Functional Friday: Noro Striped Scarf by Jared Flood

The beginning of this scarf’s story is my brother-in-law-to-be. In the winter a couple years ago, he was looking for a scarf that wouldn’t make him look like he was part of a frost giant clan. All the commercial scarves he bought were too short because he is so tall. He actually requested that I make him a scarf, so I did; it ended up being a Christmas gift.

Patrick's Scarf 3

First thing, I hate making scarves where the front looks great, but the back looks horrible. I need them to be reversible. I really like to look of stockinet stitch, but in order to do that I would have to knit it in the round (like a tube) and close the ends with tassels. Patrick didn’t want tassels so that kind was out.

I quickly reverted to Ravelry and trolling in the internet in general for something that looked promising. It was really sheer happenstance that I stumbled upon the pattern for this scarf! Knit in Noro Silk garden, the colour shifts really do this scarf credit. I always wanted to actually do one with Noro yarn but so far I have only used Charisma Loops and Threads yarn. I chose a solid and a variegated yarn so the stripes were a little more distinct. I really REALLY liked the end result; it wasn’t as plain as solid stripes but it wasn’t too much colour.

Patrick's Scarf

The yarn I chose worked out really well because the solid colours also had a corresponding multicolored yarn. I made Paul’s youngest brother a forest green one, the middle brother got one in shades of gray and I have the yarn for Paul’s in a blue. I still haven’t managed to get any time for knitting it though. Since Paul got a new winter coat, he doesn’t wear scarves much, the neckline is very high.

Now for the pattern itself! It is a 1X1 rib that looks like plain stockinet stitch when completed. Usually with a 2X2 rib you can see the purl stitches and you get that sweater hem look. Since the one purl gives the garment the stretch it needs while looking like plain stockinet stitch, I always use a rib pattern with only one purl stitch; usually a 3X1.

Patrick's Scarf 2

The edges are slip stitch and look very finished and professional. It has the added benefit of allowing you to carry the ball of yarn you aren’t currently using, up the side. So it is reversible and completely finished in the end. There is no weaving required at all! It is the simplest stitch pattern, yet you get a beautiful end product. What is not to like?

Monday Mishaps: Taking Issue with Mohair

Since I sang the praises of ShiBui Silk Cloud here on Friday, I’ll tell you how badly I managed to screw it up during the knitting process. Most of the time, my Monday Mishaps don’t really have much to do with the product or products I am using. It is me not paying attention and just going off on an assumption. Since I always say to never assume, because you only make an ass of you and me, I should really not live in this glass house.

Issues with Mohair 4

First thing you should know about this yarn is it sticks to everything. It sticks to the inside of your project bag, it sticks to your shirt and it sticks to itself. On one hand, sticking to itself is amazing because you don’t need to weave anything in, I just cut the strand I was currently using and spliced in the next strand. You didn’t need to do much in order to splice it in, just kind of put it close together and rub both strands between your fingers. Considered to everything else, this was nothing.

I didn’t manage to finish the scarf Friday night, I had gotten it mostly done, but not totally. I woke up on Saturday and knit a few rows then prepared to graft it together. This is when I discovered that I had done the provisional cast on wrong. Instead of unraveling when I pulled on it, the cast on stayed firmly put. I am stressing an even stronger recommendation that a quick overview of the provisional cast on be included with the pattern. Since I did it wrong, I had to meticulously unpick the cast on and pick up the stitches as I did. After this, I was thoroughly exasperated, but ready to do the grafting. I made sure to leave an extra-long tail because if I ran out of yarn on the grafting, I was going to lose my mind!

Issues with Mohair

I started the graft and it went very well, it looked great! I was very worried because in the last scarf I had knit, you could easily see the graft and I was not really impressed with that. However, closer to the end of the graft, my yarn was looking very short. I thought to myself ‘What. The. Hell.’ I had DEFINITELY left enough for this graft, there should have been an excess, a large excess. As it turns out, since the darning needle was half-way through the tail of yarn, I had not moved it closer to the open end as I went along. Instead of giving myself more slack I had been grafting in the open tail end of the yarn.

I didn’t have time to go through and pick the end out. I had to get ready because we had to leave for the train.

When we got to the train station, I dropped off Paul to get his ticket while I parked. The line for tickets was 20 people deep. There was no way he was getting through that line in 10 minutes. I told him to just buy a Presto card so the next time we could just tap and get on the train, rather than waiting in line. After Paul and I got onto the platform and the next train was 15 minutes away I realized we forgot the tickets for the game on the kitchen table. I wouldn’t have time to run back and grab them, and I already paid to get on the train. Not wanting to be a pain in the ass to the birthday girl, I called her boyfriend and asked him if he had access to a printer. Since he didn’t I ended up emailing the tickets to Alanna and she printed them at work.

After this was settled, I sat down on the platform and tried to fix my mistake. IT TOOK FOREVER. I had to carefully separate the graft from the tail and pull the tail out, without tightening or otherwise altering the original graft. After this, I was able to complete the graft on the train and take photos.

Alanna's Scarf

I told Alanna that the scarf fought back when I tried to complete it, but the beginning of that day was almost biblical in it’s tests. I was lucky the train wasn’t late or something! Even though we got off to an auspicious start, the day flowed fairly well after that, and the Ombre Cardigan was well behaved.

Linen Stitch Scarf

The Koigu linen stitch scarf I completed last summer was one of my favourites! As per usual with my favourite things, it looks much more difficult than it is. This is the only pattern I have had a chance to complete from Church Mouse Yarns and Teas, but I have heard excellent things about their patterns!

I really like knitting things that are unique. It really sets them apart from all the other scarf or sweater patterns. Keeping things interesting is one of the best ways to learn new things and stay engrossed.  I particularly like this scarf because it is knit lengthwise instead of width wise.

Linen Stitch Scarf

Whenever I knit scarves, I am constantly checking the length to see if it is finally long enough. I subscribe to the school of thought that it is better to have a scarf too long than too short, but I always get impatient to be finished and cast off a little earlier than I would like. With this scarf, you cast on the entire length all at once. If you have completed your gauge swatch, you will know exactly how long it is going to end up. Oddly enough I didn’t get impatient and make it really skinny, I kept going until the scarf was a very decent thickness.

Within the pattern there are a couple modifications to make the scarf very different. One of these are to use all your leftover sock yarn in one scarf. Every different colour of the rain bow yet, they all seem to flow together. Instead of turning your work and going the other way, you cut the yarn and leave it long. These random strands form tassels! I am not a tassel person myself, so I turned my work and went back the other way; I was also using only three colours. I’ve seen this scarf started and it looks beautiful!

Linen Stitch

I find when people make socks; there is an average colour palette. My socks are generally cooler colours running along green, blue and purple lines. There is a little bit of red thrown in, but overall, those colours are predominating. You could even separate your yarn into warm and cool colours, if you have the shocking amount of leftover yarn that graces most stashes.

The pattern itself is easy to follow, I had never done the linen stitch before starting this scarf. The pattern was clear enough that I didn’t have to youtube instructions on how to knit the linen stitch. Aside from that it was really quite easy. I did not check my gauge because… well… it’s a scarf and I didn’t really care how big it was going to be. It ended up being around 8 feet long, because the pattern was written for sock yarn and the kit I was knitting it from included worsted weight yarn.

Linen Stitch 2

To date, this has been the comfiest scarf I have ever knit. It was so essential this winter when everything was frozen and we thought summer would never be here.

Technical Tuesday: Entrelac

Entrelac knitting is one of the most visually interesting techniques I’ve seen. It looks like the knitting is woven over and under each other, but it is actually knitted separately. From the first moment I saw an Entrelac picture I had been very intimidated; surely it was very complicated and took a long time to master. Once I finally tried it, I learned that if you can knit purl and pick up stitches you would be fine!

Alanna Entrelac

The picture above is the Entrelac scarf Alanna had knit for me! It was knit with Noro Silk Garden yarn and has long colour shifts in it. I believe Noro is recommended because the length of the colour shifts make it look like each square is a different colour. This scarf is one of the most complemented knitted items I own. I remember I had so many requests for one when I first started wearing it that I had to stop following up on them because I would be knitting forever.

This video is excellent, it gives you the basics so you could try it yourself! The swatches she is knitting are perfect because the colours contrast so well. I will admit that I don’t really like the sweater they have there as an example. If you need a place to find more Entrelac examples and great patterns I would HIGHLY recommend Rosemary Drysdale’s book Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting.

Entrelac

It is a rare thing that I find a book where I love all the patterns in it. Not like, LOVE. I actually just realized there was a second Entrelac book and I am very seriously considering hunting it down because I like the first one so much.

Rosemary Drysdale gives you the basics of Entrelac knitting, how to work stitch patterns into your Entrelac knitting and several patterns. I would normally tell you which pattern is my favourite, but I honestly cannot choose. I love them all. I heavily endorse this book and if I ever meet Rosemary Drysdale, I am going to fan-girl out… hardcore.

Business, Boots and Brains

Well, it is that time of the week again, blog post! Happy weekend. There may be an unexpected post this week. As most of you know, Paul and I had our engagement photos done on October 19th. Since then, I have been waiting on pins and needles to get them back. I finally broke down on Thursday and emailed our photographer, just for a quick update. He got back to me really quick and said he would be sending a link to the photos today or tomorrow. I will put them up as soon as I can.

Here is a teaser.

This week was also my first four full days back at work. I think the last time I updated about going back to work; I was having a really hard time with it. I went back to my family doctor for our regular two-week check-in and told her how I was doing. I was getting frustrated; she was getting frustrated for me. It had been five months! Why wasn’t I recovering? I am very lucky to have my family doctor, she is kind and empathetic, and she really cares about me as a person. So she suggested all the last resorts. I started taking restorative yoga, acupuncture, she sent out another hail of referrals to concussion clinics for me and we switched up the medications I am on.
To switch the meds, I had to cut down on the one I was currently on, take a day or two then start the next one. It took some time for the new meds to kick in, so there was a week and a half-ish maybe two where I felt totally and completely broken. Sometimes when I was resting the whole day and had a really good night of sleep, I would feel okay, and think back on how bad the pain was. I would begin to believe I imagined how bad it was or exaggerated the pain in my memory. There is no way it could actually be THAT bad, right? Wrong. It turns out the old meds were doing something for me, just not enough.
Like the night is darkest just before the dawn this was my dark hour. The new medication started working and I started acupuncture. With this combination, I felt amazing, almost back to normal. I felt great for a grand total of two days before I went back to my doctor. As soon as she saw me, she stopped in shock, and said “Oh my gosh, you look great!” Apparently when I feel bad, I look like something off the Walking Dead. We talked and she wanted me to wait three weeks, just to be sure this was not a house of cards about to collapse. She encouraged me to come back sooner if I had any problems or wanted to come back for any reason.
It was right after this appointment that I contracted the worst cold I have had in years…. I know, I’m cursed. At this point I was very glad of the three half day a week work schedule.
As soon as I got my system straightened out, I made a doctor appointment. Our plan was to send me back for half day Monday, full day Wednesday and half day Friday. Then two full days, then three, four and finally back to five. I was hoping to convince her to three full days right off the bat. I felt better, something was different, and I could feel it. When I expressed that I felt much MUCH better, almost back to normal, she said “well do you want to try four full days back?” BAM! I didn’t even have to wheedle my way into it!
I worked the remainder of the three half days a week, ready to start full days on Monday. It was probably one of the worst weeks to come back full days. The building was changing over their HVAC system and it was unusually hot Tuesday through Thursday. The warm stuffy temperature didn’t do much for my headaches. I had to extract myself a couple times and sit in the, slightly cooler, hallway. You will be pleased to hear that everyone survived and it was marginally cooler on Thursday, so I have high hopes for the temperature on Monday.
On a side note, the business cards for my blog came in! They are really really cute! I’ve been giving them out like crazy. Although, I ordered them online and they sent me some of mine and some of someone else’s. I had to contact the company and let them know about the mix up. Hopefully the rest of the cards will be here soon! I am really excited for them.
Another random side note, Johanne’s KnitnStitch has see-through rubber boots!! They’re worn so you can show off your hand-knit socks! They only come in a couple sizes and I know 9 is the biggest. I am usually an 8.5 or a 9 in shoes and the 9’s fit me perfectly.
Now for a quick knitting update. I am still working on Carol’s Husband’s sweater. I’ve been making steady progress, but have slowed down a bit this week. With the first full week back at work, it has been exhausting. I have worked on my gradient, seed stitch scarf a bit, it is a really easy pattern so it is nice for the days when I don’t even feel like I could handle a complicated pattern. Everything is going well though, the knitting is happening, work is happening, life is moving forward!