Wednesday, 25 May 2011

WIP Wednesday - Willow Scarf

I've seen this idea on a few blogs recently - WIP Wednesday, where you talk/write about something that you're working on. And since I only seem to write about projects when they're done now, I decided to try to implement it on my own blog. I kind of miss tracking the progress of large projects, and it's somehow less satisfying to only have one post saying "look, here's a sweater" and that's it.

This week's WIP is the Willow Scarf. This is a pattern (found on ravelry here) by Vikki Harding of Wild Fire Fibres. It's a rectangular scarf with a repeating lace pattern.

WIP Wednesday - Willow Scarf

I'm using 2 cones of lace/cobweb-weight yarn held together to make more of a fingering weight yarn, on 4mm straight needles (yes, I've resurrected my straights for this, and I'm quite enjoying it!) It's making a nice fabric, not to thin or flyaway, which it definitely would be with one strand of yarn.

It's acrylic, but the lace is still showing well, and I've used this yarn and needle combination before, so I know it'll look even better when it's steam-blocked.

WIP Wednesday - Willow Scarf

Lots of people think you can't block acrylic, but steam-blocking does open it up and make it look a lot nicer. You just won't get the big size increase that you can get by blocking wool. Whatever the knit size is, that's the size it's going to stay. But you can still make it look really nice with steam-blocking.

To block acrylic, I just lay the scarf out flat and hold my iron a few inches over it (NEVER directly on the fabric!!!) then I press the steam button. I get the fabric nice and saturated with steam then take the iron away and lay it to the side (VERY important, I always take time to think during this process, and make sure it's away, I don't want to burn myself!) then I flatten the scarf out a bit with both of my hands, stretching the lace out so the holes open up.

This scarf is about 3/4 done. My rule of thumb with scarves is to hold it between both hands across my body so it'll be about the size of my wingspan (the same height as me, I understand, though I've never actually measured myself and tested that theory) I don't tend to measure it out very often. I used to religiously measure out 60" or whatever the pattern said with a tape measure, but really, does it matter if it's an inch or two or even ten off? If I can hold it out between both hands without folding my wrists or elbows in, then it's done to me. I'm either more lazy or easygoing about this stuff now, I'm not entirely sure which, lol!

This project is my couch knitting. Because I'm using the two cones together, it has to be beside and slightly beneath me or the cones fall about everywhere, so I've got them in a paper bag beside the couch, and I pull the yarn up from there. It means it's less portable, but I can get a repeat or so done at a time and I can see progress.

I've technically memorised the pattern, but I still get halfway through the repeat and need to check the chart. It doesn't seem to matter what half I finish, the first or second, I still need to verify where I am with the chart. But since it's not one of my portable projects, that doesn't really matter, I suppose.

I'm enjoying working on this in my piecemeal fashion, doing a few rows at a time whenever I can sit down long enough. I started this back in March, so it's one of my more longer projects, but I'm enjoying it very much.


Kate said...

It's a really lovely colour. :-D What is the yarn? The only acrylic laceweights I've seen have been in baby colours which aren't very wearable!

I do admire you knitting a rectangular scarf, too, as I have so many patterns I'd love to knit but I always get bored before they're really long enough. I have no patience. :-(

Yarndancer said...

I've no idea what the yarn is, unfortunately :( I found these two cones at a charity shop. I think a production place somewhere must have been clearing out, because there was quite a lot of acrylic cones. Of course, I didn't know any better at the time, and bought two cones of tiny, tiny yarn which is obviously for machine knitting lol! It didn't have any label, but by experimentation I figured out it was acrylic rather than wool.

Julie said...

That is such a gorgeous scarf!! incredible colour, too.

JAH said...

This is the first time I've heard of WIP Wednesday and now I too just might have to steal the idea - thanks for sharing!

Oh, and lovely scarf too!

Fiona said...

I do like the idea of WIP Wednesday and I do document alot of my projects on my blog (the ones in favour) BUT I think I'd be shocked (and a little shamefaced) if I listed them all in one go....