Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Scarf v 2.0

Remind me why I agreed to making my brother in law a scarf? Oh yeah, because I can't say no.

Also I'm sure part of it was because how much he gushed he loved Brian's scarf and as you know, flattery gets you everywhere!

The first attempt was just that... an attempt. It was going okay until I sat back and looked at it. The constant yarn changes made it look like it had tassels on one side and I think because of that, I forgot the first rule in crocheting: count your stitches.

Every row seemed to have more and more stitches. Finally, I noticed that my scarf was getting wider and wider.... but since I had been cutting and knotting the yarn every 2 rows, there was no way I could rip it out and start over easily.

It will make a nice washcloth. Lol.

I know there were three things I did wrong with it before.

1) I forgot to count my stitches. This means EVERY row. It's not the first row that is the issue, it's the row that is somewhere in the middle. I started with 32 stitches at the bottom. At the top? I ended up with 41. That means somewhere along the lines, I added 9 additional stitches, causing it to get wider at the top.

2) I didn't use stitch markers for the specialty stitches. This isn't really required for every crocheter. Just the ones like me who have trouble visualizing where things go. This one sort of goes hand in hand with the counting stitches; it's to make sure I am not adding any additional stitches, special or not. It's a little hard to see, but you can tell the pattern isn't straight down in a line.

3) I made it too complicated. The color changes are something I am not so good at, so of course I was clumsy and over-thinking the solution. The color change happens every two rows and only on the left hand side (right hand side if you are a righty). I was cutting the yarn and weaving in ends every 5 minutes. I was clumsy and butterfingers trying to hold on to the cut yarn and the new yarn at the same time.

My only option at this point was to start completely over. I couldn't even unravel the yarn, so it's pretty much wasted. Bummer-rama. No point in crying over spilled milk, so I got started on the second attempt. Version 2.0 I have been calling it.

Here's how I am fixing my mistakes:

1.) I read the pattern and counted out 19 completed stitches per row. So each row, as I crochet, I count the completed stitches. When I make it to the end of the row, I count the stitches again. If there is any number other than 19, the row gets ripped out and started over again until there is 19 stitches. Usually, I end up skipping a stitch or putting 2 stitches in one hole.

2.) I got out my fancy stitch markers and I counted out how many stitches down the row it took to get to the first specialty stitch. Then I placed a marker for each one. Each time I complete the specialty row, I move the markers up. It doesn't matter that I know what stitch they are on, it helps me look at a glance that I am keeping everything in line. Which is essential for a pattern.

3.) To keep my yarn changes as simple as possible, I went on YouTube and various crocheting resources and looked up how to "carry" yarn. Carrying yarn is where you don't cut it off after you've used it, that way it keeps the number of loose ends to a minimum. I am leaving both balls of yarn attached and switching every two rows. It takes a little bit of practice and looks a bit odd... but it's so much easier.

The pattern is a lot easier to see and also straight!

I also decided that I should probably know how wide my scarf is and how long I plan on making it. I measured its width and came up with 6 inches. The length is about 17 inches. I have 17 stripes, or 34 rows. It takes me approximately 5 minutes to do 2 rows. Each 2 rows equals about an inch.

Since this sort of falls into the category of "skinny" scarf, it also has to be a little long. Brian's brother gets annoyed when his scarves are too long. He claims he ends up tucking them under his armpit haha! So Brian will be my test subject...once again. Poor Brian. I think it needs to be about 4 feet long, or 48 inches. Most scarves are anywhere from 60-72 inches in length. It should take me an additional 3 hours to get the required length. Give or take.

I think I found my hobby. I find myself reading and browsing patterns all the time. I love looking at crochet books and trying new techniques. I like Googling resources to figure out my crochet conundrums. I really enjoy all aspects of it. I'm even reading a murder mystery series about crochet. I don't even really like murder mysteries. Yet, I can so relate to the main character. About not feeling like I've got the hang of crochet, but I don't really care because I am so addicted to it. That I have waaaay to much yarn for as little projects as I have completed. The feeling of immense self satisfaction at finishing ANYTHING.

Anyway, I only took a break from crocheting so I could remember to upload the pictures I had taken and get this blog published. Now it's time for a quick bite to eat and back to the grindstone. I really want to get this completed before I have the baby. Hurry hurry...


  1. It looks so great! I just used stitch counters for the first time too on this poncho shawl I made. It was SO much easier! It looks fantastic. Good work. Isn't it fun?


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