The One-Way Scarf ...
there's just one way to make it.
After all, the books all show pulling off tufts of fiber and laying them in criss-cross layers. Do that with a length of space-dyed roving and what have you got? Certainly not what the dyer intended when they meticulously placed those fabulous colors in the dye-pot!
So is it only the spinner who gets to play with them? Truth be told, you probably bought it anyway, and now it sits among your stash, taunting you for your inability to turn it into something beautiful!
Enough! Time to rise up and snatch that roving, and with the following tips, you can be sporting a scarf in a couple of hours.
Part of the bonus that comes with hand-dyeing wool roving is that the fibers gets lightly felted during the dyeing process. This works in your favor when it comes to the One-Way Scarf. Although the primary direction of the fibers is in a lengthwise direction, the heat and moisture present during dyeing moves just enough of the fibers sideways to enable you to spread the roving without it simply splitting apart.
Step 1. Start with a length of space-dyed roving about 72"-84", and give it a firm stretch down the length to straighten the fibers. Spread the roving gently sideways making a ribbon about 3"-4" wide. Carefully peel a single strip of fiber from down one long side of this ribbon. It should be about 1/6 of the overall width - more if your roving strip is particularly thick, and you don't want a wide scarf. Set this strip aside for future use in Step 3.
Step 2. Lay out a piece of fabric netting on your work surface. It should be at least as long as your length of roving. Using both hands, gently tease the roving apart sideways on or above the netting to create a single layer of fiber. The width of the roving will determine the ultimate width, but don't spread it so thinly that you create large lengthwise splits. Finer fiber such as merino works best for this process.
Step 3. Once the entire piece is spread out thinly, take the reserved strip of fiber and use portions of it to fill in any places (and there will be quite a few) that look as though they could create a potential split in the felt. These extra fibers should follow the color gradation of the piece, and you can pull off tufts in the appropriate color and spread the tuft sufficiently to cover the thin area. Take time to do this thoroughly as this is the key to having a hole-proof scarf.
Step 4. If you were also fortunate enough to find a matching silk roving, you can take the silk, and tugging it gently, create a fine continuous 2" ribbon of silk down the center of the wool layer. The colors will not result in tone-on-tone against the wool as the colors in the silk will stretch further, but it will add interest and sheen and will pull the colors together in the whole scarf.
Step 5. Cover the fibers with a second piece of fabric netting and wet down with water and soap gel. If you are particular about straight edges on your scarf, remove the top layer of netting once the felt is wet down completely flat and without air-pockets of dry fibers (usually detected by puffy looking areas in the wool). Carefully sweep in any wispy stray fibers along the sides, and if any spots, especially on the corners, appear thin, add small amounts of matching fiber and mist with water. Return fabric to the top, and rub well for 8-10 minutes with scrunched up grocery bag in hand, adding just enough soap gel to show a slight skim of white on the surface. If you are into power tools... a quick buzz with the sander over the surface will stabilize the felt in seconds. Lift the netting to make sure it is not sticking to the fibers. Replace netting and turn entire piece over. Rub or sand the back side, until the felt passes the "pinch test". (Fibers pinched between finger and thumb begin to lift as a whole piece, not just a few loose fibers)
Step 6. Roll in bamboo mat 5-8 minutes, twice, rolling from either end of blind and keeping fiber sandwiched between the fabric as fine felt can feed down between the bamboo matchsticks at this point. Place damp towel underneath bamboo roll for traction, and pour enough water over the "sausage" so that you hear an audible "squish" as you roll. Roll in bubble wrap if preferred. To check for firmness, position a portion of the scarf between your thumb and middle finger, and slide finger and thumb back and forth. Felt should feel stable and firm. If it feels as though there are loose fibers sliding around in the middle of the felt -- I liken it to the feel of meat sliding around in between the slices of bread in a sandwich -- return felt to bamboo blind for more rolling.
Step 7. Take wet scarf and dunk into hot water. Throw down firmly into base of sink or onto work surface 10-12 times. Open out scarf and fold in half lengthwise. Stretch gently but firmly. Re-wet and throw another dozen times. Stretch again. Throw scarf a final 12 times and stretch. Rinse well and spin out excess water if washing machine is handy.
Step 8. Iron scarf while damp, stretching from the center out to the sides to block and shape. Hang to air-dry.
Step 9. Wear with pride... and tell people you made it yourself!
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