Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP Wednesday June 29th

Today's Work In Progress is a very l-o-n-g project--my crochet learning curve. Talk about something continually in progress! I guess I would consider myself an intermediate level crocheter--I can read patterns and charts, I can do alot of stitches beyond the basics, I've tried some techniques like Tunisian and mosaic crochet. On the other hand, I've never made something where fit was crucial, and I've tended to stick with "ordinary" yarns. So, the Crocus Bud scarf that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago was my very first project with sock yarn. Last I showed you it was being blocked:

P1040056

And here it is all done!


Close up:


I really like it, but I noticed something when I put in on--it wasn't holding the block. The scarf was getting longer and narrower instead of staying in the nice open lacy pattern. I thought maybe it was just the weight of the yarn, the pattern calls for lace weight where mine is in sock weight. Or maybe I needed blocking wires instead of pinning it out. Or maybe I hadn't let it dry thoroughly when I blocked it. So I blocked it again, and let it dry for about 3 days, but still the same thing. So I asked around on Ravelry and learned a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff I didn't know about sock yarn! For instance, many sock yarns are a blend of wool and nylon, which helps the yarn "spring back" into shape better after it's stretched. That's a desirable property in a sock, right? But not so much in a lacy scarf. Dug out the label for my yarn--75% merino, 25% nylon. Eureka! There's my issue.

One raveler gave me a lot of helpful info to consider:

"More than anything, spring back has to do with quite a few factors and can’t necessarily be applied the same way to each and every yarn. Those factors are: nylon content; natural fiber content (is it superwash wool? is it low crimp fiber that will hold a block great, like cashmere, alpaca, llama, cotton? is it a toothier wool, like shetland, as opposed to a high micron count like merino? does the yarn have a high twist, lots of bounce, or low twist, little or no bounce?); manmade fiber content, other than nylon (rayons like bamboo block really well, acrylics can be “killed” with a steam block, but it has to be done very carefully so as not to melt the acrylic); and how the blocking is done."

Other helpful things I learned:

1. Sock yarn is generally "fingering weight", but a fingering weight yarn might not be sock yarn. Sock yarn is usually blended to be well-suited to socks (doh!), like my yarn with 25% nylon.

2. Many sock yarns are made with superwash wool, which can behave quite differently than other wools when you get it wet to block it, it has a tendency to grow alot but shrinks back when it dries.

I may try to steam block my scarf, or I may just frog a few rows to shorten it, since it's a bit long as is. Definitely was a learning experience for me! And I'll know a bit more going into my next "fancy yarn" project.

Be sure to head over to Tami's Amis for more great WIP Wednesday

13 comments:

Leah said...

The scarf looks gorgeous, even if there were blocking issues. Great colours!

Shanti said...

I think your scarf is very pretty.
Isn't it amazing the amount of things there is to know about fibers and yarns?

Napiligal said...

I have to admit I am not usually a fan of crocheted work. BUT, this is beautiful (even with the blocking issues). congratulations of a beautiful project and learning about yarn

Sara said...

The scarf looks amazing. That pattern is good PR for crochet. I learned a lot from your post! Thanks for including all the info.

Sandy said...

Looks great, pretty color and pattern, but can see it continuing to grow as a problem. Making it shorter will help, though you're still be losing the open lacy part, probably. Thanks for the info, I didn't know most of what you posted

Christina said...

Huh - I didn't know that about the different types of yarn! Regardless of it stretching or shrinking I think it looks beautiful :D

Tami Klockau said...

The scarf is amazingly beautiful and because of it you've learned some great things about yarn!

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula said...

I really like your scarf, either way!

Your post is also very interesting, thank you for sharing

Chrisknits said...

I would also wonder if the combo of the yarn and the crochet is also at fault. I have used tons of sock yarn to knit shawls and have never had an issue with the item losing it's lace definition or growing longer. The yarn combined with the crochet, plus the form of a scarf may all have contributed to the issue.

Calophi said...

I'm having a similar problem with my crocheted shawl that's made out of a "sock yarn". It's a triangle, and the part around the neck just hunched back in on itself. I decided to just deal with it, but it's a bit frustrating.

Cami said...

Wow! That is very, very pretty!

SimonSimple said...

That scarf is really pretty. I admire that you try crochet, I do Tusnian on and off but can't get in the the normal kind. Good job.