Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bust the Stash: Finished Object 3 - Decalage Scarf

It's such a pain in the ass at this time of the year - there's really no light for picture-taking (though, admittedly, there's much more light now than there was even 2 weeks ago).

No mind, I'm on a trajectory and this post contains photos (see below). I just hope they can convey a little bit of the intrinsic beauty of the Decalage scarf. I suggest you check out this post for more info on how to determine the weights of yarn required.

I should also take a moment to concede that this is not a true stash-bust. This post says it all but buying 1800 yards of yarn to use 250 is a stash-bust fail. Mind you, my mistake has introduced me to a lovely pattern that will facilitate my usage of all the Habu steel/silk eventually. And the end result is fancy-ass. This is the kind of gift that makes an impact. If I were to find this at a shop it would easily cost 350 bucks. (Of course, it fucking should. The yarn alone was 70 bucks).

In brief, there are 6 sections in the scarf: the two outer sections are made up of one strand of Habu and one strand of lace weight yarn, held together. The 4 interior panels are made up of 3 strands of lace weight yarn, held together, in different colour combinations.

Where I'd do this differently - and I will make this again because I'm not done with that wretched Habu - is in making the outer panels longer i.e. the same length as the other panels. That will achieve the end result of divesting myself of the rest of the steel yarn and will also provide more appealing proportions (to my eye). Note to myself: I wrote up the proposed weights for next time in this scarf's Ravelry project page.

But I like this (admittedly tedious) knit so much that I would certainly consider making it in all lace-weight wool in the future. It's a great design. Very simple, but beautiful. It's true textile art. If I were to make an all-wool version I might rib the bottom and sides because I don't like stockinette curl.

And a word on curl: I knew what I was getting into so I'm not surprised or upset by the outcome. The curl blocks out considerably so you cannot skip this step. I urge wet-blocking for maximal effect. Curl sure does give it that "art vibe'.

This knit is all about the care and consideration given to the yarn choice and the blocking. Also, make sure the fabric is knitting up with the tension you prefer. I didn't do a gauge swatch but I confirmed that I liked the fabric my needles were producing and I determined what length my scarf would be with my own gauge (slightly smaller before blocking - longer after blocking - than the dimensions indicated in the pattern instructions). My anticipated gauge was WAY off with the steel/lace-weight combo but right on with the 3 strands of lace-weight. So you might need to use less or more of the outer panel yarn combo to achieve the length of panel you would like.

But onto some photos...

This is the section where 2 strands of the pink yarn / 1 strand of the beige yarn (panel 4) segue into 3 strands of the pink yarn (panel 5).
This is the section where 3 strands of the pink yarn (panel 5) move into 1 strand of pink yarn and 1 strand of Habu.
Here's where 1 strand of beige, 1 strand of Habu (panel 1) merge with 3 strands of beige (panel 2).
It's a really gorgeous feeling scarf. The muted colours roll together when you wear it and the Rowan lace-weight blocked beautifully. It's less hairy after blocking.
This really doesn't highlight the "cool" factor of the Habu / lace-weight wool combination. It's a bit crinkly, a bit open. Do I like it as much as the interior panels? No, but it's an interesting counterpoint.

On final reflection, here's what I'd say to a knitter thinking about making this:
  • The work is all in the planning. Anyone can do that planning (new or experienced knitter) but a new knitter's going to have that much more of a challenge - particularly if (s)he isn't math-minded.
  • It's a study in colour-blending and in that respect it is a very enjoyable knit. You get to see the fabric come alive - and, if you've chosen well, the colours will thrill. But otherwise it's boring, boring, boring. Mind you - it goes together pretty quickly if you plod on. 3 strands of lace-weight knit up as quickly as DK.
  • Make all 6 panels of equal length - if for no other reason than that you'll use up your yarn more evenly. Note that your gauge with the steel/silk yarn is likely to be very different than that with the 3-strand wool.
What do you think of the finished object?