Cheap and Easy Hooking

If I were a conformist, I suppose this would be an “FO Friday” post. I think the allusion to Debbie Stoller is a bit more fun. It also captures the essence of what I’ve done which is a lot less naughty than the tired old pun I’ve used.

In my last post, I talked about how I found some Caron Cakes on sale. For anyone that is unaware, a “Caron Cake” is a yarn made by the Caron yarn company that is self-striping, plentiful, and is regularly priced at $7.99 at Michaels craft stores. Its fiber content is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. I bought two cakes at $5.00 each, which is even cheaper. A single cake is enough to knit or crochet a scarf.

One of the drawbacks of using this yarn, as I mentioned before, is that the stripes are extremely long and the patterns provided by Caron are rather uninspired and boring (for me). I made up my own basic scarf pattern, or perhaps better said “pattern,” so if anyone wants to have a go at using the yarn in an alternative way, here’s what I did:

First of all, I thought long and hard about whether or not I felt like knitting or crocheting my scarf. I have some new interchangeable afghan crochet hooks so I opted for Tunisian crochet to play with my new toys. Using the interchangeable hook also allowed me to have a very long cable, so I could make the stripes run the length of the scarf instead of the way Caron yarns thinks it should be done. From here I chose a stitch pattern. I decided on Tunisian mesh stitch.

Using the hook size recommended on the yarn label (US H, or 5 mm), I stitched up a gauge of 3 stitches per inch. I wanted my scarf to be 70 inches long, so with a little third grade math I determined I needed the scarf to be 210 stitches long.

This is why there is no real pattern for making this scarf. I’m too lazy to write it up. All you do is buy a Caron Cake at Michaels and, using a size H afghan hook with an extra long cable, chain 210 and crochet Tunisian mesh stitch until you get to the beginning of the last color change in the yarn. Then, instead of binding off, just standard crochet half double crochet (British: half treble crochet) stitches all around the scarf making sure that you half double crochet three in each corner. You will be left with a yarn tail about 5″ long. All the yarn gets used up, basically.

If you want to learn how to do Tunisian mesh stitch, look no further than this video tutorial:

I suppose I should warn you that you will have to aggressively block this scarf when you finish crocheting it. Tunisian crochet just loves to curl up. The nice thing about it is that blocking will flatten it out very nicely and, since Caron Cakes are 80% acrylic, you can steam block it permanently. I have found that wet blocking the scarf first, and then steam blocking it after it has dried completely, is the best way to do this. I tried steam blocking it before washing it and it was too tedious a task to complete. A good washing and drying did the trick.

I wore the scarf this morning. It’s very warm and cozy.

wearing

The thing I absolutely love about Tunisian mesh stitch: the right and wrong sides of it are completely different and pleasing to look at. The wrong side, in fact, looks like knitted garter stitch.

The above photos, as well as the one below, demonstrate that blocking the scarf will make it lie flat.

rotated

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