Thin Blue Line

Thin Blue Line

In early November, my mother-in-law, LuAnn, told me that my father-in-law, Mark, mentioned he’d like this scarf:

LuAnn suggested that he might like it even more if it was crocheted by his favorite daughter-in-law… So I set to work!

Tom and I went to Jo Ann Fabrics to look for yarn. I picked this one out, but Tom told me to keep looking.

We ended up with a blue (“Royal Blue,” ED100-09) and black (“Black,” ED100-12) from the Deborah Norville Collection / Everyday Soft Worsted Collection (100% acrylic). They were the right shades and very soft. Also, the care instructions said machine wash warm and tumble dry, which seemed reasonable for a scarf that might get dirty.

I wanted to start with a short foundation chain and crochet the length of the scarf, in hopes that the scarf’s width would be uniform, so I needed to learn how to change colors in the middle of a row. I started out by watching this video from Moogly and copying her technique. I chained 60 for the foundation and did 22 sc in black, 16 sc in blue, and 22 sc in black using an F hook (3.75mm). My first pass looked like this:

Pleko’s leg for scale.

It looked a lot like the photo, but the tension was too tight, so the ends curled up. And, I didn’t enjoy working on it. Keeping the extra color hidden behind the stitches made for slow, tedious work. Around Thanksgiving we calculated that I would need to produce 1.5″ a day to finish in time for Christmas. 1.5″ a day for a month struck me as a special kind of torture. I frogged the project and started over.

By this time of year, a lot of people on the crochet subreddit had been posting photos of their finished Christmas gifts, many of which were gorgeous graphghans. Inspired by the projects I’d seen, I decided to try my hand at the graphghan technique. I started by watching the Graphghan for Beginners video from the Crochet Crowd, built a pattern, looked at Beth’s C2C instructions, and started working.

Pattern. 8 squares black, 5 blue, 8 black.

I used a G hook (4.00mm). The C2C scarf went much more quickly, and I didn’t dread working on it. I learned how to keep three skeins from tangling as the scarf grew longer and longer. This was also the first project that I used a Clover Armor hook. I’m never going back!

Towards the end of the project I tragically lost the game of yarn chicken:

So, we made an emergency trip to Jo Ann to pick up one last skein of black yarn. In total, I used just over 4 skeins of black (1 skein = 203 yds or 113g) and just over 1 skein of blue. The scarf ended up being about 71″ long and 11″ wide. The width is more or less even.

Since I had an extra skein of black, and I’d just learned how to crochet hats, I decided to make Mark a hat to match. It seemed like a good idea to start the hat from the bottom, rather than from the peak, to make sure that the circumference started at 23.5,” which LuAnn said is the size of Mark’s head.

I ended up following this pattern almost exactly. A few differences:

  • I did not change hook sizes; I used a 4.00mm hook for both the band and the hat.
  • I ended up with 26 rows of the “beans,” not 22.
  • I put more rows of sc at the top of the hat than she recommended before closing the hat.

Otherwise, everything was the same.

As I worked, I worried that the hat would be too small for Mark. My friend Nola (whose head is larger than I would have guessed!) tested the band and said it would be OK. The band, though, has much looser tension than the rest of the hat.

Anxiously testing the hat’s fit mid-project.

After the band, there are 3 rows of black before the 6 rows of the blue stripe. Thankfully, I had *just* enough black yarn to finish the hat.

The seam seemed (haha) very visible while I was working on the hat, but after finishing it and turning it inside out, it’s not nearly as noticeable.

Close-up of seam.

Mona approves of the scarf.

I hope it looks as handsome on Mark as it does on Mona!