Monday, November 28, 2011

The Case of the Curlies

Over the past several months I've made one scarf after another. Honestly, that seems to be my project of choice on a subconscious level. I truly dream of making sweaters and more complicated projects, but I guess deep within my psyche is an impatient need to complete a project quickly.

The scarf I'm currently working on is giving me a bit of trouble. It's curlier than anything I've crocheted in quite some time. I've researched this subject a bit online and found confirmation that single crochet does tend to curl, and that's exactly the stitch I'm using for this scarf.

[caption id="attachment_168" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="The scarf before blocking."]Before Blocking[/caption]

How will I be able to correct this curliness? With my good friend Blocking. You know, blocking is something I didn't learn about until I started listening to Yarncraft podcasts. In all the years I had spent crocheting no one else had ever mentioned to me directly, nor had I heard talk of, blocking anything that I stitched.

If you're not familiar with blocking then don't be afraid. It's really quite a simple task. Basically, you're steaming or washing your finished piece of work then pinning it down in the desired shape while it dries so that your stitches are allowed to settle into the fabric. Different yarns will block differently so make sure to pay attention to the recommended washing instructions on your yarn label. If you're using wool yarn you'll want to make sure you don't felt your fabric unless that's the intended effect.

I haven't had blocking boards or pins in my tool arsenal so I've had to make do with what I have around the house. I have towels and lots of straight pins from sewing, which is pretty much all you need to get started with blocking. I layer two or three bath towels and place them on the floor, then I wash or steam my crocheted pieces according to the yarn label directions. After I have gently removed as much water as possible from the pieces then I lay them out on the towels. I gently stretch and shape the pieces to the size each one is supposed to be, then I use my straight pins to secure the pieces. You may only need to pin down the corners, however you may need to place a pin every few inches. Pay special attention to how quickly your crocheted pieces try to shrink up after you tug on them. The faster the yarn pulls back in the more pins you may need to use. After that just let your pieces dry then you can claim your project to be complete or finish up with any final stitching if needed.

Here is my finished scarf after blocking. For the record I didn't need to use pins this time around. I pulled the scarf into the position it needed to be in while it was wet, then just let it dry. I looked in on it periodically to make sure it was still laying flat while it dried.

[caption id="attachment_167" align="aligncenter" width="368" caption="The scarf after blocking."]After Blocking[/caption]

It looks like this case of the curlies was solved after all!