by Annette Petavy
Mariefred is a lovely little town on the lake Mälaren, in Sweden. It’s close to the place where I spend my summer holiday, and I often go there during my stay. Not only because of the beautiful old houses, the castle of Gripsholm and the view over the lake, but also because there is a fantastic yarn store there. It’s called Hamilton Design and is owned by the wonderfully talented (and very nice) knit designer Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. The place is packed with beautiful yarns, and many of them can’t be found anywhere else in Scandinavia.
During my latest visit to this store, a small, triangular scarf caught my eye. It was Cornelia's own design of course – knitted in garter stitch from side to side in two different yarns: one a fine mohair, the other a thicker variegated alpaca. Simple, yet beautiful. I bought the materials and thought I’d knit it. But before I had the time to get hold of my knitting needles, I started to think about how nice it would be to work these yarns in crochet instead. And why not develop the shaping a bit, creating something of a bat-wing shape so the scarf/small shawl would behave better and stay on my shoulders?
I ended up with the pattern below. I even hesitate to call it a pattern – it’s more of a method, or a basic recipe. You can use it with any yarns of your choice. The yarns specified are the ones I used, but that’s just a suggestion. You can easily make it bigger, for a full-sized shawl – but then you’ll need more yarn, of course.
- 1 ball Kid Mohair Classic (Adriafil), 80% kid mohair, 20% nylon, (230m/251yds per 25g/0,87oz ball)
- 1 skein Atacama (Araucania), 100% alpaca, (100m/110yds per 50g/1,75oz ball)
- 6.0mm (US J-10) hook
- A slightly larger hook is useful when making the fringe
Gauge is not important in this pattern.
This scarf is crocheted from side to side. The ”basic” stitch used is dc (but see description of wedges below). Turning chains do not count as a stitch. They are generally not indicated in the pattern (except for row 1), but should, of course, be used all along.
General shaping of the scarf: On every row, you will first increase one stitch at the lower edge, and then (after the point) decrease one stitch at the lower edge.
The scarf is built of what I will call ”stripes” (in mohair) and ”wedges” (in alpaca). The mohair stripes are 4 rows wide, and the alpaca wedges are 2 rows wide.
While crocheting the stripes, the only thing you’ll have to think about is to continue the general shaping of the shawl (increases/decreases on every row as described above).
The wedges are a bit more fun, since on each row you have one third sc, on third hdc and one third dc. Before starting a wedge, count the number of stitches in the last row of the stripe you just made (let’s says there are 24 stitches). Add one (the increase stitch at the bottom edge in the first row of the wedge). (Which makes 25). Divide this number by three (and if your math skills are as advanced as mine, a calculator may help, especially on the longer rows). (This gives us 8,333333…). Round down the result number to a number you can actually crochet. (In our example, 8). This is the number of sc’s and hdc’s in the wedge. Add them together. (8 scs + 8 hdcs = 16 stitches). Subtract this number from the total number of stitches in the wedge. (25 – 16 = 9). The result is the number of dc’s in the wedge. The dc’s are worked at the lower edge of the scarf, the sc’s at the top and the hdc’s in between.
On the second row of the wedge, work the same stitch as in the previous row: sc in sc, hdc in hdc and dc in dc.
The wedges give the batwing shape I talked about earlier. I also think they give the scarf a more subtle and elegant look.
So, off we go:
Start with the alpaca. Ch 1 (this is the stitch you’re going to work into) + 2 for turning chain.
Row 1 (alpaca): 2 dc in the first ch.
Row 2 (alpaca): 1 dc in the first stitch, 2 dc in the next stitch.
Row 3 (mohair): 2 dc in the first stitch, then 1 dc in each stitch throughout.
Row 4 (mohair): 1 dc in each stitch, 2 dc in the last stitch.
Now, the increasing at the bottom edge, from the starting point to the tip of the shawl, is established (rows 3 and 4). Continue working in stripes (4 rows of mohair) and wedges (2 rows of alpaca) as described above until you reach the largest point of the scarf, called the tip.
When is this? When you have used half of at least one of the yarns (or perhaps a little less, if you want to make a nice fringe). And how do you know that? If you use an even number of balls (2, 4, 6…) of each yarn, this is when you have used half of the balls in one of the yarns (and never mind if there is more left of the other yarn). This was not my case – I had only one ball of each yarn. So I weighed them. You need to have, or borrow, a very accurate digital scale for this. (This is my kitchen scale. Sometimes being a cooking fanatic helps when designing crochet).
The tip of the scarf is formed within a wedge. Make the first row of the wedge increasing as described above. On the second row of the wedge, instead of increasing one stitch at the lower edge, you decrease one. Normally, this will be an even-numbered row, like row 4 above. It will be done like this:
1 dc in each stitch until 2 stitches remain. 2 dc together in 2 last stitches.
And the next row (in mohair) will be done like this:
2 dc together in the first 2 stitches, then 1 dc in each stitch throughout.
And so you continue, decreasing on every row, until there are only 2 stitches left. Then you make 2 dc together in those stitches, and cut the yarn.
Block the scarf, if you deem it necessary (I did not).
Since both stripes and wedges are worked over an even number of rows, you will have all your loose ends on the same side of the work. If you have started off the increasing and the yarn changes as described above, these ends will hang from the bottom edge of the scarf.
Be lazy. Don’t weave in these ends. Make them part of your fringe instead.
Start by knotting the mohair strand and the alpaca strand together at each change of yarn (to secure the ends without weaving them in).
Decide how long you want the fringe to be. Divide this measurement by 2. Add an inch/a couple of centimeters or so, since you need some extra yarn for knotting the fringe. Cut out a piece of cardboard at this width. Take one yarn at a time, wind it around the cardboard, take it off and cut the resulting yarn loop in one place. You end up with a bunch of yarn ends, twice as long as the cardboard piece is wide. Do the same thing with the other yarn. Now you have your fringe material.
Take a number of strands of each yarn. How many is up to you. (The number might also need to be adjusted if you find it impractical to work with too many strands at a time.) Fold the strands in two. With a larger hook, put hook through the scarf at a yarn change, as close to the edge as possible. Pull through the folded strands – a little! You now have a loop of folded yarn peeking through the crocheted fabric. Put the hook through this loop, and pull through the ends of the strands, together with the knotted ends that were already there. Tighten the knot thus formed.
At the end, trim the fringe to desired length.