Even though the bank holiday had rather wretched wet and windy weather there was a silver lining as it allowed me to nest down on the sofa with endless pots of very nice tea* and finish sewing in all the remaining woolly tails on the back of my grannies paperweight scarf…
I’m not sure exactly when I started making the scarf, sometime in the Spring of 2013 because I’d been working on the grannies paperweight blanket by then and just loved the pattern so much that I then wanted to be able to wear something using it.
Now it’s all made up it reminds me very much of those beautiful turn of the century coats by Paul Poiret that had sumptuous velvet embroideries down the front, and while recently re-watching The House of Elliot**, noticed Miss Evie wearing a rather nice coat that had a raised collar that was all embroidered in what I think of as “Bloomsbury” colours.
Rather than join the hexagons together into a flower shape or cluster of 7, the hexagons are joined 2 on top and 1 to the side with half hexagons used to fill in the gaps.
When I first tried making the half hexagons I found them really difficult and other people’s patterns I’d seen for them weren’t really what I needed to fit into my blanket, however when I made my shawl I came up with a way that worked best for me so over Christmas I sat down and just made a whole load of them and before I knew it I’d made enough for the tops and bottoms of the blanket (tails of which are still slowly being sewn in….) as well as half hexagons for the scarf and some extras for a pair of cushions (which have yet to be finished, )…
Then once the half hexagons were all joined in it was a case of sewing in the woolly tails on the back (and yes I know there is a way where you join them in as you crochet along but whenever I do it like that then I get a fat lumpy side and the crochet looks proper peculiar, I can only think it’s because I’m doing something wrong as I’ve seen other peoples crochet worked this way and their’s looks fine…) Each hexagon has 10 tails (even the half hexagons) so they soon add up. It’s probably the part I like the least, it’s boring more than anything else and I can always find something more enjoyable to sew or work on instead.
However, as the weather was so wet, and rather chilly I thought it best to get this finished so I can be all ready to wrap myself up and keep warm as Autumn’s presence is being felt. (I do feel the cold something rotten and seem to have a 101 scarves, and it’s the ones I made myself that I always get the nicest comments on….it was great getting stopped by a lady who said “is that the dottie angel scarf” and we then spent a few minutes squidging the puffs of my scarf together.
Once all the tails were sewn in, my scarf was pretty much ready to wear though the sides were a tad on the lumpy side…I decided a very simple edging would probably work the best at pulling in the bumpy bits (the crochet version of magic knickers) and also I didn’t want to do anything too fancy as I knew that would just make the scarf too wide (in the past I’ve made scarves that I could barely see over once they were wrapped around me and when my face gets too covered my glasses steam up.) I’ve used Jamieson’s of Shetland double knitting wool before when I was edging the cushion fronts and thought this would be the best wool to use for a simple single crochet edge.
The rest of the scarf was used in tapestry wool and the Jamieson’s wool has a very similar texture and weight to it. And their colours are lovely. I’ve used mint as that seemed to look the nicest against the colours used in the main part of the scarf.
The edging was pretty easy to do though I’m explaining it in a fair bit of detail because when I learnt to crochet I really needed every part shown thoroughly or I just didn’t understand what I was supposed to do…..if you can crochet then please bear with me.
(ohh and I’m using Brittany crochet hooks, they are lovely to use and mean I can crochet all day and not get achy hands or fingers)
First up, make a slip knot and slip it over your hook and tighten, then insert your hook into the gap that you’ll see at the corner of the two sides. The edging is worked under the stitches, (between the bars) rather than through the chains that lay horizontally around the edge. Make a chain and then make a single crochet stitch. (This is all UK terminology)
Just keep working along the edge making the single crochet stitches through the bars along the side.
When you get to the end of the side, make a single crochet stitch in that little corner gap and then make another one next to it. (if you want you can make a chain between them but I didn’t. I think it depends a bit on the weight of the wool you use…try both ways if you like as the edging is easy to un-ravel if you don’t like it.)
Now just work along the second side, making a single crochet stitch through each “bar” on the side.
When you get to the corner there are two different ways you can work the corner….
You can avoid inserting the hook into the gap at the end of the first side, and instead insert it straight into the gap of the second hexagon (this is what I’m doing in the picture above.) Scoop the wool round the hook and pull it through the gap and continue to make a single crochet stitch before working along the rest of the third side.
I crochet quite tightly and found this looked better for me. However, depending on the wool you use and how you crochet you may prefer this way….
Insert your hook in to the gap on the first hexagon, scoop up the wool around your hook and pull it through the gap, now with that wool still on your hook, insert your hook into the gap in the next hexagon, wrap the wool round the hook and scoop it through. You’ll now have what look like 3 stitches on your hook, pull them all through the first stitch on your hook and then continue along the rest of the side with the single crochet stitches.
Whichever method you use, make sure you only go through the corner gaps and not between the two hexagons where they join together.
When you get to the corner you’ll need to make 2 single crochet stitches in the gap, and again, if you want you can make a chain between them. It’s completely up to you.
When you work along the edge of a whole hexagon, crochet between the bars exactly like you did for the previous sides. When you crochet along the edge of a half hexagon it’s a little different.
This time you work just under the bottom of the stitch and you want to make about 12 stitches along the half in total so you aren’t working under every stitch. I know this sounds a bit odd but I found that this helps keep the bumpy bit in line (think of it working like magic knickers for when you’ve had too much cake).
Try not to make a stitch right at the start and end of a half hexagon so the stitches through the gaps of the whole hexagons have enough space.
If you click this picture it’ll come up nice and big and you’ll see the start and end stitch through the gaps in the whole hexagons either side, and then you’ll be able to count 12 stitches along the half hexagon between them.
I promise you it’s a lot easier than it sounds.
Then you just continue like that all the way around the edge of the scarf before joining it off and sewing in those 2 last tails.
At this point it really is ready to wear and in the past I would have been out and about with this all draped around me, however this Summer I blocked a couple of scarves and couldn’t believe the difference it made (also tapestry wool which I’ve used is a bit scratchy so giving the wool a gentle wash in a special wool conditioner will help the scarf feel nicer as well as looking much better.)
After a little soak in some lukewarm water and wool conditioner I let the water drain before folding the scarf over and over and then pressing out the water, it’s important not to squeeze or wring it as then it’s going to look a bit rum.
I then laid out some towels out along on the floor which I’d folded a few times so they were a nice thickness and then laid out the scarf.
Working out from the middle I pinned the scarf at all of the points where the hexagons joined together, and using a ruler made sure that the scarf was nice and even all the way along….I didn’t use special blocking pins just cheap ones that I’d been given but which I found were too thick to use for my everyday sewing (though I’m thinking I may need to get some of the proper blocking pins and some mats for future projects).
The hexagons look a bit “soft” and hazy and in part this is because as you know I’m no David Bailey but also this is the reverse. I laid the scarf out face down as Bernard will keep laying on things that are on the floor and I didn’t then want this covered with cat fluff. (and I knew if I laid any towels over the top then those pins would only be stood on)
I left the scarf for two days like this and then when it was pretty much dry folded it into four before placing it in our airing cupboard so it could completely dry through and we’d get our living room back.
Pictures of the scarf all finished and modelled will be coming along with all the relevant links to post on how I made it.
*this is the nicest tea I’ve ever had and could happily drink it ’til the cows come home.
**(ooh and if you enjoyed The House of Elliot I’d thoroughly recommend Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries…it’s a good series to watch but the costumes totally steal the show. It’s set in the Twenties and it’s an Australian drama, one episode even has Shane Ramsey from Neighbours in it doing a well dodgy French accent. It’s about a lady detective called Phryne Fisher who has a habit of getting into mischief while wearing the most incredible looking clothes. There’s a fair bit of romance and brief liasions with her and what seems like a new dishy fella occur in each episode but that doesn’t stop her from still flirting terribly with the local police inspector. It’s available as dvds so you should be able to hire it from your local library. Essie Davies as Miss Fisher is so good and she really suits those lovely period costumes.