, so joining the strips could happen a couple of ways. Wanting it to hold together for a long time without the joins breaking or coming apart, I chose to make lengthwise slits in each end of each strip and then thread the ends through to join into themselves, something like making the joining loops for Plarn.
Cutting the slit lengthwise means the hole won’t pull open wider, nor tear across the fabric with wear. The harsh nature of the fabric did make the job of pulling the lengths through each other somewhat difficult, especially as the length grew longer and longer. Eventually, I did get rather tired of the effort it was taking, and reverted to double knots to tie the ends of the last few lengths together. I figured the extra scrappy ends of the ties would be useful as extra bits for exfoliation even if they didn’t look as neat and tidy as I had been hoping for.
My expectation here has been 100% correct, both for using the scrubbies for body exfoliation and for shower and sink cleaning. Of course, each scrubbie is colour coded and, for hygiene purposes, is dedicated to it’s own job; they don’t cross over into the other’s territory. I didn’t bother measuring the finished length, and I should have for future reference, but, the fabric is 140cm wide x 8 lengths = approximately 1120 cms, less the amount for the joins: So, a bit over 1 metre. As the lengths were joined, making it longer and longer, it got somewhat unruly, twisting upon itself, and catching on the edges, making the whole process more tiresome than I was prepared to deal with.
So the only thing to do was to neatly roll it up. Which was something of a chore in itself, constantly wrapping the round, flicking the unwound end to unkink it, then wrapping again until I caught up. Seeing it sitting there in it’s not so little roll caused me a satisfied smile. Next task was to crochet it. Choosing the hook came next. I started with the 12 mm bamboo hook. It soon became obvious it was not going to work. It was not only too small, but the roughness of the netting started shredding off the tiniest of bamboo slivers. Decisions had to be made.
I shifted to my Denise Interchangeable 15 mm hook, the largest in the set. I stopped often to check on the condition of my hook, and the polyester net did not make a single mark on it. I do love my Denise hooks and use them almost exclusively, dependant upon the type of work I’m doing, even though I have multiple brands and styles. Trial and error in working out the best design soon made it clear that loose stitches and a really simple design would work best. It’s not exactly pretty, but it is meant to be a workhorse, not a fashion plate after all.
I ended up making a few of them. The first was a prototype for assessing the worth or otherwise of making more. This has become the kitchen sink scrubbie and cleans stainless steel easier than pretty much anything else I’ve ever used. Used in conjunction with Bar Keeper’s Friend, my sinks have never sparkled so much! A quick run over the sink after each wash up removes any watermarks, tea stains, etc. The scrubbing action, along with soap, also breaks down the outer layer on many germs, killing them, thus helping to keep your kitchen area cleaner.
The maroon was made a bit larger with the strips a bit wider. It’s the shower screen scrubbie and works surprisingly well. With the addition of Bar Keeper’s Friend, the water marks on the glass shower screen are easily removed. A quick wipe over after a shower keeps the glass clearer between proper cleans. The netting reduces the physical effort normally used in cleaning jobs. The softer white netting I made into facial scrubs which of course are gently used. The pretty pink became a larger body exfoliating scrub and works really well.
The green was made into a body scrub for a tester to try out. As the recipient was so pleased with the results, I was asked to design a matching back scrub. To make the back scrubbie, I simply crocheted a rectangle the size requested, then added crocheted ties onto each end, making sure they were long enough for the person to use the rectangle like a towel across the back. After a few uses, it was decided it would be better to make the back one wider. However, it was perfect, using the same technique, for a foot exfoliator while bathing.
The final pattern ended up being made from 8 strips of 6 cms wide polyester netting, totally 1120 cms when joined, rolled up for ease of use. A hardy 15mm crochet hook, or bigger if you have it. Work extremely loosely so the fabric can be manipulated. Begin: Make 3 chain, join with slip stitch. Next: 10 double crochet into the circle, you made. Then: Join with slip stitch. Ch1. 2 half trebles into each previous double crochet, join. To Finish: Chain enough length to make a loop to hang it, join with slip stitch and knot if you need more security. Weave in end. And there you have it.