One of the best parts about fall is pulling my sweaters and blue jeans out of storage. While I love my jeans, my favorite piece of clothing this time of year is a scarf.
I’m not really an accessories person. After several broken necklaces and earrings yanked out by children, I pretty much stopped wearing jewelry. Scarves, on the other hand, are fairly kid-friendly. Well, other than choking you when the young’uns pull on them.
I usually make or receive a handmade scarf every year. And while I do know how to knit and crochet, they aren’t my favorite crafts. I am a sewist, after all.
I can make a nice scarf out of fabric, but this fall I really wanted a soft, snuggly yarn one in autumn colors.
I had a moment of pure serendipity in the aisles of Walmart. While checking out the craft clearance section, I found all sorts of pretty yarns for just a couple of bucks each, including some beautiful pinks, browns and dark reds — my autumn colors.
I grabbed three or four skeins, not quite knowing yet how I was going to make my scarf, and headed for the checkout line.
As I stood there with my arms full of yarn, trying to keep my daughter out of a bin of jack o’ lantern buckets, I noticed something thrown over one of the bars. It was a pretty scarf made from many pieces of yarn, but sewn together so that the pieces intertwined, creating a cool effect.
It also had a price tag more than all the yarn I had in my arms combined. But I knew it was something I could recreate at home.
To make the scarf, I cut 5-foot long pieces of yarn from about six different skeins of varying thicknesses — some worsted weight, some heavy weight, a ribbon and a feathery novelty yarn (I used the new ones I bought, as well as some from my stash).
I used six strands from each yarn — so about 36 5-foot strands total — to make a scarf about 4 inches wide.
I used a dark purple thread in my bobbin and a gold thread on the top to create a different effect on each side.
I read online that some people make scarves like this using a water-soluble stabilizer; iron the stabilizer to the yarn strands so that when you sew, it’s like sewing a solid piece of fabric. Then wash the stabilizer off, leaving just the yarn and stitching.
That sounded nice, but I didn’t have water-soluble stabilizer, so I just free-handed it. That left some irregularities throughout the scarf, in width and yarn placement, but I like the look. It adds character — like folk art.
I left a couple inches for fringe. I then gathered the yarn in a bunch in front of the foot of the sewing machine and guided the strands through, letting them overlap some and making sure the gaps between them weren’t too big. When I got to the end of the width, I backstitched a couple times, raised the foot, turned the whole thing around and sewed back down in a v-shape.
I combed out the unsewn strands after every couple of passes through the machine to make sure they didn’t get too tangled.
Just zigzag your sewing down the length of the scarf, stopping when you reach the desired length, leaving room for fringe. Trim up the fringe ends and the scarf is ready to wear.
Deirdre Long blogs about her creations at sewonsewon.blogspot.com.