Sunday, January 23, 2011

Raspberry Scarf

For the record, this is my fifth scarf of the winter season.  The funny thing is, is that it is not even cold in Florida (compared to the North, getting snow and ice)!  I am not complaining anymore when the weather is 50 degrees in Tampa and my parents are shoveling snow in Mass.  I say that now, but when I have to put a sweatshirt on over my tank top, then I probally will. :-)

This scarf I am calling my Raspberry Scarf (rather than beret) because I am using this saturated deep pink that I love.  There is a story with this yarn/project that I would love to tell you about, but you have to be willing  to read for awhile with no pics.  First, I brought a lovely dainty pink ball of sock yarn to Mass with me during my December visit and had a pattern picked out and was going to start on the plane.  This yarn has more air miles than the average yarn ball because I originally bought it last December and brought it home with me, never used it, then brought it back to Mass to try out this pattern. 

Just lovely

Well, the pattern actually called for a yarn weight of a 3, which is like sport weight or light worsted weight.  There lies my first problem: I had sock yarn which is considered a yarn weight of a 1 or 2.  (Translation: my sock yarn was too thin for this pattern).  I start the pattern (which was a scarf, surprise!) and the details are not that defined and the drape is all wrong.  I knew this was not the right yarn for the project, but I desparately wanted to use it!  I tried it on a smaller size needle, but then the scarf would end up being only a few inches wide.  I was disappointed, but realized that the dainty pink yarn would be wasted if I used it on this pattern. 

So, in being Miss Preparedness, I had another project on the ready when I got to my sister's house.  I ordered this yarn online ahead of time and had it mailed to her house; so it was waiting for me when I arrived.  Since my scarf was not working out, I was glad I had this back-up project.  This new project was to be knit with yarn with 1% elastic.  I did not think that would be a big deal, well my blogger-readers, it actually was.  Of course, this new project I wanted to do Magic Loop on it (can't be simple, can it?) but the size needles I ended up needing, I did not have.  Remember, Magic Loop needles need to be at least 36" long.  I went to Michael's and the longest they had was 29" or something.  I bought them, but in my gut, I knew it was not going to work.  Rats! 

At some point during the visit, I make my sister bring me to her local yarn shop (not Michael's or Joann's, but a real yarn shop).  They had the needles I needed in 40" - cool!  We are cooking with gas now!  I figured, while we are here, let me get the proper yarn for the scarf I tried working on while on the plane.  I had one of the shop keepers help me and I explain the sock yarn thing vs. the sport weight, blah, blah.  She directs me to the sock yarn.  I did bring my pink sock yarn to show her that it was thin, but she chose another brand that was a bit thicker and said that it should be perfect for my scarf.  I was doubtful, but thought, "she's the expert."  I bought two balls of yarn and the 40" circular needles. 

Now, normally when you go to a real yarn shop, if the yarn you are buying is in a hank (a twisted skein of yarn) and not in a normal looking ball form, the shop with wind it for you.  You cannot work with yarn that is in a hank form; you must wind it into a ball or cone form.  The yarn manufacturer's put it in a hank so that the yarn can be properly showed-off to visually see the colors and the texture that yarn in a ball form could never do.  But, the hank is impossible to knit directly from because the yarn will tangle and you will have a huge, expensive rat's nest on your hands.

I asked the shop keepers if they wind the yarn and she replied that I could wind it myself, but they will not wind it for me.  Hmmmm...okay.  So, they set me up on the winder, but they only have the winder that holds the hank of yarn, not the winder that winds the yarn into the cone.  Guess what?  My sister and I had to hand ball the yarn ourselves.  She took one ball and I took the other.  Some customer service, huh?

Ok, now I know you are wanting some pictures or for me to hurry up with this story.  It gets better.  I get home to my sister's and try out the new yarn.  Can you predict what my next sentence will be?  You betcha!  The new sock yarn was still TOO THIN for the scarf pattern!!!!!  I knew it!  Dumb yarn ladies.

So, now I have two sets of yarn that I cannot use on this pattern.  I now turn to my elastic yarn project, now that I have the 40" long circs.  I could not get the Magic Loop to work with the elastic yarn, I kept getting the laddering that I prided myself on overcoming in my last post, Lace-up Fingerless Gloves.  So, this is strike 3 with the project thing.

I finally go online to Berroco and find a scarf pattern perfect for my new sock yarn.  This is where the Raspberry Scarf comes on stage.  The yarn I bought from the dumb yarn ladies was called Happy Feet from Plymouth Yarn Co (90% Superwash Merino Wool / 10% Nylon).  Now, this was not good for the original scarf pattern, but it is wonderful for the pattern called Facinate on the Berroco website.  If you click on the Berroco link in this paragraph, it will bring you to the pattern.  It is an elongated stitch scarf.  The pattern is a four row repeat, with knit being two of the four rows and most of what you do on the other two rows.  It took some practice, but I was able to get it right.

A little swatch...

At first, I was thinking that this was going to be difficult because I had never tried an elongated stitch before. I did my mini gauge swatch (gauge is not important in this pattern) and seem to have gotten the hang of it.  The color of this scarf is a raspberry not a red, like how is may seem in the picture.

I have to tell ya, this is the most forgiving knit pattern I have ever done.  At the start of this scarf, I was not counting the rows but "remembering" what row number I was on.  Don't ask me why I thought this would work, because I misremembered several times and just finally got a counter to track it.  But, I did not rip out the wrong rows.  That is the forgiving part, you cannot even tell where my mess-ups are.  I love this pattern!!

Hidden picture: can you see the incorrect rows??

This scarf is like an optical illusion where there are incorrect rows in the above picture but because your eyes focus on the elongated stitch, you can't notice them!  Perfect!  Although not recommended as a beginner pattern, a very good one for knitting while talking and watching TV.

As I say this is a great pattern, since it is so repetitive, it got boring after the first ball of yarn was knitted.  But, like I said, it ended up being simplier than I thought.  It is a good combo of easy but looks elegant. 

Stitch close up

I knitted this as a scarf, but now that it is done, it can be several types of accessory pieces.  I will begin my montage of scarf modeling.  It can be a cowl:

Holy cowl, this is cozy!

Another way is it can be worn as a shawl during an elegant evening out (or at work when they have the A/C on in the winter):

No, you may not take my shawl, sir.

Or as tied caplet:

The possibilities are endless!
I can always wear it as a normal scarf or tie it on my waist as a waist scarf.  I could go on and on.  I did go on and on during this post, but I felt as though it was necessary for you to know the history of how this scarf and I met.

I will go back and try that elastic yarn project again and will search for the perfect yarn for my original pattern.  But, I think I will break from the scarves for a bit.  I have some sewing ideas that I need to blog about that I have already done and some that I need to put into motion.

Thanks for sticking around! 

Kathy, I'll mail you back your bambo needles soon!  TY!


Crystal said...

1. someday i will learn magic loop
2. classy but disappointing that you didn't dish on that name of the dumb yarn ladies shop
3. there is nothing better than bamboo needles!

Nancy said...

Well, I thought of dishing on the dumb yarn ladies, but their store had every Berroco yarn in existence and in every color. I do have to give them kudos for that.

Kjestine said...

Love the scarf! Best line "Dumb yarn ladies!" HA HA!

I love your camera cozy idea! I might steal it for my GPS!