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Red Scarf Five

January 18, 2007

This is the scarf that almost wasn’t. While I was waiting for the extra blue yarn to arrive so I could finish Red Scarf Four, I figured I’d start another. After all, I still had close to three weeks before I needed to ship them off and plenty Fired Brick Swish on hand.

Vision #1: Stockinette in the round, with black stripes. I cast on. I knit about three inches. I figured out that a) the scarf was going to be way wider than the guidelines call for and b) I would never get it done in time to ship unless I took time off work to knit, which was not going to happen. I threaded some crochet cotton through the live stitches, took the proto-scarf off the needles, tossed it in my knitting bad, and moved on. (Why didn’t I frog? Because I still want to make this scarf and thought it would be good to have a reminder on hand of what not to do. Maybe I’ll try the Magic Loop technique or buy a 12″ circular so I can end up with something of a reasonable width.)

Vision #2: Basketweave, mostly red with a few black squares scattered around for extra interest. I cast on, black stitches first then red. I knit six or seven rows and realized that my idea of having one black square in each repeat was not going to work unless I cut the yarn each time and no way was I going to weave in those ends. I frogged it.

Vision #3: Red stockinette with black garter stitch border. I cast on. I knit maybe four inches before I decided I was never going to get this done in time either. The knitting was simple, but managing the different yarns was not–three balls meant lots of opportunity for tangling, and I took advantage of just about every one. I frogged it.

Vision #4: Basketweave, but all one color. Similar to this one, which I’d bookmarked when I first saw it. Ah, this was more like it. I cast on 35 stitches and established a knit 5/purl 5 pattern. (Why not 30 stitches and 3/3 like the inspiration? I like the number 5 and thought it would go faster if I had to switch stitches less frequently, and I needed 35 so the corners would match). Every seven rows—give or take a row—I’d knit into the purls and vice versa and start a new repeat.

I laid this project aside when the new navy yarn arrived so I could finish the Building Blocks scarf, then picked it back up. By last Friday, I was only about one-third of the way to the length I needed and not sure I could finish in time to ship it with the others. But Sunday I made a big push and got a lot done and last night I was able to bind off from my size 8 (US) Addis. It ended up almost exactly 60 inches long by 6-1/2 wide. I used not quite four balls of Swish; I’d guess 375 yards or so.


In between finishing the last several rows of this scarf, I washed Red Scarf One, putting it in the machine with a dark load. I’d come across this review of Swish that alarmed me a little; it seemed that maybe this superwash wool wasn’t all that super when washed. I didn’t want to foist a substandard scarf onto a poor unsuspecting college student so I figured I’d better see for myself. I washed it in cold water with Tide and put it in the warm dryer with the rest of the clothes, pulling it out when still slightly damp. It came through just fine. No fuzzing or balling or shrinking. A few of the yarn ends I’ve woven in did pop out, but that’s what scissors are for. I was relieved.

Just as soon as I’d bound off, I attached labels to all the scarves showing care instructions (I knew those business card blanks I’d hung onto all these years would come in handy one day). This morning I packed them up and shipped them off. I’m hoping the Orphan Foundation does this project again next year. I had a lot of fun making these scarves and love knowing that they’re going to benefit a good cause.

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