WORKING REPORT – LACY SCARF

Thank you to everyone who wrote to say that they liked the level of detail in these posts. I blush a bit. I’m writing a blog that I’d find interesting to read. But my mom’s main point is taken – not every post need be essay length. I’ll try to make things a bit more readable, perhaps splitting longer thoughts over two or more days.

Lacy Scarf

I ran into a temporary snag on the lacy scarf pattern, but I think I’ve beaten the problem.

I chose a bunch of texture patterns thatI thought would lookgood together. Lots of play among them on diamonds and sharp diagonals. My idea was to knit a pattern panel at each end of the scarf, and use a simpler, coordinating pattern between them for the scarf body, with the entire piece trimmed with a killer edging.

I drafted up my patterns, and swatched each one. Here’s where the mistake came in. I’ve got**just enough**yarn with no chance of getting more, so I swatched each pattern in turn by itself, ripping back and re-using the yarn between swatches. Each looked great on its own, so I cast on and began the piece as a whole. End pattern #1 worked fine. The welted eyelet divider looked fine. But the simpler plain diamond pattern for the scarf body was wrong, wrong, wrong. The proportions of the diamonds just didn’t fit the proportions of the end pattern. They fought, and the piece looked way too busy.

So in a Wile E.Coyote moment, it was back to the drawing board. I decided to go with a contrasting pattern/texture. I had played with the rick-rack rib stitch in the Zen scarf pattern. It looked nice enough in a large gauge, but the texture didn’t really come out. I decided to play with it some more. I separated each column of the zig-zag by a column of p1, k1, p1. I like the look and I think that it’s enough different from the first panel to stand on its own:

Thinking on the edging I’ve graphed out, I think am going to have the same problem. I’ll scout around today to see if I can find something narrower that has a coordinating presentation.

The yarn is wonderful. It’s a hand-spun super-soft Merino wool, labeled as laceweight, but actually closer to fingering. (I’ll add a yarn review after the project is finished and blocked). It’s fromGreenwood Hill Farm, asmall producer here in Massachusetts, and is my souvenier from this year’s Gore Place Sheepshearing Festival. It’s a rustic-looking two-ply yarn in that there are thick and thin/tightly spun and looser spun, fluffysections on each ply. This makes a very informal feeling bit of lacy knitting – snuggly rather than crisp. (You can see some o the slubby, puffy sections in the piece above – look at the top corner of the top leftmost diamond.) It knits up evenly, there’s none of the kinking back on itself I’ve found in some other small-production hand-spun yarns. One minor annoyance – there was quite a bit of tiny, sharp vegetable fragments in the first third of my skein – about one thorn or spriglet every two inches. I understand the logistical problems/economics ofwhy these shards remain.I don’t expect this type of sheep-to-knitterenterprise to produce pristine yarn; but it’s a minor pain to keep the tweezers on hand to pull out the stickers as one knits. In spite of the rustic look and occasional tiny thorn, thisyarn slides like butter and feels like a cloud. It’s the absolute poster-child for non-itchy natural Merino. I’ve got about 400 yards, enough for a very short overlap style inside-the-coat scarf (as opposed to a wrap-around-the-neck grand scarf). If it performs as I expect it will, I’ll be trying out their sport weight real soon.

Another departure from my original idea: At first, I was going to work this scarf like I didmy Kombu Scarf – starting with a strip of edging, picking up along its spine, then working the edgings at the same time as the scarf body. I decided to work it differently this time, just for the sake of the challenge.

I am going to knit the entire center strip, end to end. Then starting in the scarf’s center (the part usually at the back of the neck), I’ll knit on the edging. I willcalculate the length of each edgingrepeat, so I should be able to work in an even number to the corner. If the edging I end up using is narrow and flexibleenough, I might be able towrap the corner easily, working an extra iteration on the cornerto avoid cupping. If it ends up being too wide for that I think I’ll try mitering the corner with short-rowsto makea nice, finished end. Remember,both approaches are"in theory." I’m not quite sure how I’ll go aboutthe cornersyet. In the mean time, I’ll just keep knitting the center strip.

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