SYMMETRICAL SNAKE

Working through some quick holiday presents, over the past week (and in spite of deadlines) I managed to do up a Kureopatora’s Snake scarf. I used some Southwest Trading Company Karaoke, a 50% soy silk. 50% wool thin/thick single, with equivocal results.

To start with, I bought the Karaoke with this scarf in mind. I picked up just two skeins of it on a lark, in a now defunct yarn shop I visited during a business trip to Savannah, Georgia. I was rushed and didn’t have much time to play. My magpie self was attracted to the jewel like colors and the promise of exceptionally long repeats. I selected two skeins of the same color number and dyelot that looked to have the same colors on the outside, with the hope that they would be more or less symmetrical in their color progression. By the label, two skeins together were about 220 yards – short yardage for this project as written, but I decided that if I made a narrow Snake over 22 instead of 30 stitches, I’d have enough.

The yarn in the first skein was quite thick, with very few thin sections. The twist was uneven, with some heavily twisted thick bits, and some parts that were almost like untwisted roving. There were clot like “fluffs” of extraneous fiber stuck to the main strand that I picked off as I was working. Skein #1 began and ended with dark blue. I knit away, starting from the center of the skein. Repeats were exceptionally long. The entire skein seemed to encompass only one (the two yellow areas are markedly different). Starting at the photo’s left, I got to the scarf’s dark blue center section before I ran out of yarn.

Karaoke-snake.jpg

Because I had two highly similar skeins and the repeat was so long I decided to try to play with color placement. I began using the second skein – also showing blue on its exterior – starting from the outside in. This yarn being 50% wool spit splices nicely, so I melded my trailing blue end onto the same color blue from the outside of the second skein and kept going.

Now is when the equivocal part kicks in. While the color matched nicely, the second skein was unlike the first in thickness, with extremely overtwisted thin sections making up the bulk of the thing, studded with lots of those fluffy fiber clots. The difference between the two balls is noticeable when knit, although I didn’t notice it in the skein. If you compare the left leg in the photo (knit with the thicker yarn) and the right leg (knit with the thinner second skein) you can see the difference in achieved width. The drape is quite different, too, with the left side being thick and plush, and the right side being skimpy by comparison.

Finally, while it didn’t matter much for this project, the total yardage for the two skeins was wildly different. I knit every inch of skein #1. I had about a quarter of skein #2 left over when I reached the comparable color point on my second leg and decided to end off.

So I now have a pretty and color-balanced rainbow Snake Scarf, that looks much better than it drapes. Plus a caution for anyone buying this yarn who expects to make something larger than a hat or pair of mitts from it. Printed yardage and gauge are both VERY unreliable. Buy one extra skein for every three you estimate that you need, just in case you end up with short yardage (though full weight) fat-yarn skeins. And if you want to use this for small projects, be advised that depending on the thickness in your skeins, you could be working this at anything from DK to bulky weight gauge. Also be advised that although soft, this yarn catches easily on everything, even dry skin, and on the highly saturated #298 colors will run when washed (based on the blue shedding when handled with damp hands). Final verdict – I wouldn’t use it again without specific reason, and if I had reason, would only buy this in person, and only after close inspection for uniformity.

Oh. How to make a wider or narrower Snake? Easy. Start the project as written. Continue the initial increase section until you have achieved an even number of stitches and your piece is the width you want. Work the trumpet like sections in the same method as written. Work the final section like the others until you have HALF of the stitches on each needle. On the next right side row (the one that commences at the left edge where you increased on previous rows) begin with a SSK instead of the increase. Continue until you have three stitches remaining on your needle. On the last row, SSSk all three of those stitches together.


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