Friday, 9 November 2012

Scarves... the real crochet proving ground.

Have you ever crocheted until the doctor told you to stop because you went in there complaining your wrist was sore and it turns out you had a repetitive strain injury because you just wanted to finish that last metre of scarf?


Everybody kind of scoffs at the scarf as a knit or crochet project.  There is some sort of assumption that this is the thing that only beginners would deign to make.  The rest of us are too busy with complicated doilies or making sweaters or rugs or whatever.

The problem with this is, I hate making all of the so-called complicated things.  And while I hesitate to say I'm a crochet expert, I've been doing it for a long time and I do think I'm pretty darn good.  So supposedly I'm only supposed to make things that require a measure of skill.  But none of those things are any fucking fun.  A doily?  SERIOUSLY?  First of all, I hate tiny hooks.  Secondly, I hate tiny yarn.  And thirdly, no one uses doilies anymore!  Mom and I vend, we sell our stuff.  You try to sell a doily and people look at you like you are insane.  Despite the fact that a nice table doily is like a 20 hour project, apparently I should be giving them away for free.  And yet, people will pay good money for the simplest project of them all, a cozy scarf.  There is no logic in this, but I'll rant about our meager profit margins another day.

Sweaters also suck.  I tried to make a cardigan once...

And that's all there is to say about that.

And who crochets a rug?!  People are going to step on it and wreck it!  That's no way to treat something that you've spent 30-50 hours of quality time with.

So back to the humble scarf! The beginner is likely to make a scarf that is all singles or doubles, or an alternating pattern of one row of each, such as this:

Simple, pretty, and warm!

Not that I'm bashing any scarf that uses all singles or doubles.  Such a scarf can be beautiful and fun to make.  Or, if it is like this ribbed scarf, a real challenge because of it's time consuming nature:
Not quick.

It is entirely possible to get really creative when it comes to scarves and to create some really beautiful pieces which are even a moderate challenge (or at least not a total brain coma) for the more advanced crochet ninja.  So today I'm going to share a few of my favorite crochet scarf patterns that I've picked up from Ravelry.

The first one I want to share is a pattern for a lattice scarf (if you did it in green, it could be your "lettuce lattice"... heehee).  This one is mostly doubles, I made it as a Christmas gift a few years back.  What I like about this one is your yarn seems to go further than usual, and it makes a really nice straight edge down the sides of the scarf.  While this one looks good in a solid, in variegated the colours tend to lump up in interesting ways, it looks pretty cool:

Manly yes, but kitty likes it too.

Another fun one is this acacia scarf:

Love the colour on this one.

While the original calls for a solid colour, I also made this one in a varigated colour.  I like this pattern because (although it is hard to see in a varigated colour) there is a bit of variation in the pattern.  You work two rows of half-doubles, then do two rows of clusters.  The overall result makes for a very nice scarf.  This is also one of very few patterns I've found in which the scarf is worked lengthwise instead of widthwise.  This allows for the possibility of doing long stripes as the pattern changes, which would look really neat.

And last but not least is the pattern I call the "honeymoon scarf" pattern, because the first time I made it was when I was on a 14 hour plane ride on the way to Japan for my honeymoon (it's real title is spring petals scarf).  You can get A LOT of crochet done in an environment like that...

Ah, memories.
This one is a bit tricky to get started.  While it's mostly groups of three doubles, they are tilted on an angle, and the stitch where they are worked stretches out to create a little wave of sorts.  I find this one to be a pretty fast pattern and also really addictive.  I'm currently making my fifth scarf using this pattern to give away for a Christmas gift this year.

So while none of these are real brain-scratchers to figure out (but who really wants to be driven to tears by a pattern anyway?), I found them to be fun winter wear that allows for a bit of personality and creativity.  And of course if you are like me the best part of all these scarves is not only in the making but the wearing.  And the pride of being able to say to your friends and co-workers, "yeah, I made it myself".  Good luck doing that with a doily.

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