Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grown-up looking scarf

When I showed you my grown-up looking hat to go with my grown-up looking coat, I mentioned that I was making a matching scarf but had to frog it because it was rolling.

Oh - on Sunday I mentioned that my new coat was mistakenly taken by someone else at lunch earlier that day.  Last night when I was about to leave for the Loose Bead Society meeting I couldn't find my keys.  I panicked that I had put them in my coat pocket and that the woman would keep them when she returned my coat.  I don't know why I would have taken my keys because Steve drove, but I couldn't find them anywhere in the house.  They always go on the hook, and they weren't on the hook.  Fortunately, both coat and keys were safe at the restaurant, and I felt so relieved I stayed for lunch.

Here's the scarf stretched out before I took it apart:

This is done in stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl the next).  I really liked how it looked with all the little Vs and the zig-zaggy pattern the variegated yarn produced.

Left to its own devices, it looked like this:

Since I haven't knit anything flat in such a long time, I forgot stockinette did this.  I didn't do anything wrong - this is normal for this stitch.  It's because knit stitches (the little Vs) are wider than purl stitches.  When I show you the back of the redone scarf, you'll be able to see what that looks like.

I did some research on what to do with a rolled up stockinette stitch scarf and came across a blog post from TECHknitting on that exact subject.  There were four posts, actually.  The first one was a background and explaining why the two plans I had (blocking and edging) weren't going to work.  The other posts discussed methods to fix a completed curled-up scarf.  I looked over the methods, and I decided it would be faster to remake the scarf than to fix it afterward.

As I thought about it, I kept knitting, and I got increasingly distressed.  Steve said, "It's going to be around your neck, no one is going to notice."  I said, "If I wanted a two inch wide scarf, I would have knit one."  He said, "Fair point," and pulled the scarf back then watched it inch its way back toward me as I unraveled, then he pulled it back again.  It amused him.

On the second attempt at the scarf, I thought I'd do all garter stitch (knit each row) because that shouldn't curl at all.

When I first decided to make the scarf, I didn't want to do any fancy cables or patterns or anything because the yarn was variegated.  I had planned on having the ends taper so there was something interesting about it.  So I knit my tapered end in garter stitch and decided I missed the "knitted" look.  Also, it looked like the zig-zaggy pattern wouldn't come back.

Since I wasn't doing garter stitch, I needed to figure out what I was going to do.  Based on when I read on part 3 of that blog, I could intersperse purls in with the knits, and it should result in a flat piece.  Granted, the information on that post is for fixing a scarf, but it theoretically should translate.  If I do the ribbing as I knit instead of manufacturing it after, it should work.

They included a chart for figuring out the ribbing based on the number of stitches, and I followed that.  I knit 3 and purled 1 all the way across in one row and purled 3 and knit 1 all the way across on the next row.

Here's how that looks stretched out:

For my non-knitter readers, the purls are those little indents.  I was happy to see the zig-zaggy pattern was back, especially when it's not stretched out:

However, left to its own devices, it still curls:

It's not as bad as before, but I thought for sure it wasn't going to curl at all.  Since I have three knits on the ends, I think it's curling there and just keeps going.

Maybe it's because it was loosely knit.  I used size 11 needles with regular worsted weight yarn (Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice).  I would think that wouldn't make a difference.

Here's how the back looks stretched out a little so you can better see how much wider knit stitches are than purls:

The irritating thing is that I didn't notice it was curling until I had a lot of it done.  I was already sick of it because knitting a scarf feels like the most interminable thing in the world (next to my damnable hooded cardigan), and I didn't want to take it out again.  Besides, it's really cold out there, and I really needed a scarf.
So I kept knitting.  And knitting.  And knitting.  Then I had to stop knitting for a few days because my wrist hurt.  Then yesterday I sat down with the recording of the new "Flowers in the Attic" movie (it was great!) and my favorite 80's Science Fiction movie, "Krull", and finished the scarf.  It could still be longer, but I was ready to be done.  Either I would finish the scarf, or the scarf would finish me.

As an aside, I've heard of people suggesting a scarf as a first knitting/crocheting project.  Yeah, you'd really get good at the stitches, but only if you didn't poke your eyes out with the knitting needles/crochet hook or murder your husband with them when he said for the tenth time, "Are you still knitting/crocheting that scarf?"  Fortunately for Steve, he never said that.  He just said, "It needs to be longer!"  I think that's why I finished it while he was at work.

When I showed you my hat I promised that I would show you the whole coat/hat/scarf ensemble when the scarf was done.  I'm planning on making mittens, and I was going to wait until those were done, but Steve said, "No, you promised to show the hat and coat when you were done with the scarf."

So, as promised (and as a number of you have already seen on Facebook):

Here I am brighter and closer up:

In case you're wondering, I have Transitions lenses.  Love them!

Whew!  Now that the scarf is done, I need to make lots of jewelry for my next show, the Gardens and Gears Steampunk Show at the Mitchell Park Domes!  Get ready to see lots of keys and gears!

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