A few more tips for creating a self-ruffling scarf March 8, 2014 • Robin Stroot
Here are a few more tips while creating your self-ruffling scarf.
First, I found it easier in my experience to use larger sized needles to knit the rows. Because there is no gauge, you are free to use whatever sized knitting needles you choose that will still fit through the openings of the self-ruffling yarn edge. I found it easier to hold on to a set of Size 8 (USA) knitting needles as opposed to a Size 5 or 4 (USA size) to make the scarf because the yarn is very slick and needles tend to slide out from your hand.
You can also choose the number of stitches for each row. My instructions stated to pick up 11 stitches but I prefer the look I achieved when I used seven stitches across the row for my particular project.
I set my project aside in my knitting basket and when I went back to work on it, I only picked up the needles and left the project in the basket. Fortunately, I was able to pick up the dropped stitches. I found that if I set my project down for any length of time, it was easier to slide my project stitches from my knitting needle to a more secure stitch holder. I would slide the stitches back onto the knitting needle from the stitch holder and no stitches were dropped on any of my previously worked rows. Otherwise, you may want to use point protectors on the end of you knitting needles to keep your project from unraveling.
Remember to keep the yarn flat as you work along the row. If you are straightening out the yarn, be sure to untwist by turning the skein of yarn. My experience was that I started untwisting my yarn by turning the knitting project around from the needle side of the work. I was able to untwist the yarn from the skein but my actions also ended up twisting part of my scarf in the opposite direction! It wasn’t obvious to me until I held up the scarf to see my progress and saw this open spot in the middle of my project (think of how telephone cords between the handset and the phone get a kink in the twist of the cord). The more I tried to reposition the knitted section the more my scarf became untwisted! I ended up ripping out about half the completed length of my scarf to fix my mistake. In the process of ripping, I pulled just hard enough to break the yarn. That was a true moment of frustration for me but I refuse to give up my project.
Starting and ending the yarn for self-ruffling yarn can be tricky. Some knitters prefer to tie a knot at the end, which is hidden into the spiral on the first few rows or fold the yarn in half and pick up two strands of the first row, catching in the end of the yarn. The second row is worked through both starting-row loops. To finish off the project, you need to cast off the last row until one stitch remains. Some yarns will allow you to pull the remaining yarn through the last loop or, in the case of a more delicate type of yarn (e.g. my red-colored yarn) you can secure the last stitch with a few strands of thread. The tied-off stitch won’t show through the ruffles of the scarf.
I may experiment using self-ruffling yarn to accent some of my other home décor projects (e.g., around the edges of a pillow). I’ll let you know how those projects turn out in a future column.