Daily Archives: December 3, 2009

A Tale of Two Scarves

It would appear that my cold symptoms are continuing apace, though in a milder form than they could be, in which case I will renew efforts with vitamins and rest and tylenol and tea. And a bit of knitting on the side of my stack of grading.

But this blog is long overdue for a project update, and I’m finally able to take a moment to tell you about the two scarves I’ve made since mid-October. These, a slouchy beret, and a pair of plain stockinette gloves have all been made with Berroco Ultra Alpaca, and are all part of my Operation: Don’t Freeze My Ass Off plan for this winter. (Always a good plan, I feel).

Dec3-TwoScarves

The first of these scarves was a plain triangular shawl/scarf that I started on the plane to Rhinebeck in October. I finished it while I was there and it has proven a wonderful bit of emergency insulation, and since our November temperatures were stupidly unseasonably mild (o hai global warming nice to see you), I got more wear out of it than I might have expected.

Dec3-Triangle1

It’s fairly plain, easy to execute over a couple of days (say, on bleary plane and train rides), and I hadn’t thought much of it but every time I go out amongst knitters, someone comments on it and asks what the pattern is. Well, it’s pretty darned simple is what it is. If you want to make one of these too, here’s what you do:

So Easy I Can’t Even Stand it Triangular Scarf

1. Pick your yarn, any yarn (did I mention I love Ultra Alpaca?), and use an appropriate needle size. I went up to a 6mm for the worsted Ultra Alpaca because since it is 50% alpaca it can handle a bit of loose drapey-ness and still be warm.

2. Cast on 7 sts. [Note from the future: For extra stability, knit back and forth for a couple of rows of garter stitch before proceeding.]

and proceed as you would for a regular triangular shawl (increasing 1 st at each end, and 1 st each side of centre stitch, every RS row), something like this:

(RS) K2, yo, k to centre stitch, yo, k1, yo, k to 2 sts before end of row, yo, k2.
(WS) K2, p to 2 sts before end of row, k2.

Work these two rows for a while.

3. Whenever you feel like it, say, every 10-12 rows or so, insert one of the following beginning on the WS of work, while still maintaining the k2 at each end of each row, and yo increases on each RS row:

Paired garter ridges:
(WS) K all sts
(RS) K all sts
(WS) K all sts

Garter eyelet rib:
(WS) K all sts
(RS) [k2tog, yo] repeat
(WS) K all sts

4. Keep going in this combination of stockinette, garter ridges, and eyelet rib until you get the length you want, you run out of yarn, or until you just can’t stand it any more. Work another few garter ridges or a repeat of eyelet rib, and BO all sts. Block if you wish. (I used about 1.5 skeins of Ultra Alpaca for mine, it goes pretty far.)

Dec3-Stripes1

The second scarf requires a bit more commitment, but pays off big time in the warmth area. Let me tell you, this is going to get me through the cold days like nothing else and I am looking forward to wrapping it around me a few times. This is a fairly classic striped tube scarf, that you can do in whatever combination of worsted weight yarn you please, and change up the stripe pattern however you wish. The only disadvantage is that when you are working with so many colours at once, it doesn’t make for a very portable project, but if you put in an hour or so every evening, the length will start to add up nicely.

Warmest Striped Scarf Ever

1. Pick your worsted weight yarn, any worsted weight, in a few colours and a 16-inch circular needle in 4.5mm or so. (whatever you need for 18-20 sts over 4 inches).

2. Cast on 80 sts. Join to work in the round, pm at beg of round, and knit all sts on every round.

3. Proceed by changing colours every 3-7 rounds, as desired. Keep going until the entire scarf measures 6 feet, or until you can’t stand it any more. BO all sts.

4. Lay out the scarf lengthwise and flatten it. Work a fringed edging: First cut many many lengths of yarn in 8-10 inch lengths (hint: wind the yarn around a DVD case and cut along one side); take 3 of these lengths at a time and fold them in half, then take a crochet hook to pull the loop through both sides of the scarf edge, and pull the ends through the loop. Do this along the entire edge. (This creates a fringe AND closes the ends of the scarf).

Dec3-Stripes2

And then you have a very warm scarf. Ta da! (Caution: be careful about promising to gift people with these. I knitted 4 tube scarves one year as gifts and it just about did me in.)

Since I know someone will ask about how to handle the yarn for stripes, all I did was simply to carry the dormant colours up the inside of the work so that they rest against the inside of the jog. When you flatten the scarf at the end, you can do so so that the jog moves to the side of the work like a seam, and no one will notice. I am pretty blase about my striping jogs. Just be sure that the yarn actually lies flat on the inside of the work, and that you don’t pull it too tight so that it bunches up.

Happy knitting this Thursday, and stay warm, won’t you? Keep the knitting close by!

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