Saturday, November 10, 2007

the year of the scarf, part 1

Last year (2006) I made 15 scarves to give as Christmas presents. I got the idea when I bought a red chenille scarf on sale at Marshalls in the new year. I thought two things: 1) this scarf would be so easy to make make; and 2) this would look good on Peggy.

Yes, Peggy would have looked great in a red scarf, but as it happened I decided to make scarves for everyone I knew, each one different, and to simplify the choices I went with the color blue. I figured that everyone looks good in and likes one or another shade of blue.

This project turned out to be a fantastic creative jolt for me. I wanted to make each person a scarf that I thought would especially suit her - looks, style, and personality. (The recipients were all women; men don't wear scarves.) This got me into designing a bit. And because the scarves were relatively small, I was able to try all sorts of wonderful yarn that I had thought too expensive to buy for a large project. (The sad result is that I now use more expensive yarn for all of my projects.)

I apologize for the quality of my photos. I can see that I'll have to learn to take better photos in order to effectively blog knitting. I would appreciate any advice you may have about this.

Here are the scarves, in order of creation (by the way, each is named for the book I listened to as I knit it) :

1) The Love Wife

made in April 2006
used 300 yards of hand-dyed mohair and silk, about sport or dk weight, on #8 (US) needle

blocked size: 7" x 55"
adapted garter stitch chevron from Harmony stitch guide

This was my first use of hand-dyed yarn. I got it online from an eBay seller named kimiK who sells a lot of beautiful sock yarn at reasonable prices. I loved the yarn even though it pooled in the knitting. That didn't bother me. It also bled and smelled. The smell was pretty, but it creeped me out a little.

2) Blue Shoes and Happiness

Pattern for this scarf here.

  • made in April 2006
  • used 300 yards of Noro Cash Iroha (worsted weight) on #9 (US) needle
  • blocked size 6.5" x 52"
  • adapted basket weave stitch from Mon Tricot with blue and green trim (garter stitch) with green being a few yards of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride.

This was my absolute favorite of all the scarves. First, the Cash Iroha was so beautiful: glossy and heavy in a good way, smooth and soft. This picture really does not do it justice. It had a little Scottish look about it with the blue and green colors and the short fringe along one long side. In fact, I ordered yarn to knit it again for myself, which I will do someday. The original yarn came from Woolneedlework in Canada; the second from Janette's Rare Yarns, an eBay store in the UK.

3) The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night Time

  • Made in May 2006
  • used 320 yards of Cascade 128 (bulky) tweed on # 11 (US) needle
  • blocked size 7" x 63"

  • pattern modified from "Cabled Cashmere Scarf" from Vogue Knitting on the Go Scarves

This was for the lady who would have looked good in red chenille. A far cry from red, but the blue is much brighter and prettier than it looks here. The yarn came from a local yarn store.

4) Marilyn's Scarf (named for the main character in The Interruption of Everything)

  • Made in June 2006

  • Used 350 yards of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (aran weight) on #9 (US) needle

  • blocked size 6" x 55"

This yarn was from (I think) Woolneedlework. I used my favorite basket weave pattern with a long-side fringe idea taken from Nickie Epstein's Knitting on the Edge, Saxon Braid Scarf. The fringe consists of a plain stockinette border at the edge of the pattern work. The stitches of the border are unraveled to make a fringe loop, It didn't make sense to me until I did it. The Saxon braid itself is spectacular and I might knit it sometime.

The yarn color is actually a soft duck egg blue, and it is a soft, soft yarn. It was actually a color mistake purchased for a different scarf to use with a chocolate brown of the same yarn. They did not look as good together as I expected them to, at least in the design I used. Marilyn, however, turned out to be a glamorous scarf.

5) The Historian

  • made in June 2006
  • used 340 yards divided between teal and brown of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk (aran weight) on # 8 (US) needle
  • blocked to 6.75" x 58"
  • adapted Speckled Rib, a slip stitch pattern from Harmony Guide

At first I was least happy with this scarf, but that may have been because I hated the book I was listening to. The design alternated blocks of the slip stitch pattern, which looks polka dotty,
with smaller stockinette sections and a garter edge. I made a row of five knitted bobbles to finish each end. This design is one of the most original. However, it is heavy and tends to curl. I grew to like it.

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