December 26, 2006
I realize that “red” is not the first color that comes to mind when one looks at this scarf. Fortunately, the Red Scarf Project guidelines include the phrase “multicolor hues including red” and allow for many tones of red, so this variegated with a dark red alongside blues and greenish grays (or are they grayish greens?) fits the bill. It’s Plymouth Encore Colorspun (75% acrylic, 25% wool) shade 7118, which I’ve seen referred to as Green Print, Forest Print, Dark Autumn, and Persian Carpet. Whatever it’s called, I think this combination of hues is pretty wearable.
The pattern is the Flying V Scarf from the book Exquisite Little Knits and was designed by Iris Schreier, she of the popular Multi-directional Triangle Scarf. This is the one that had me confused the last time I wrote about knitting. I was mostly okay with the start of the pattern; I could see how I’d end up with a triangle and why I’d need to given what the ends of the scarf looked in the picture. But then it said something like “repeat rows 1 to 14 on the other side to complete a second triangle”. The other side of what? The first triangle? The cast-on row—but would I still have stitches left after doing rows 1 to 14 the first time? The pattern was silent on these issues, and I couldn’t visualize what it should look like. How was the second triangle oriented in relation to the first one?
I decided to go ahead and just try, figuring the worst that could happen was I wouldn’t be able to figure it out and would have to rip it out and use the yarn for something simpler. I made the first triangle; so far so good. At that point, I could see that “the other side” almost certainly meant the part of the cast on row that wasn’t used for the first triangle, so I made another triangle there. I still didn’t see how this was going to form the basis for the scarf; for some reason, I had the idea that the two triangles needed to be joined to make a third one that I’d knit rows up one side of and down the other. Wrong. Instead, the two triangles form a valley and the rows are knit down one side of that and up the other. A little diagram in the instructions showing this would have helped me tremendously.
Once I got the valley established, it went pretty smoothly. I did somehow end up with one more stitch than called for in the pattern once the regular rows started, but I know how to decrease, so I took care of that problem in short order. I had to do a lot of counting until I figured out how to use a stitch marker for the center–place marker after the decrease, then when it comes around again in the next row, take it off, do the decrease, and put it back on. Easy peasy, except for the rows where I forgot to pass the slipped stitch over for the decrease and ended up with too many stitches again but didn’t notice until a row or two or more later. When that happened, I’d just leave out the increase at the beginning of the next row. I don’t think those spots are too noticeable.
I used different needles than the pattern calls for (mine were size 8 US, the ones I’ve liked with the Plymouth Encore before), and a different yarn, and didn’t do a gauge/tension swatch, so it’s no surprise that I used more yardage than specified. The pattern calls for 200 yards to make a 5 x 65-inch scarf; at 200 yards of my yarn, I had about 40 inches of a 5-1/2 inch wide one. But I bought extra yarn, so that was okay. By the time I bound off the end, I’d used right around 300 yards to make a 63-1/2 by 5-1/2 inch finished product.
I really like this pattern now that I’ve tried it. I might just make another scarf from it, one for me—but not until I’m done with the red scarves. I figure I’ve got time to do one more before I have to ship them off next month; decided which one was the dilemma I faced this past weekend when I finished this. I’ve got a lot of the Fired Brick Swish (plus accent/contrast colors) I bought specifically for this project, so I felt like I should use that. But, but—I also had some stash yarn calling to me, telling me it wanted to be in a scarf. (Look at me–knitting only a little more than a year and I’ve already got talking stash yarn. I guess that’s not surprising, since I started my fabric collection before I finished my first quilt, before I knew it was called “stash”.) This yarn is not machine washable, which violates one of the rules I made for myself for the project—but how often do people wash their scarves, anyway, countered the yarn. I don’t have enough of it to make a whole scarf the right size to meet the project guidelines, but the yarn assured me it would be happy working with others. So I let myself be swayed and started a scarf from Modular Knits (also by Iris Schreier). The pattern is better—it has a diagram and tells where to place/remove markers—but it’s still been a struggle so far. Maybe it’s just too hard for me given my current skill level (it’s marked “intermediate”) or maybe I just need to look around the web for tips from other people who’ve done it. Eventually, I will master it, but I just may have to retreat for a bit and do something else for Red Scarf Four.