Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Black Apple Scarf

Even the simplest piece of knitting can have a story, right?

I'd love to say I whipped up this little scarf, but the truth is that I struggled mightily with it. Once I settled on a stitch pattern and dimensions it went very quickly. The settling, however, was another story.

Our friend who goes back long enough to have been the best man in our wedding and, before that, my spouse's tight pal through college, recently moved to New York. I wanted to give him a scarf as a moving present and he gave me the following scarf requirements:

-dark (black or brown) yarn
-air-tight knit
-four feet long

I was mulling it over when Little Knits had a half-off sale on Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere. I did some on-line research for amounts and settled on 4 skeins (at $11/skein sale price).

I took these 4 skeins with me to Paris, planning to make the scarf en route. In fact I didn't even open my knitting bag until I'd been in France for 3 days (I was too busy doing this:
Sacre Cour Tarts
Melting Cheese Moulin Rouge).

Then I started swatching. My sister could not believe how many times I'd knit 3 inches worth of a pattern, decide I didn't like it, and rip all the way back. I ripped on the Metro, in cafes, in our room. I finally settled on the tried-and-true double moss stitch.

Then the question was how to maximize my yarn. I was knitting on size 5 needles to make a tight fabric. I started with 28 stitches cast on and knitted about 4 inches before realizing I'd used up half the skein already. So I ripped back and tried 24 stitches. This looked good for width and was using less yarn per row. I had a pattern and a width.

It was with this swatch I boarded the return flight. I knit my first ball of yarn and measured: 9 inches. I couldn't give this man a 3 foot scarf. Rip, rip, rip and rewind the ball. At least I was watching Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for distraction.

I cast on for the last time somewhere over the Canadian Maritimes. It's 20 stitches wide (about 4 inches) and 44 inches long. Not quite 4 feet, but better than 3. I'm hoping that the Cashmere and pretty stitch will compensate for the length.

Pattern: Double moss stitch over 20 stitches.

Yarn: 5 skeins Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere in black.

Needles: Clover bamboo circulars, size 5.

Notes/Thoughts: This was my first experience with cashmere. It didn't do much for me. It was soft, yes, but it still irritated my neck a little bit. It also wasn't great for stitch definition, which I probably couldn't learned in advance with some better on-line research. Still, I'm pleased with the result and hope it will be a warm hug to our friend in the Big Apple.

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Blogger Jenny said...

What a nice present! Wow, you certainly put a lot of thoughtfulness into it. It's beautiful - I hope the recipient will appreciate it, even if he may never guess at all the care & effort behind the finished piece!

4:26 PM  

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