After what seems like an extraordinary amount of time, my grannies paperweight crochet scarf is now all fit for modelling in the Autumn sunshine….
A few years ago I fell in love with the Grannies Paperweight crochet pattern (otherwise known as the African Flower pattern) after seeing a beautiful blanket on Flickr by Andamento, and after I tried it out using acryllic yarn (and not particularly caring for the results), I then thought it would be the perfect project to make using tapestry wool as that seems to come in a million and one different colours, certainly a wider range than most wool companies produce.
I was very happy with the results, wonderful combinations of colours that took me by surprise blended together perfectly, and making hexagons that varied often only a little in rich and gentle hues and tones of one colour made the crochet pulsate and look like a jewel box when it was being spread out on the carpet while it slowly grew bigger.
While I was still making the blanket I began to think of other ways I could use this pattern and because as soon as the joined hexagons became large enough, I was finding myself wrapping them around my shoulders, I thought about making something I could wear out and about…I love being able to fling something around myself in dramatic and affected way (think Miss Piggy having a full blown diva moment) and so I began work on a scarf.
While I’ve been crocheting the tapestry wool I’m aware that the wool varies in thickness somewhat from brand to brand, and that I use particular brands differently..
Certain vintage brands like Penelope or Beehive are slightly fuzzy and I think these work best either for round three or for joining the hexagons together. Vintage anchor wool from old needlepoint kits is also very good for joining the hexagons together.
More modern Anchor, DMC and Rowan wools are plumper and seem to work better for the other rounds.
Although you don’t have to use tapestry wool (indeed, if I had the budget I’d use wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland or Jamieson and Smith as both their colour ranges are really rather breath-taking) it was a lot more affordable than you’d think. Most of the wool I’ve used has been sourced from Antique shops/flea markets/ jumble sales/ charity shops/car boots….very little has been purchased new (although I’m a sucker for DMC shade number 7120 and I never find that second hand…it’s a lovely soft barely there pink, the colour of faded rose petals)
Generally before I start anything I like to have a little play around with colour, I always up-end a big bag of tapestry wool and have a good old mess about with the different wools, comparing colours and different tones together.
And I’ll often paint out combinations of particular colours I have a fancy to before crocheting….sometimes the colours work, sometimes they don’t but I never see this time spent as wasted.
To make a scarf you’ll need to start off by making 4 rounds of a grannies paperweight hexagon.
I found it a bit easier to make a dozen or so little circles for the centre of the hexagon at a time, before making them bigger and working on the other rounds..
(these are a whole load of little half hexagons that I got a tad carried away with making…..)
When I was first trying to learn how to make a grannies paperweight hexagon, the very best tutorial I found for making them was on lovely Heidi Bear’s blog, and her tutorial on making them is exceptional, however she makes her hexagons larger than mine, I prefer to make them smaller as I think it makes the colour more intense. She also suggests using a 5mm hook but I find a smaller hook size suits me better.
I found I got a nicer result when I used two different hook sizes. (the smaller hook pokes through those top stitches of round 3 a treat and then helps form a nice dense band of colour when you join the hexagons together.
For the first 3 rounds I use a 4 mm hook and then change to a 3.25mm hook for rounds 4 and 5.
As well as changing hook size I also changed the type of hook…I prefer to use a Clover Soft Touch for the 4mm hook and then I switch to a Brittany wooden hook for the 3.25. (The Brittany hook has a lovely pokey tip and I found it was smoother than the Clover one)
After you’ve made a dozen or so hexagons (only up to round 4), you can begin to lay them out, have a play with which hexagons look best together. This bit is so much fun, it’s rather like a jigsaw puzzle where, although all the pieces are the same shape, positioning a piece in a particular place either works (making all it’s neighbours sing) or looks a bit pants.
Once you’re happy with your arrangement, you can begin to join them together,
Heidi has a lovely easy to follow tutorial on how to join the hexagons just here.
The hexagons are placed together a bit like bricks on top of one another, 1, then 2, then 1 then 2 and so on until the scarf is at the length you require. Both ends of the scarf will be finished with a single hexagon.
The sides will each have a row of half hexagon gaps along them, these will then be filled with half hexagons.
I found it easier to make the half hexagons once the whole ones had been made and joined together as they are crocheted back and forth rather than in a round and it gave me a headache trying to switch back and forth.
I was also able to spread the scarf out and make a note of any particular colours I felt were lacking or that I thought would fit in nicely.
Joining in the half hexagons is a bit more fiddlesome than joining together the whole ones. At this point I often stop and make a pot of tea.
I used Jamieson’s of Shetland wool (double knit weight) as it was perfect to use for the edging as it was almost the same weight as the tapestry wool.
I used a Brittany 3.25 hook to crochet the edging.
I use slightly less stitches when I crochet across the edge of the half hexagon as it flattens off any “fat tummies” that may be bulging out from the sides of the scarf. (it’s like “magic tummy knickers” for your crochet.)
Once the edging has been crocheted then I’d really recommend gently washing your scarf in a special wool conditioner (tapestry wool isn’t the softest in the world) and then blocking it out and allowing it to dry thoroughly.
The scarf has two “pointy” ends which I think would look fantastic finished with super fat pom poms (however my boyfriend has very somber tastes and I think pom poms on this scarf would be the very end of enough for him.)
Using a little bit of what seems to be about every colour there is going means this will look just perfect worn with anything, there’s nothing it won’t look spectacular with.
My hexagons are made up of 5 rounds, each round has 2 ends or tails so 10 per hexagon (even the halfsies which doesn’t really seem fair) so that’s 690 woolly tails to sew in when you’re all finished crocheting.
Regarding how much yarn is used…these are approximate measurements as it varies a little on which brand of wool you’re using (as they differ in thickness)
round one…..60 inches
round two…98 inches
round three…155 inches
round four…91 inches
round five (where you join into two sides*)…169 inches
round one…43 inches
round two…55 inches
round three….87 inches
round four………53 inches
round five (joining the half hexagon to three sides)…127 inches
Tapestry wool skeins vary from 9 yards up to 15 yards. There are 36 inches in a yard.
For my scarf I made 43 whole hexagons and 26 half hexagons using roughly about 948 yards of wool for all the hexagons. I forgot to measure the wool for the edging but it doesn’t use all that much. (a ball of dk wool will be plenty)
This has really been Inspired by memories of buying a little paper bag full of fair rock from the shop down the road when I was small (sadly an old time sweetie that doesn’t seem to have been resurrected), mixed in with those beautiful millefleur paperweights that you often find in antique centres and sumptously embroidered velvet collars on evening coats designed by Paul Poiret, I’ve made this scarf so you can wrap yourself all up in every colour under the sun and then some.
Please understand, this isn’t a weekend make, it’s going to take a while (I started mine in the Spring of 2013 or thereabouts and though I wasn’t working on it all the time it won’t be fastest scarf you ever crochet) but I think it’s worth it.
I’d also like to thank Heidi Bears so much for her tutorials which made sense of how to make this hexagon.