Two color-full scarves

I’m quite fond of this scarf. I guess other people like this style too because you’re looking at the 12th Jared Flood Noro Striped Scarf I’ve knit and I don’t own any of the other 11. Flood is the first to say that he didn’t invent this scarf. But, as his blog post containing the pattern shows, he did refine it. This is just a one-by-one ribbed scarf. But I believe Flood came up with alternating two skeins of Noro Silk Garden every two rows. That’s the magic ticket on this one. Color changing yarn makes a wearer smile and keeps a knitter interested in what is otherwise a totally mindless knit.

And Flood also recommended that you slip (purlwise) the first and last stitch of every second row in the pair. It creates a great edge and also hides your colorway changes. The only modification I make is casting on 45 stitches instead of the 39 stitches the pattern calls for.  Mine come out about 6.25 inches wide and 66 inches long. A bit more width than the original is what I prefer.

Of course, you can knit the pattern with any yarns you choose. They don’t have to be color-changing. And they certainly don’t have to be Noro. Noro can be an exasperating yarn, with its embedded debris, and occasional knots that totally disrupt the flow of the colors. Plus it’s more rustic than some people like. I think of working with Noro as increasing my tolerance for imperfection. As you’ll see from the next knit in this post, I’m making progress on that goal.

Noro always surprises. I’ve knit this a dozen times and never been disappointed that my two colorways didn’t play well together. I do try to look for two skeins that don’t repeat (or at least don’t repeat very many of) the same colors. Because alternating colors is the plan, not a glob of the same color spread over several rows. If you get a glob, you can just cut out a section of color from one skein and work it in later if you need the yardage.

These were my two skeins:

The blue-toned skein is colorway 475. And the brown-toned one is colorway 467. Here’s a closer look at how that slip stitch edge works out. And, if you want to see my other versions of this scarf check here for most of them.

This next full-of-color scarf was was was–just spit it out knitter–a real slog. For me, it wasn’t a fun knit. I still rate the pattern very highly, though. It’s a beautiful design. It just required both too little and too much of my attention. I started with 430 yards of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi. I found LL on a sale rack back in 1492 or thereabouts. My eyeballs fell in love and I didn’t give much thought to what I’d knit with it.

I eventually decided to knit Christy Kamm’s very popular Ravelry freebie ZickZack Scarf. For that, I needed a basically equal amount of another color yarn to pair with Lorna. I decided on this copper-colored Loopy Ewe fingering weight from their Solid Series.

Light fingering weight yarn on size 3 needles in a stitch that moves along at a typical fine gauge garter stitch snail’s pace. Well, of course it’s a zig zag pattern. But that’s just garter stitch with a few properly placed decreases and increases.

Here’s the result. I had to knit it over the course of a little more than two months, breaking up its knit with other projects. I’d knit 6 inches or so and then go off and knit some instant gratification project.

I’m OK with what LL did to my ZickZack, though it’s certainly not what I planned. Have you seen it yet? About one-half of the first skein pooled in a way I didn’t especially like. But I decided I could live with it. The reds lined up with the blues and the yellows with the orange and green, so there were blobs of color. I hoped for something different and less pooled. I continued to knit and at about 24 inches I suddenly realized my yarns had started behaving very differently and just as I’d hoped. No more weird pooling. This photo shows the issue more clearly.

About a third of my 64-inch ZickZack has the blobby pooling and the rest just looks intensely colorful.

I debated with myself and even consulted one of the Ravelry forums about whether I should start over and try to fix this. Somehow. I didn’t alternate skeins, and I probably should have. But I’m not sure the dye placement on the one skein would have fared much better if I had. Or should I give up and start over without Lorna.

Some knitters liked the interesting difference. Most figured it would bother them and I shouldn’t continue. I eventually sided with the first group. This effect makes it clear that hands knit this and not some machine. I’m OK with that, though it did take some convincing. And, honestly, having knit 24 inches, I just didn’t want to start over. Maybe sometimes a knitter needs to go easy and not obsess that the work isn’t as perfect as in our imaginings.

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.

Some have asked, so I’m adding the colorways I used in these scarves, starting with the 2 top photos and then (in order) as the photos continue: 320/360, 299/307, 309/244, 349/374, 282/337, 84/228, 252/254. They were knit over the course of a number of years. And I’m not sure if these numbers match the current catalog of colors.

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.

April in Michigan: scarf weather

katia_scarf2

This is an old friend. Well, a new version of an old friend: Lion Brand’s free Rib Sampler Scarf, pattern #70530AD. Wow. I wonder if Lion Brand really has published over 70,000 patterns. You’ll have to join their site to download it. There are 18 Rib Sampler Scarf projects posted on Ravelry and six of them are mine! Here’s another to check out.

katia_scarfThis time I knit my Rib Sampler in Katia’s Tundra, a wonderfully soft 50% wool, 40% acrylic, 10% rayon worsted weight with subtle color changes. I’ve always been partial to pink and brown combinations. I wanted a longer and wider scarf, so I modified the pattern and cast on 44 rather than 28 stitches. I lengthened the eight inch mistake and farrow rib sections to ten inches and the four inch garter stitch sections to five inches. I knit fourteen inches in the one by one rib in the neck section.

There is something totally rhythmic and soothing about knitting this scarf.

Speaking of “old friend” patterns, Jared Flood’s Noro Striped Scarf certainly qualifies. This is how my newest version started out: two skeins each of Noro Silk Garden, colors 349 and 374.

NoroSilk_greenorange

silkgarden_349

And the magic of Noro produces this:

Noro_scarf2 Here’s another view:

Noro_scarf3

One of the benefits of living somewhere that sometimes just cannot get itself to warm is that we can enjoy scarves from September to April. And even though the April 4th forecast is calling for freezing rain in the lower peninsula and massive amounts of snow in the upper peninsula, I am not ready to exchange being a Michigander for someplace else.

Don’t feel deluged by this flood of Jared Flood scarves, but here’s more and more and more and more and more I’ve knit. Every one different. Every one gifted and gratefully received. In fact, I still haven’t made one for myself!

Good-bye to an old friend

The sweater is not the old friend. I’ve not worn the sweater much. It’s pretty but the boatneck neckline hasn’t been a favorite look. The “friend” isn’t the pattern either. A bit after completing it, in somewhat an overdose of de-cluttering, I recall throwing the pattern away. So I haven’t even been able to link to it on my Ravelry page and I can’t give attribution here. I just figured I wasn’t going to knit it again and I wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone, so why keep it. I recall it was from a magazine and possibly this was the cover sweater.

The friend is actually the yarn. Tahki’s Soho Bulky. The company seems to be called Tahki Stacy Charles now. I’m sure they are the purveyors of many fine yarns, but the company discontinued Soho Bulky quite a few years ago and knitters everywhere should mourn the loss. OK. That’s an exaggeration. But it was a great yarn. I knit this sweater and basically just keep it around to enjoy the look and feel of this wonderful rugged yarn.

I’ve knit gobs of bears out of Soho Bulky, including this long legged guy who was donated to a charity auction. His body is knit in Soho Bulky. His sweater is knit of a more “refined,” tame yarn.

This sweater, also knit from a pattern I can’t locate anymore, is pure Soho Bulky. It’s seen lots of wear and still looks and feels great.

I have a very high tolerance for wool-against-the-skin. When others are busy complaining about how “itchy” something woolen is, all I feel is nice and cozy. To me, that sense of scratchy yarn against the skin is a comfort. So I have no problem with hats of Soho Bulky.  This one is Jared Flood’s Quincy, with a wonderfully clever mobius strip construction.

And this was probably my Soho Bulky magnum opus. It’s Carol Andeson and Pat Penney’s Rambling Rows afghan knit using their pattern for its grid guide, but without regard for their instructions on color placement. This afghan is laid out on a queen sized bed. If gifted, which it won’t be until they crack open my will, it would come with a small child and cat warning. It could probably crush one under its weight. I lost count of how many skeins I knit to complete the project. When I used up my stash I had to scour the internet looking for extra skeins of the precious Soho Bulky.

I have no skeins left. I used the last of them, mixed in with Philospher’s Wool, to complete this log cabin throw.

So, old friend, it looks like we part company.

Noro two-skein scarf

Maybe I’m in a rut, knitting multiples of patterns. But this is such a good one. Take two colorways of Noro Silk Garden. The more different from one another the better. Cast on an odd number of stitches for the width you want, worked up in knit 1, purl 1 rib. I usually cast on 45 stitches in Silk Garden, on size 7 needles. Alternate the colorways, every two rows. That is, knit 2 rows from one skein and then knit two rows from the other.  Keep up the knit 1, purl 1 ribbing until you use up the yarn. It’s that easy.

Jared Flood has published a free pattern here, while disclaiming that he really invented it. If you’re interested in giving it a try, check his pattern for a handy tip so that the edges come out nice and neat. It works well.