Blue Glasymmetrical Scarf -or- Blocking the Crap Out of Stuff

Once upon a time in the latter months of 2013, I was still a crochet newbie and I had just made my first ever crochet gift – a scarf and matching pineapple headband for my mom.  The only problem?  I had no idea that blocking was even a thing.  The scarf was fine, but why didn’t my headband look like the pattern picture?  Must have been my inexperience, I thought.  With time and practice, my stitches would look just as good as theirs.  If I’d just known how to block the thing, I’d (and she’d) have probably been much more thrilled.

I did eventually learn about blocking, and even bought a ginormous foam insulation board to create my first DIY blocking board (which I still use to this day).  Farther along, I even acquired some blocking wires to use on the more stubborn, and time consuming length-y projects.  If you know anything about blocking (which may be the subject of a post for another day), you’ll know something I didn’t at first, which is the fact that you do not have to stretch a project within an inch of its life.  In a process I refer to as “blocking the crap out of stuff,” my early blocking efforts resulted in some very tightly-stretched items that didn’t always retain their shapes.  This was understandably a disappointment, but do you think I learned my lesson?  Nooooo.

My latest entry in the “Crap Blocked Out of It” category is my first finished object of 2016.  I present to you, the Blue Glasymmetrical Scarf, and an explanation about how I name my projects:  If you’re on Ravelry, you may be familiar with the fact that adding a project to your notebook requires that you give it a name.  It doesn’t have to be creative – a lot of people just use the pattern name, but who wants to be boring?  My formula typically involves combining the name of the yarn with the name of the pattern.  Because that’s exciting.  Blue Glass + Easy Asymmetrical Scarf = Blue Glasymmetrical Scarf!!!  (Three !s mean it’s exciting, trust me).

dsc_6286-2The pattern is Easy Asymmetrical Scarf by Tian Connaughton, which was featured in the Winter 2015 issue of Love of Crochet.  I don’t often buy crochet magazines, (or magazines in general other than Our State – it’s kind of an obsession), but every time I’m in a craft or yarn store, I gaze at them longingly.  If I’m alone or waiting on someone else and have a few moments, that longing gaze turns into mad browsing and I’m checking to see if any of the issues on the stand is chock-full of patterns I’ve suddenly decided I’m in love with.  It’s rare for me to actually commit to a crochet magazine, because I have a particular taste and don’t want to spend money on magazines that only have one or two patterns I love.  It feels wasteful, even though you’re essentially getting 10-ish patterns for the price of one or two.  What can I say?  I’m weird. :-p

dsc_6290-2The absolutely lovely yarn that I used for this project is a 50/50 merino/silk blend in fingering weight, dyed by Sapphires-n-Purls Yarn in Blue Glass colorway.  At the time of this posting, this particular yarn base is not currently available in her shop, however there are plenty of other gorgeous bases and colorways to choose from, and I recommend Sapphires-n-Purls highly! 🙂  It’s one of my favorite places to buy hand-dyed yarn!  In addition to lots of beautiful yarn offerings, SnP offers a rewards program, frequent coupon codes, and amazing customer service.

dsc_6291-2Here’s a little bit of evidence to my over-blocking tendencies.  You’ll notice some wavy-ness to the rows here.  Even after using those long-coveted blocking wires I mentioned before, some of the edging isn’t as straight as I’d like, and the s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g of the scarf on the blocking board resulted in some warped, lopsided-looking squares within the pattern.  What can I say, I’m a perfectionist…  I guess you’d only notice these things if you were really looking for them and critiquing, but that’s what I do.  In constant search of ways to improve, after all.  I’ve noticed, though, that even when I try to block gently, I end up taking it too far.  Not sure why that is…

20160125_215051_medium2
Before blocking (taken with cell phone camera).

You’ll see in this pre-blocking photo that the squares look a bit more square-ish than post-blocking.  But that decorative edging definitely called for blocking help.  One of these days I’ll get the hang of gentle blocking!

dsc_6288-2All in all, I’m really quite happy with how it turned out, despite my blocking woes.  The pattern was enjoyable;  it was slightly more challenging than the memorize-and-go-on-forever patterns I’ve been doing, but not so challenging that I had to scrutinize every step and every row.  The yarn cooperated beautifully. I was afraid it would be too much to have the checkerboard pattern of the scarf combined with a color-changing yarn, but the changes are subtle enough that I don’t mind at all.

FO Impressions

  • Pattern: 4/5 – There were a few errors in the pattern (check errata on the Ravelry page for this pattern), but they weren’t so bad that I couldn’t figure out what I was doing.  It is varied enough to hold your attention, though some parts are easy to memorize.  The finished product is visually interesting regardless of the type of yarn one might use.  Blocking is essential to accenting the decorative edging, but be careful not to over-block and distort the rest of the pattern.
  • Yarn: 5/5 – A dream to work with.  No frustrations with splitting, tangles, or knots.  The colorway is beautiful, and the drape is perfect.  I don’t recall any dye bleeding when preparing to block.
  • Pattern/Yarn Combo: 4.5/5 – The only thing that would make this any prettier is if the yarn I’d chosen was a solid color rather than tonal.  This yarn material, weight, and even color, were a fine match for this pattern.
  • Blocking: As mentioned, essential to accenting the edging, but over-blocking will distort the rest of the pattern.  I used blocking wires, and if I had to do it over, I would not change that.  If you don’t have blocking wires, or if you are a pro at blocking without wires, you may still have good results, but due to the nature of the pattern, I think it would be very easy to end up with a lot of exaggerated angles where it’s intended to be straight.
  • Time: Quick – I’m a relaxed crocheter, so I don’t crochet as fast as most folks.  This project took me approximately 9 hours to crochet, before blocking.  In my spare time, I stitched on it for just over 2 weeks in January.

This project on Ravelry.

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