A lot of new knitters think of scarves as beginners projects, but I think of them as necessities, practice pieces, and chances to “get to know” new yarns. When I look back over my 2006 knitting accomplishments, they don’t seem so grand. I made two baby sweaters at the start of 2006, using kits from Morehouse: the zebra jacket and the tiger eye sweater. If I don’t have a baby handy to measure, I find using a kit helps. Plus I do like to finish these before the baby is ready for college, and the kit gets me over the designing stage. Since blogging wasn't even on my mind then, I don't have my own photos of these sweaters.
At the same time I bought the baby sweater kits, I also ordered this scarf pattern so I could see how Morehouse’s lighter-weight merino felt.
I bought the quilted jacket at the end of 2005, along with two pairs of bright leather gloves. This is a departure from my usual emphasis on neutrals, navy, and brown, and I really needed matching scarves. On a trip to WEBS, I bought some Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK. The red scarf is done; the orange will be done in a couple of days. I love how the red one turned out. The pattern is from Scarf Style (the feather and fan scarf). I think the yarn would be challenging to measure for a sweater because it stretches, but it makes a truly luxurious scarf.
The small Flower Basket scarf was a practice piece, since I hadn’t knit shawls for a while. I also switch from my customary combined knitting to continental knitting for large lace pieces, and it takes a while to remember how to purl and to get the stitches to be even. I’m not sure how you other combined knitters do it, but the instructions for Ktog stitches boggle my mind enough as it is without having to convert them to account for the twist of the stitches in combined knitting. In this case, I can’t beat ‘em, so I joined ‘em.
This year at the Brooks Farm booth in Rhinebeck, there were some very affordable skeins of a yarn called Acera—a show special. The yarn is a silk-vicose-wool mix, and I used it to try out a Myrna Stahman seamen’s scarf pattern. The pattern requires a provisional cast on, which was the first time I tried this (successfully). I bought two skeins thinking that I’d do a different pattern with the second, but when I started a pattern without the center Ktog’s, it seemed to stretch too much. To finish the scarves quickly, I made two of the same. One is blocked and given away; the other is not blocked, and will be someone’s present for Christmas 2007.
But I did learn a lot from the pattern, and that will help me decide which shawl pattern to use for some heavenly Cascade Silk from Tess Designer Yarns. I bought it at Maryland this past spring, and I think it will need a repetitive pattern that pulls the design in and gives it some texture. So later in the year, I hope to post my progress on it.
There are other yarns I’ve earmarked for scarves—some from Knitpicks (Elegance--a new yarn for me), some from Rhodie Hill Farm (llama yarn purchased at Rhinebeck two years ago), and some from Botanical Shades. Once I get to know these yarns, I’ll have a better feel for the kinds of garments they might make.