Monday, February 26, 2007

Flaunt your Colors Scarf

Knitting scarves seems to be synonymous with being a knitter in this day and age. And it's mentioned over and over especially lately, that scarves are a beginner project. I beg to differ. I've been knitting for 40 years now and I'm certainly not a beginner knitter. I do so love finding new (at least to me) ways to twist an old theme.

Today's scarf was started for my oldest daughter when she bought her season tickets for the fall tailgating season. After 4 years of sitting in the top rows of the Rose Bowl watching her march, I knew how the winds could kick in during those evening football games. She use to wear wool uniforms with a cape and sat down next to the field and didn't need the outer layers her sisters and I did. So, I knew she would be needing some 'warmth' for the years to come. The trick was to find something she would also like.

Not liking ends that take forever to weave in, or scarves that curl up, the idea was to find something that would lay flat without have a back side that wasn't pretty. After knitting many beanies, it was a quick leap over to knitting a scarf in the round. Had I been a HP fan, I would have figured out that the concept wasn't quite new. DUH! (yes, some folks learn slowly.....)

Since that first trip around and around and around and around the needles....three of my four kids have scarves, one has three, one of which has some added details I'll save for another day. The day my youngest daughter turned 18 years old, she spent the day skydiving! I didn't go with her on that trip. Her dad took her. She had given me a 'ball park' of the day's events, I stayed at home and was glued to the clock waiting to hear that she'd landed safely - still in one piece without having to be scraped off the ground with a putty knife.

She didn't call when expected. She was 'off' in her timing by quite a few hours. She wasn't aware of how long the class would last ahead of time before the jump commenced. Being the MOM that I am....I can prove for certain that stress will change the tension in your knitting! When she finally called with the tell tale excitement in her voice that translated to, "MOM! THIS WON"T BE THE LAST TIME I DO THIS!!!" I looked down and realized that there was a difference between what I'd knitted the day before...and the width of the stripes I'd knitted while waiting for her soft landing. I refused to take it out, and marked them with bows as a way to mark her 18th birthday and to remind her that I was with her in spirit if not in Mother's prayers for her big day.

If you choose to knit up one of these, pick any amount of colors, in any number of rounds to suit your fancy. Most of the time I've been doing them in sports/college teams but have done some in favorite colors for the individual recipient. The black and white was the most recent combination for the baby's roommate. Whatever colors you like...fringe or not...your combinations are limitless.

One other thing about knitting in the round, when your daughter lives in Boston, or son lives in Indiana, after growing up in Southern California, you know they're going to need that double layer when the flakes are blowing. My son text messaged me not too long ago telling me that it was 18*F and the scarf kept him warm! Now, that was a testimony! This was the child who'd taken me years ago to the Dodger's game on Mother's Day with the stipulation that I NOT take my knitting! He's changed his tune! Smart kid. As for me, having grown up in Michigan, it sure would have been nice to have had a double layered scarf when I used to walk to and from school and home for lunch. (and yes, it was up hill both the snow...but I did have boots.)

Flaunt your Colors Scarf

© Cathy Waldie, Dec, 2003

(US) 8 (5.0 mm) 16” circular needle
Stitch marker
Chibi needle to weave in ends
4 skeins of 100 g yarn; 2 of each color (or amounts and numbers of colors of your liking)
H crochet hook

Size: 6 ½” - 7” (7 ½”) x 73-82” without fringe (depending on the yarn used)
Gauge: 16 sts, 22 rows = 4”/10 cm

With color A, cast on 60 (70) stitches. Join in the round being careful not to twist the stitches and place marker. Knit 20 rounds.
Change to color B and knit 20 rounds.
Changing back and forth between the two colors, you’ll continue in the same manner until you have 11 (10) stripes in color A and 10 (9) stripes in color B for a total of 21 (19) stripes. This gives a total of 420 (380) rounds.
Bind off in knit.
Weave in the ends at the color changes.
Stitch the ends closed so the scarf lays flat.

If you choose to add fringe, add 15” lengths in groups of 4-6 strands for 9-11 times across both ends using the crochet hook. It’s up to you how thick and full you want your fringe to look. Trim ends to match.

*note: my favorite way to measure 15” lengths is to wind yarn around the length of DVD cases before cutting. When the fringe has been added, it gives a nice length of 7-7 ½” length at the ends of the scarf.