Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Fringe Follies

The baby afghan fringe is still the main issue on my mind. A part of me would like to abandon the project like I have so many others when I hit intractable snags. But I am making myself stick with this. After last night's post I had concluded that I needed to give up on the fringe and was thus applying my problem solving to choosing a border stitch and solutions for securing the tails from the row work which are tucked into the fringe and trimmed to match the one inch long fringe pieces. Forget the fringe, if I can't secure those tails against the rough handling a baby afghan incurs the whole fabric of the afghan is at risk the first time it is washed.

I had a couple of ideas which I won't go into until/unless I go that route. But one of the ideas involved using a fabric glue or fray check on the knots made of every start and finish tail. That then gave me the idea of using it on the fringe half-knots. But I did not want to test the idea on the afghan. A bookmark came to mind but I did not have one made in bamboo whose design called for the short fringe. So I decided to start one of the mini-scarves out of the bamboo.

While I was at it I decided it was a good time to use a sustained single crochet stitch as I have never used it for more than tacking or an intermittent stitch in a complex pattern. I thought that the single crochet would also firm up the bamboo which tends to floppiness which character I love in certain patterns and stitches and not in others so I gravitate to those patterns in which loose and lacy is a plus which is why I've never made a mini-scarf with the bamboo.

I have made the mini-scarves with double and with half-double. Once I began using the half-double I never went back to the double now I am rapidly developing a favoritism for the single crochet. The drawback is that it double the row work to get the same length. With the double crochet each stripe needed two rows and with the half-double four rows. The single needs eight rows to approximate the same stripe width.

One of the concepts I'm anxious to try with the single crochet is to embroider or cross stitch on a block of it. I've seen it done in patterns and images in books and online and would love to combine my first needlework love with this one like that. I'm picturing an afghan or bedspread done in blocks of single crochet in two or more colors with some or all of them having a small design stitched onto them and then stitched together. That would be a huge project. But each of the blocks themselves would be portable as the bookmarks both for the crochet step and the embroidery step.

I'm planning to make this mini-scarf to echo the pattern iteration in the baby afghan. With white stripes sandwiched between the same five pastels in the same order: blue, yellow, lilac, pink, green. With white on each end that is six whites and thus eleven stripes. I estimate approximately ten inches before the one inch fringe is attached on each end.

From the moment I began this though I did not intend to wait until the row work was done to test the fray check idea. Besides even if at first it seems to work, I need to know if it can survive regular handling so I'm going to apply several and possibly the whole row before continuing the row work and then see how they fair. So far it looks promising. I had to clamp it down for five minutes to get it to take and I've been gentle with it since removing the clamp, refraining from tugging, picking or or poking at it. I plan to leave the project alone overnight now to see how the one fray-checked fringe fares after twelve to twenty odd hours. If it continues to look promising I will put in the ten or so remaining fringe pices and apply the fray check before continuing with the row work.

The final test will be to hand wash the bookmark no less than 24 hours after the other end is fringed and frey-check is applied.

All this means that the afghan is on hold until I finish this test. Two to three days I imagine. I would say less than two if i didn't have a doctor appointment tomorrow and have also been awake over 24 hours as I type this so the next 18 hours are devoted to sleep and the doctor visit from prep to return home no sooner than three and I'm sure I'll be exhausted so I'm not going to expect too much extra out of myself.

Meanwhile I will consider options and settle on a border stitch and pattern in case I need it.

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