I freely admit to coloring my hair. Since spotting the first strands of premature gray in my late teens, I have been a devoted user of at-home hair color, spending the early years of my adulthood in the dark-brown / black family, moving on to reds and auburns in my twenties and thirties. Except for a brief love affair with Manic Panic in the mid-90’s, my hair color has mostly been shades that occur in nature, appropriate for a 9 to 5 (more accurately, 830 to moments before the daycare late pickup fine kicks in ) working mom lifestyle. Since being downsized from my corporate job a couple of years ago, I have been exploring the edgier side of home hair color, and enjoying the freedom of having fun with wilder looks. My current color is an extreme shade of garnet red, with dip-dyed black on the ends.
What does this have to do with gardening and crochet? Well, red hair colors are notoriously quick to fade, and the number one enemy is the sun. Since I spend a good deal of the warmer months working outside, I have tried a number of products to keep my color true; leave-in conditioners with sunscreen, wash-out conditioners that promise UVA/UVB protection, heat-protective sprays and gels- none of which have worked. What does work is covering the top of my head, but hats present the problem of falling off when I bend over to weed or mulch, and sometimes get blown clear across the yard by the breeze. So my solution to this problem is a scarf or do-rag, tied either gypsy style or in a Rosie-the-Riveter turban. I do have a fairly extensive wardrobe of fabric scarves that can be used for this purpose, but they don’t stay in place very well, nor do they stretch or scrunch in the way I want them to. I wanted a range of colors to choose from, and I knew I needed something lightweight, that would tie easily but without bulk, which would also easily reshape to cover whatever part of my head was getting the sun. From my stash, I pulled out some leftover sock yarns, some pretty organic cotton and bamboo blends, and the leftovers from my barefoot sandal socks. I then set to work making several versions of a crocheted scarf/head wrap, using a simple chain and single crochet mesh stitch pattern. The end result is a wardrobe of versatile pieces that work well for my hair-covering purposes, but can also be worn around the neck, or even as a belt.
One striped version used several yarns that I’ve loved working with, that I had just a little bit left of: I worked a pattern of stripes as I came to the end of each color, then took the dominant gray color (the one I had the most of, and did a single crochet edging on one side, and a picot edge on the other. I then added a loop of chain stitches on one end for a fastener:
I then did one in self-striping sock yarn in shades of pink, green, and violet. On this version, I skipped the all around edging, and found this gave the entire piece more stretch. On this one, I added some fringe on the non-loop end:
Again, in self-striping sock yarn, this time in shades of blue, I worked the mesh a bit looser, going up two hook sizes and adding two chains to the stitch pattern. On this one, I skipped the fringe, allowing the ends of the scarf to naturally assume a rectangular shape:
I then decided I could use one in a solid color, so I took a pretty organic bamboo in dusty blue, worked with the larger hook and stitch pattern, and instead of the loop fastener, I added the fringe on both ends:
Of course, I had to make one for Baby Girl! Hers is a self-patterning nylon blend fine weight yarn, and for her I did the mesh a bit tighter, with a smaller hook and fewer chains stitches. This worked well with that yarn, which has a bit of stretch to it:
This was such a fun and fast project, I’ve drafted a pattern for it, and am currently in the process of having a few testers crochet samples of the different versions. In the meantime, my haircolor is safe while our adventures in urban farming continue.