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:
And here it is all done!
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