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