This project came about because of a fleece to garment day that was held in a lovely old barn last year. Several guilds took part (the guild that I belong to came 3rd - or second to last!) It was a great day with all sorts going on and I'm really looking forward to taking part again this year. The garment(s) we had to produce were two knitted scarves, knitted end to end - 125 stitches on size 8 needles for 25 rows. The finished scarves had multicoloured lengthways stripes and were extremely pretty - so naturally I thought "I could do that at home" - and, being more of a crocheter than a knittter the natural progression was to crochet my scarf rather than knit it.
The fibre I have used for this project is commercially prepared and dyed Merino tops. I've chosen warm reds and pinks with a little white for highlights. I bought the tops from my fav crafty shop - Handweavers Studio in Walthamstow.
The tops come as tightly wound balls which need to be opened out and then split. To do this I hold the top up and gently peel off a strip from one side (see pic) - if the top is fairly new this will be relatively easy. However if it's been in the bag for a while it may resist a bit.
Once I have my strips ready I then pre-draft them prior to spinning - this just makes it easier to control the thickness of the yarn that's being spun. (If you want to mix colours you can do so quite easily at this stage by pre-drafting two colours together or by pre-drafting two colours separately and then winding them into balls together).
To pre-draft simply hold the yarn in your left hand (if you're right handed) and, with your right hand, pinch between forefinger and thumb and pull gently toward you - just enough to open the fibres up - not so much that they drift apart. The strip you end up with is much longer and thinner and the fibres are very open - this is the key to controlling the fibre during spinning.
I then wind all my pre-drafted wool into loose balls (I used to use "nests" but I find that they snag more, when you're trying to spin, if you move them about too much).
I then spin on my Ashford Joy spinning wheel and ply into a two ply yarn which I like to wind into centre pull balls ready to be crocheted.
I had six colours - two pinks, two warm reds, a deep burgundy and almost white (one ply white and one ply mixed white and red).
For this project I spun a yarn that was about 17 wraps per inch. The finished scarf weighed 75g. This means that it weighs about .4 of a gramme per 10cm square.
CROCHETING THE SCARF
The final phase is to crochet the yarn into a scarf.
For this scarf I used a crochet hook that's around about 3mm (It's an antique bone hook so I can't be exact but this is a reasonable estimate). I crocheted 200 stitches lengthways then, using double crochet (American singles), I randomly changed colour for each row until I'd completed 39 rows. My scarf measures approx 49 inches by 6 inches (125cm x 15cm)
I then washed it in a gentle woollen washing liquid and blocked the scarf to finish - I don't always do this but these scarves tend to go a little curly if you don't also it does give a smarter finish, which I felt was appropriate here.
The yarn weight is unimportant as you can change to an appropriate size of hook for your yarn and then crochet an appropriate number of stitches - this is dependent on the length that you want your scarf to be (I like a shortish scarf that can easily be tucked into the top of whatever woolly I'm wearing - but this isn't to everyone's taste). you can use your own colours and if you're not a spinner you can use commercial yarns - these projects are a great way to use up oddments - you can create scarves with a rainbow of colours and a myriad of touchy, feely textures. So have a go it's simple and can be completed quite quickly.