Friday, December 31, 2010

Curling scarf rescue mission--part four: lining the scarf

This TECHknitting series on curing curling stockinette scarves has looked at the problem, at solutions which don't work, and at two solutions which do work:  drop-columns and transforming stockinette into ribbing

poster child for stockinette curl
Today's poster child for curling is a multi-blue scarf.   Although you can't tell in its wound-up state, this scarf has two tapered ends and an applied edging.  Drop columns or forming ribbing would mean taking off, then reapplying the edging and unraveling, plus re-knitting one whole end--a LOT of work.  Further, with no excess yarn in stash, re-knitting and re-edging is a doubtful proposition: every inch of un-picked and unraveled yarn would have to be in perfect shape after unkinking for this scarf to come back together. Very risky!

Of course, this isn't the only sort of scarf which cannot be fabric-reworked.  Below are two other scarves-- a cheerful, beautifully-designed flower intarsia scarf and a lace scarf--which would be ruined by drop columns or ribbing. Luckily, however, all of these scarves have had their curl straightened by this post's solution: lining.

Stockinette curl cured with a polar fleece lining
TECHknitting blog has already featured several tutorials for lining knitted garments--hats in headband style and in fully-lined style, mittens with side thumbs and front thumbs.  The lining recommended in those posts is polar fleece--a wonderful fabric which does not unravel when cut, so no hemming is required.  Also, polar fleece stretches--highly compatible with a stretchy fabric like knitting. However, polar fleece is not suitable to lace in style or elegance.  Therefore, this post also shows a lace scarf lined in silk.

LINING--how to
Here's how the multi-blue scarf was lined.  The first step was to steam-block the scarf.  This made it lay as flat as possible.  The scarf was then pinned to a big piece of cardboard to be measured--the pinning was necessary because measuring a scroll is impossible.  The lining material was cut a bit big, and then sewn in, turning a tiny bit of the fabric under as the sewing went along.  The work was done using ordinary polyester sewing thread and the overcast stitch. The fuzz on polar fleece rises up to hide the stitches, so if your sewing is not technically polished, no problem--the sewing is really truly invisible on the finished project. 

Unlike the little stitches illustrated in the post on overcast stitches, the stitches on the multi-blue scarf are rather large: one sewing stitch per each knitting stitch of the edging.  The thread was used doubled, and the needle was inserted between the yarn plies of the innermost line of edging stitches.  It would be possible to simply insert the thread under one arm of the knitting stitch, as well--whether to take the sewing needle through the plies of each knit stitch or under one whole strand of each knit stitch is a matter of personal preference.

The colorful and cheerful intarsia scarf shown below was knit by Sandra Woods, (Passionateknittr on Ravelry) and the photos are used by her permission. (Many thanks, Sandra!)

Intarsia scarf before lining--all rolled up

The before and after shows that lining was really the only option here.

Intarsia scarf after lining with polar fleece

Further, the lining on an intarsia scarf does more than simply cure the roll.  First, the floats on the back are hidden.  Second, the many ends can be securely fastened without having to make the back pretty. Finally, the bright red color of the polar fleece lining adds a strong design element.  A completely different effect would have been obtained, for example, by using a different color.  This opens design possibilities.  Matching scarves could be made for two sisters, say, of different temperament and personality.  Each scarf could be identical in the knitted work but quite different in finished effect via different colored linings.

Cotton lace lined with silk
The cotton lace scarf to the left was lined with silk.  Unlike polar fleece, silk is a woven fabric which must be hemmed after cutting and before being stitching in place on the scarf-back.  I hemmed the silk by hand, folding the edge under twice and backstitching the hem in place.  The hemmed silk lining was then overcast-stitched in place on the back of the cotton scarf, with the hem line on the inside, hidden forever against the purl face of the scarf being lined.  As you can see, this scarf was lined in a contrasting color--orange china silk on a fuchsia scarf. (Polyester lining or poly-silks work, too!) Thus, the lining not only cured the stubborn curl, but added an strong design element. Other views of this scarf can be seen here.  Addendum, 1-17-2011:  Lisascenic on Ravelry has kindly allowed me to link to her silk lined scarf, on which the lining was sewed differently--sewed over the edge of the knitting, which gives a very interesting look, too, almost like a knit-lined silk scarf!

Of course, linings are not restricted to hand-knit masterpieces such as intarsia or lace: they work very well in utility situations also.  On the last post, Fibercrafter-Sally left a comment about using a knitting machine to make simple stockinette scarves for charity.  Stockinette rectangles could be made on a knitting machine, then cured of their curl by being lined with polar fleece.  If the polar fleece lining were stretch-stitched on by sewing machine, these kind of machine-knitted scarves could be churned out by the dozen.  Some nice effects could obtained by the contrast between the yarn and the linings (and think of the matching lined flip-brim hats which could be made...)

The series started with three curly scarves, and ended with three flat scarves.
Before--three curly scarves

After--cured of their curl, hanging

After--cured of their curl--closeup

After--cured of their curl, laying flat showing front and back

With best regards for a happy and healthy new year--TK
* * *
This is part 4 of a four part series.  The other posts are:
Curling scarf rescue mission, part 1: the problem and the solutions which don't work
Curling scarf rescue mission, part 2: the drop-column method
Curling scarf rescue mission, part 3: transforming stockinette into ribbing


Jason said...

I wanted to wait until you finished this series in case I stole your thunder with my idea, but it looks like I'm in the clear.

If your stockinette scarf is wide enough, or if you didn't mind a skinny scarf, you could just seam up the sides to form a tube!

MissingRib2 said...

Love this solution!

Lauren said...

Fantastic suggestions, as always. I really like your idea of lining a scarf with fleece. I'd imagine it has the added bonus of making the inside of the scarf very soft, suitable even for those who are picky about the feel of wool. Thank you for sharing your creativity and knowledge with us!

Carolina said...

I love the way the lining looks, especially with the intarsia, since that's a kind of scarf that would be hard to knit without curling.

lovey said...

i line all of my intarsia scarves because i'm too lazy to be bothered with weaving in the ends. i made my brother a scarf of the first three bars of moonlight sonata, and lined it in black because the back just looked ridiculous with all of the floats riding along. and, you know, the rolling. it turned out lovely, and he gets about a thousand compliments every time he wears it.

Evelyn said...

I've made a 4stitch ribbed scarf with a cable down the middle. I'd like to line it with silk, but I'm not sure it would be hefty enough to hold the complex pattern flat. Do you have any thoughts?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Evelyn--silk comes in different weights. China silk might be too light, but crepe might do better. A duploni might be too heavy, however. Yes, crepe would be the weight I would go to a fabric store to feel--I think you will find it heavy enough to tame pretty much most rolling, while being flexible enough not to rustle and be stiff.
Good luck! TK

bibliotecaria said...

One thing is not clear to me at all: what kind of sewing thread did you use? Any particular weight of thread or size of needle? (I've been thinking about doing this to a afghan.)

TECHknitter said...

Ordinary polyester sewing thread, and an ordinary sharp needle.

tamarque said...

Is there any way to flatten a cabled scarf (wool) without a lining?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Tamarque: Other than a blocking so severe as to amount to ironing it flat, I do not know of any way to flatten a textured scarf without either ruining the design (converting to ribbing) or lining. If you find a different method, write back, OK?

Kris said...

Thank you for saving my project! I LOVE the way my scarf turned out with a fleece lining. Warm and soft. Too bad it's a gift for my hubby ... I may have to "borrow" it!

Anonymous said...

I am making a hooded scarf for a friend, I wanted to line the inside of the hood with cotton instead of fleece- think that will work as well as fleece?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--the reason fleece is such an excellent lining material for hand knits is twofold. First, the fleece is stretchy, and so does not distort the knitting it is lining. Second, fleece cannot run out, and therefore does not need to be hemmed.

Cotton comes both woven and knit (the knit stuff is technically called cotton jersey, and is what t-shirts are made from). If you choose a knit cotton, you will maintain the stretch-factor which makes fleece such a favorable choice for lining. In other words, seek out the jersey-knit cotton, rather than a woven fabric such as flannel.

However, I do not know of any cotton, whether woven or knit, which does not require hemming. Therefore, if you want to use cotton jersey, you must be prepared to hem the fabric in some way.

PS: A nice lining for a hood might be sweatshirt material, a kind of cotton jersey which is called--ta-da!!--cotton fleece!

Kristin said...

Do you happen to have a close-up photo of the stitching of this scarf? I'm having a difficult time visualizing the 'one stitch per stitch' you mention in comparison to the overcast stitch schematic you link to.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Kristen--if you go to the post linked for the sewing tutorial ( it is ) and you go to the last (close-up) illustration in that post, you will see what multiple (sewing) stitches per (knitting) stitch (row) looks like. On the blue scarf, I didn't take such tiny little stitches, instead, I took one rather large (sewing) stitch through the lining and attached one of these sewing stitches through each of the (knitting) stitches all the way down the side of the scarf, thus creating one (sewing) stitch per (knitting) stitch as the rate of sewing attachment of the lining to the scarf. Sorry for the confusion! Best, TK

Laura Pawley said...

Thank you for being so thorough in your solutions! I am disgusted with the well-known yarn brand book I purchased which didn't warn me off knitting a stockinette scarf in multiple colors! I had to go to the web looking for a solution to find out it's a bad choice. Too bad, because I do like the way the stitch looks. I'm going to try your lining technique. Thank you!

TECHknitter said...

Good luck Laura!

Zahra Sharafi said...

Thank youuuuuu! This was so good! A true 'rescue mission'! :)

TECHknitter said...

Hi Zahara--glad it worked out. TK

BlondeQ said...

I was just curious which direction I should cut the fleece. In one of the blog posts here on polar fleece, it's pointed out that it's stretchy in one direction and not in the other. So do I want the stretch to run the scarf lengthwise or do I want it to stretch from side to side? (I hope this makes sense).

I didn't want to cut my fleece and then realize I'd screwed up!

Thanks for creating such an awesome website. I'm still an amateur knitter and I love knowing that places like this exist to help me figure out what to do when problems arise!

TECHknitter said...

Hi Blondie: in a scarf you would want the stretch to run lengthwise,a but truthfully, it isn't all that big a deal, so if you have a fabric scrap running the other way, use it!

rfiliaga said...

Just came across this blog because I have a great pattern (that isn't stockinette) for a purse with a knit strap, but although it didn't curl (much) on the body of the purse, the strap did. Maybe because it was only 7 stitches wide. None of the three methods would work to fix the mess I have ended up with, but they did give me a great idea. Instead of using a separate fabric for the lining, I just made two lengths of the strap (which will be sewn into the sides of the body) and sewed them back-to-back. Problem solved, and now the strap will be double the strength of the single thickness. Great solution!