Well good afternoon to you hooky friends.
You're so welcome to join me on my little happy scrappy journey. Today I should like to chat to you about selecting yarn for your Happy Scrappy Scarf. Yummy, scrummy yarn!
Now, before I continue, I should like to stress that all opinions and thought processes detailed here are mine. I'm not an expert, I'm just a girl who has been crocheting for five years, simply learning through my own experiences (and mistakes!). I might do or say something that contradicts what you've read elsewhere or your own already-established preferences. Then again, I may not. Once you've learnt the basic crochet stitches, there really is no right or wrong. Despite having my own very definite modus operandi, it always really interests me to hear about the different ways people do things.
Right-o. First off, I want to make my scarf using yarn I already have in my stash (other than a little top-up of the raspberry colour I mentioned in my last post). I think I am reasonably monogamous when it comes to yarn. I tend to build up a collection of my favourites rather than buy random odds and sods. Consequently, I had no problems when selecting the yarn I wanted to use. If you are wanting to make a scarf using a combination of yarn brands, I would advise that you consider the following:-
Yarn thickness. Ideally you want yarns of the same weight. The 'recommended hook size' printed on the yarn band will be the best indication of thickness. (A quick search of one of the larger online yarn suppliers will provide this information if your yarn band has long since been thrown away.) If you use differing weights of yarn, you will struggle keeping a consistent tension or nice straight edges.
Yarn ingredients. Acrylic, cotton, wool and silk not only feel different to each other, but they behave very differently too. It may be how they stretch or drape, it may be how they wear over time. They also require different after-care. You wouldn't pop your favourite cashmere jumper or silk undies in the washing machine with your cottons, would you?
Two additional factors come into consideration for me when choosing yarn for a scarf. Firstly and probably most obviously, is comfort. I don't have particularly sensitive skin but I cannot bear anything rough or scratchy next to my skin. Particularly around my neck or near my face. A scarf simply has to be soft. End of. Never be afraid of rubbing a ball of yarn against your cheeks when in shops. I do it frequently and have yet to be pulled up on it. I daresay if you climbed up onto the shelves and started writhing around, you may get the odd funny look though … ;-)
Secondly, I don't know if you remember my Fruity Scarf?
Secondly, I don't know if you remember my Fruity Scarf?
I loved that scarf. I still do. I crocheted it with Rooster Almerino dk which is 50% alpaca and 50% merino wool. It's wonderfully soft against my skin and drapes beautifully but it absolutely STINKS if it gets wet. The first time I wore it, I got caught in a downpour and I smelled like I had a soggy labrador around my neck. Pooey! For this reason, I'm now quite wary of selecting yarn with a high wool content when it comes to making something I intend to wear.
I've used Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino a lot (most recently for my January Infinity Scarf) so am confident it doesn't pong to high heaven if it gets wet!
Ok. So now we've got the practicalities of yarn out of the way, let's talk about my favourite bit … the colours!!! (You can't see me but I'm clapping my hands excitedly!)
I personally don't subscribe to the colour wheel rules thing when I select colours. Not consciously anyway. I think we all perceive colours differently. I've discussed this in a previous blog post I'm sure - where I see pink, my son sees orange and where I see red, my husband sees orange. Colour combination preferences are also, I think, a matter of taste. My idea of a pleasing combination may not be yours. In my opinion, Lucy uses a very distinctive colour palette. It's joyful and bright and full of energy but it wouldn't be my choice. My chosen palette is a little more muted and pastel. Neither of us is wrong. The first thing I made a bee-line for when I stepped into her craft room was this …
It's my absolute favourite of all her many makes because I just adore the colours. I'm pretty sure she would admit they're not her usual selection.
I've recently been watching (and thoroughly enjoying) a new-to-me podcast, Knitting Expat. I think (hope) I'm right in saying that Mina generally doesn't seem to 'do' pink. (What???) Her favourite colour combination is blue and orange. She's so lovely and watchable that I'm more than happy to overlook this madness …! ;-) As I said, subjective. How boring would life be if we all liked the same things?
It's therefore no great surprise when I look at the pile of yarn I've selected for my Happy Scrappy Scarf so far.
Twelve colours plus the raspberry (which has just this minute been delivered by the Postman! Hooray!) They may change a little as I progress, I'll see.
As I've said, this is to be an easy scarf that is a celebration of all of my favourite colours. It's to be crocheted in stripes of double crochet (US single crochet) using a 5mm hook (despite what you see on my yarn band above - I'll explain why in tomorrow's post).
Can I be honest with you? I don't think I'm very good at random. That's why I've enlisted the help of this random stripe generator. I want coloured stripes of 4, 6 or 8 rows only. Bearing in mind the colours aren't a perfect match, I've generated a few different sequences ...
It fascinates me how different they are to each other. I think I'm favouring the fourth one. I popped the five different combinations on top of each other in the first 'scarf' below to produce a 100% random striped pattern. The second 'scarf' is the fourth square repeated five times. It looks just as random at first glance but there is a pattern which I think appeals to me more.
Design Seeds is also a fabulous resource for inspiration, particularly if you are wanting to use fewer colours.
Well, that's about it for today's post. If you have any yarn-related comments or questions or if you think I've overlooked something, do please give me a shout.
Tomorrow I shall go into the construction details and officially kick off the 'Happy Scrappy Scarf-A-Long' for those of you who have expressed a desire to make your own.