October 31, 2009

Crafting with... hair?

Crafting with hair? What am I talking about?

Here's a hint.... the hair stays on the head....

This is my 'canvas'... I'm talking about dreadlocks!

When I visited South America, a Peruvian Man in Buenos Aires dreaded my hair and showed me how to do it. The method is one that uses no wax, no chemicals, in fact nothing but a pair of hands, something to keep parcels of hair together & a crochet hook (size 2 i.e. 1.75mm works well, here I'm using a 1.25mm one).

I began last night, quite late, with two from the bottom section of his head. You work from the bottom upwards, which is handy if you decide to spread out the process over several days! You can just pull it back into a ponytail, and then you barely notice them.

Today I continued working on them. The dreads look quite funny at first - fluffy like a possum's tail! It's hard to explain exactly how to get it to that stage. Some people back comb the hair, I learned a slightly different technique which I hope to document soon. You basically split the hair parcel at two at the top and pull them away from each other. This forms a knot at the base. You then continue the same process, grabbing different bits of hair each time.

The crochet hook is then used to bring in all those fluffy bits and form a nice compact dreadlock. That's why I'm going ahead and calling it a craft!

You grab some of the fluff with one hand, then stick the crochet hook through the dread and pull some of it through. You then grab the bit you pulled through and bring it back to the other side again, and repeat the process. By only pulling through some of the fluff, and always different bits, you avoid just weaving one big strand through which could just come out again! We're basically just knotting the hair up so much that it can't come out again easily.

You maintain the dreads by a combination of rolling/twisting and occassional tidying up with the crochet hook. And washing, of course! People always brought that up when I had them... you can definitely wash them. I used a special shampoo which leaves no residues in the hair, but the Peruvian man said he just used any old soap or shampoo.

He only has seven dreads for now, but I thought it would be fun to share this work in progress with you straight away! On Halloween, no less!

Edit: I've uploaded some videos I took in Buenos Aires detailing some of the steps mentioned.

Step 1: How to start the dreads (base)

Step 2: How to continue the dreads (bulk)

Step 3: How to finish the dreads (crochet)

Related post: The dreadlocks are finished

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