Cold weather scarves

I’m at it again. Posting about recent scarves I’ve completed when summer is still upon us. This one is an old favorite–Jared Flood’s free pattern, Noro Striped Scarf. It’s more a recipe than a pattern. Select two colorways of a color-changing yarn. Alternate colorways every 2 rows. Slip the first and the last stitch of the second of each set of rows, purlwise. And if you choose Noro Silk Garden, the conventional wisdom is that it’s very difficult to find two colorways that fail to play nice.

I had need of a totally mindless knit. This was definitely it! And the color changing Noro Silk Garden keeps the knitting from becoming tedious. I widened the scarf and cast on 45 stitches. Four skeins of Silk Garden and I ended up with just under 70 inches of scarf.

Such a pretty thing. I’ve been a bit obsessive about knitting this scarf. Here are others I’ve knit since my first one in 2011.

Hmm. As I said, obsessed. In fact, seeing them all again makes me feel like I’d like to cast on for a new one.

Here’s another repeat performer. Antonia’s Scarf, by Aimee Alexander. This is another Noro knit, this time in Yuzen.

Yuzen is a DK weight spun of 56% wool, 34% silk,10% mohair. Honestly, it’s not a yarn with much of a cozy feel. But the colors are rich. And it softened in a Eucalan bath.

I modified the pattern some by casting on 35 stitches. Three skeins of Yuzon is about 350 yards. My scarf ate up that yardage and ended up 7.5 inches wide and 64 inches long.

So far, it’s been all about color. “Now for something completely different…”

This is 100% alpaca. It is soft, light, and will be incredibly warm. It is Jake Canton’s Two-Tone Mistake Rib Scarf, a free pattern offered through Purl Soho. This scarf took me weeks to make. I knit fairly quickly and I knit for many hours every day. I started on New Year’s Eve and didn’t complete this until early April. For sure, I knit a lot of other projects while this scarf was on my needles. I had to. It was almost as boring as knitting Origami, another ribbing purgatory knit. I exacerbated the boredom by using a very light weight sport yarn. To widen the scarf a tad, I cast on 75 (instead of 67) stitches.

But it’s such a classic and will be so comfortable to wear, that the boredom was totally worth it. In fact, I’m petting it at this very minute and I’ve totally forgotten that it was a real slog to complete.

My yarn is YarnDreamer, which is alpaca from Christa Newhouse‘s Michigan flock. Her yarn is beautiful. Her Bois Blanc Insel Haus bed & breakfast is beautiful. And so is Christa.

Illusion Knitting

catIllusion knitting is the trickster technique of the knitting world.  It can’t be new.  Nothing can really be new in knitting, can it?  But my first experience of it was  knitting Elizabeth Fallone’s Shadow Spider Scarf in Shelridge Farm’s worsted weight yarn.   Knitters would say that yarn has a wonderful hand. I knitted most of the Spider Scarf while Steve and I stayed at Insel Haus on Michigan’s Bois Blanc Island during a weekend in January.  We were the only guests at Christa and Shelby Newhouse’s wonderful rambling B & B.  Christa is a master knitter and regularly teaches or hosts knitting retreats at Insel Haus.  We lucked out and were able to take a ferry over from Cheboygan.  The winter was mild.  The Straits of Mackinac hadn’t yet frozen.  Someone on the island needed a piece of heavy equipment so we hitched a ride with it.  Had to charter a small plane to get back though.  That was an interesting flight, flying unpleasantly low over the waves.

So, the way you knit an illusion is you trick the eye with alternating contrasting  colors knitted (and purled) in sets of four rows.  When you look straight at the scarf, you see what looks like somewhat messy garter stitch.  But look at it at with your eyes scanning its length and the motif appears.  In Fallone’s pattern, the illusion motif is big spiders creeping the length of the scarf.  Debbie Stoller’s  edgy first “Stitch ‘n Bitch” handbook contains Shetha Nolke’s cool Alien Illusion Scarf.  You knit, and pretty soon Roswell type alien heads appear, big dark eye sockets and all.  Here, in Donna Druchunas’s Hidden Cat Scarf, it’s cat faces that emerge.  Fun stuff, this knitting.  My version of the cat scarf is knit using Michigan’s own Stonehedge Farm Shepherd’s Wool, soft merino wool spun in East Jordan, Michigan.  That’s on the sunset side of the state, not the sunrise side closest to Long Lake.  Still good Michigan wool.  I’ll imagine some of the sheep grow their wool on the sunrise side.  Could be.  Could be.

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