Archive for the ‘Scarf’ Category

The kindness of strangers, part two

From a knitting perspective, last year was quite frustrating. On more that one occasion, I managed to run out of yarn before finishing a project. Some times it was by a just a small amount, other times I was completely off the mark. Running out of yarn is not something that I’m used to; in fact, I tend to buy way too much yarn. The cardigan that was in the last blog post? It’s being knit from yarn left over from Matt’s Henry scarf.

The Man Scarf was one project from last year that was a victim of my dufferism. I used the Ixchel Bison + Bamboo I won (and subsequently bought more of) at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show last year. This yarn has terrific yardage for an 8ply so at the time I thought I could get a Matt-sized scarf out of two skeins. I’m not a natural-born optimist so cannot imagine why I felt so confident about getting a long scarf out of 100g/320m. In any case, I was really wrong.

As the second skein ran out, the scarf looked short but I thought it might be ok if Matt wore it under jackets. When Matt tried it on, he looked like Laurel wearing one of Hardy’s short ties. It really wasn’t wearable as a two-skein scarf. Then I found out Charly from Ixchel fibres had sold out of the yarn. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the yarn to be anything but a Man Scarf, so I asked for another skein on Ravelry. As it was not a widely sold, easily accessible yarn, I didn’t hold much hope of finding another skein. Again, I was wrong.

Within an hour I had an offer of a skein. Within a couple of days the yarn was in my possession and I could finish Matt’s scarf. Saved from knitting peril, not for last time, by the kindness of strangers.

matt's scarf

Man by ankestrick/fallmasche
Just shy of three skeins of Bison + Bamboo by Ixchel Fibres
4.00mm needles
Started: Septemberish 2011
Finished: April 2012
Modifications: knit 23 rows between sets of pleats rather than 24
Ravelryed: here

This scarf is essentially stocking stitch with some horizontal pleats. It doesn’t seem that exciting, but the the horizontal pleats are fun to knit and they add a nice bit of texture to the smooth stocking stitch fabric. Because it is stocking stitch, the scarf has a lifelong ambition to curl. This isn’t a big issue for Matt as he tends to wear his scarves in a way that is conducive to curling anyway.

The modification to knit one less row in between sets of pleats was to account for either an error in the pattern or an error in my interpretation of the pattern. The pleats are always worked on the wrong side of the fabric, so in my mind I needed to work an odd number of stocking stitch rows in between sets of pleats. Besides that possible error, the pattern was pretty easy to follow.


The yarn was really lovely to work with. The softness in the skein translates into soft, smooth fabric, and the bamboo content gives the yarn a lovely sheen. If I could buy more I would, but would probably stick to making smaller accessories with it. With all that bamboo, I’d be worried that a larger, heavier garment made from this yarn would lose its shape.

While this was a slightly suspenseful knit, the little bit of running around to find enough yarn to finish it was worth it. Before casting on, I had some doubts about whether it was the right yarn for the pattern, and vice versa. Soon after casting on, my doubts disappeared. The colour and texture of the yarn was just right for the scarf. I can’t imagine making it in any other yarn.


Last post I promised sunny. The weather has been anything but, so I’ve had to make some sun instead.

Gaptastic Cowl by Jen Geigley (rav link)
200g Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 12 ply, Sunflower
8.00mm needles
Start: February 2011
Finish: March 2011
Modifications: Smaller needles, cast on more stitches, knit fewer rows
Ravelryed: here

This is such a straightforward pattern, but the result is very pleasing. The pattern suggests making it 15 inches in width, but I only made it 8.25 inches. I never wanted to make it 15 inches wide as it would just be too bulky for me, but as luck would have it, I ran out of yarn just after half way. As it is, I’m really happy with the width.

For a long time I was anti-cowl, but this pattern has made my steely resolve waver somewhat. I’m still not a huge fan of the smaller cowls, but there are a few longer cowls that I might consider making in the future.

The yarn started life as a diagonal lace scarf. However, it curled badly so I ended up with a kind of draught stopper/rope thing. It seems much happier to be a big seed stitch cowl. It’s possibly a little rough for use around my neck, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

I’m starting to feel like the kiss of death for certain Bendigo Woollen Mills colourways. Sunflower and the light grey I used in my Golden Hands striped vest, were discontinued a few years ago. This run continued last week when this year’s shade card arrived — two lovely rusty red colours, Rust in Rustic and Tuscan in Classic, have also been discontinued. So, if there are any Bendigo Woollen Mills colourways that you’re not a fan of, let me know and I’ll start liking them. It’s a surefire way to get them discontinued.

As a postscript to my last post, I’ve decided to frog Pickadilly. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that they problem lies at the yoke. I’m determined to make it work, but it does mean reworking the pattern (again) to make it fit well. As DrK mentioned, top down raglans aren’t as easy as they appear on the surface, even though they’re often put forward as the ‘easy’ jumper pattern. While seeing a jumper or cardigan (slowly) appear before your eyes is very alluring, it doesn’t make it immune from fit issues. This pattern is a perfect example of that for me. Thank you everyone for you input, you all helped me take the in out of indecision.


In a recent phone conversation with my sister, the topic of belated birthday presents for one another came up. My sister mentioned that she’d better finish my present off so she could give it to me when I saw her next. My curiosity was piqued by the use of the word ‘finish’ but I tried not to read too much into it. On the weekend I saw my sister, and the present exchange occurred. The little mite had knit me a scarf!

Lovely Scarf

Not just any scarf, but a lovely feather and fan scarf. I’m immensely proud of her — she did a fantastic job, and the yarn she used (Sublime, she tells me) is so soft and warm. I’m not sure if it comes up in the photo but it’s a bit crinkled because the weather’s been cold enough for me to wear it.

Something that the photo hasn’t quite picked up is the colour of the yarn. It’s a bit greener than the photo makes out. A light duck egg blue, I guess is the most apt description.

The owl buttons are a really nice touch too. The white goes well with the light duck egg blue and I’m such a sucker for owly things so she must have known she was on a winner by putting them on.

I don’t know if you read this blog, but thank you little sister, I love my new scarf to bits.

Henry Henry

Matt and I are edging ever closer to owning matching tracksuits, now that my version of Henry is finished.

Henry, neckwise

Henry by Mareike Sattler
1.5 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted, Paris Night
5.50 mm circulars
Start: February 2010
Finish: June 2010
Modifications: many, listed in detail below
Ravelryed: here

While doing research into Matt’s Henry, I came across this version and knew that I would have to make a similar one for me. Because I used Malabrigo Worsted, my Henry is a lot thicker, softer and I’d argue warmer than Matt’s. That’s not to say mine is necessarily better than his, it’s just different. A good kind of different.

The pattern calls for three repeats (12 rows in total) for each diagonal section, and seven pattern repeats (the herringbone ‘v’) in total. I opted for two repeats for each diagonal section and four repeats in total. This resulted in a scarf a smidge over 12cm wide, a little bit over half the width prescribed by the pattern. I don’t think a wider scarf would work as well in worsted weight yarn as it would feel a bit too bulky around my neck.

As with Matt’s Henry, I used a cable cast on, but the cast off used for Matt’s — k2tog and slip resulting stitch back to the left needle — didn’t translate well to the heavier yarn. The closest I could get to a matching cast off was to use a modified sewn bind off. The cast on and off don’t match exactly, but I think it’s close enough. If I were to make another Henry, I would definitely swatch the cast on and off, something I neglected to do this time round.


Besides the cast on/off issue, the only minor niggle I have is the slight flare at the ends due to a slightly looser tension at the ends of the rows. It’s not too noticeable, and because I wear the scarf under my jacket, the ends aren’t generally visible anyway.

Although a few little issues created frustration at the time, I’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out. The herringbone pattern scales up well, with some minor modifications, and it is so lovely and warm — perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having.


Before indulging in a Japan roundup post, I should mention how I went in the recent Ravelympics. Sad to say, I didn’t complete my project. This wasn’t much of a surprise, as the only real knitting time I thought I would have during the Olympics was on the plane to Japan and a couple of longer train rides. What did surprise me was how little I achieved.


I made a mistake early on, and even the smallest mistake with Henry, unless caught very early, means a whole lot of ripping back. My enthusiasm drained pretty quickly at that point. On top of that, it appears I misunderstood the rules for taking knitting needles on international flights. Soon after takeoff, I was told knitting on the plane was not allowed as the change to the prohibited item list only applied to domestic flights. This didn’t seem right to me, as I’d heard of others knitting on international flights departing from Australia without issue, but thought it best not to argue.

So yes, my Ravelympics effort was a bit of a washout. That’s perfectly all right though, Henry will now be my project for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show. Given that’s still months away, it’s a much more relaxed goal and should (!!) be easily achievable.

Despite my previous claim about not having much time for knitting over the past couple of weeks, a little bit of knitting did occur; enough to finish off this fellow:


Elijah by Ysolda Teague
Approximately 100 grams of Lincraft Balmoral Tweed
Black embroidery thread
3.25mm double pointed needles
Started: February 2010
Finished: February 2010
Ravelryed: here

He was made as a thank you gift to our wonderful hosts in Tokyo. He was mostly done before we left, but his eyes and ears were finished while away. The only differences between this Elijah and previous Elijahs were slightly larger needles, accommodating for the slightly heavier yarn used (a 10 ply was used this time rather than the 8 ply used previously). I also used a little bit less stuffing, which makes him a bit easier to pose.

As this is the third time I’ve made Elijah, it’s hard to say whether this is now the end of my Elijah career. It would be good to try different patterns for toys as gifts, but at the same time it’s hard to go past him as he’s a fun and interesting pattern to knit, with such cute results.

Higher, faster, stronger, purler.

Today marks the start of the Winter Olympics, but more importantly, Ravelympics. For those not in the know, it’s essentially a personal challenge to knit/crochet a project or spin yarn during the two week period of the games.

My knitting challenge is relatively meagre — another Henry, but in Malabrigo Worsted rather than Grignasco Tango, the yarn I used last time. I’m not 100% confident that I can finish it in time, but using a heavier weight yarn (therefore knitting up quicker) and a long day of travel in a couple of days will definitely help my cause.


I tested out the travelbility of the project yesterday when knitting the swatch on a flight home from a conference. You will all be pleased to know that it passed the travel test with flying colours (excuse the pun). The swatch was knitted up on 5mm needles, which I am concerned creates a fabric that is too rigid, but a former swatch knitted up on 6mm needles didn’t have great stitch definition, so the actual scarf will be knitted up on 5.5mm needles. The subtle colour variations in Paris Night come out quite nicely in the pattern too. The variation is not particularly noticeable except in the sunlight, but it’s a nice feature.

Going back quickly to the travelability — this week was my first time knitting on a plane since restrictions were relaxed. It was hard to shake the feeling of being a naughty kid trying to smuggle contraband into the plane cabin, but it was great being able to keep my fidgetty hands busy from gate to gate. I’m keen to see how much Henry can be completed on a longer haul flight.


A little bit of knitting on the train, a little bit of knitting during lunch breaks, and before I knew it, this scarf was done.


Gathered Scarf by Maryse Roudier
1 skein Collinette Jitterbug, Velvet Plum
3.5mm and 4.5mm needles
Started: September 2009
Finished: September 2009
Modifications: started with garter stitch rather than stockingette, and worked over 46 stitches rather than 48
Ravelryed here

All up this took 3 weeks at most, which is quite surprising given the yarn and needle size. I highly recommend it as a commute knit, even with the needle changes, as the easily-remembered pattern makes it a good ‘pick up, put down’ project.

While purple isn’t my colour (the scarf is intended for someone else), Velvet Plum has made me fall for semi solids. I doubt I’d ever use semi solids for a larger item of clothing, like a jumper, but in small doses I think it’s terrific. Particularly with this pattern, the variation in colour works in well with the gathered stripes.

Unfortunately I’m now at a loose end, commute knit-wise. None of my current projects are really suitable for commute knitting, yet I’m reluctant to start another. Quite the conundrum.

a good end to a no good, very bad week.

It has only been one event that caused this no good, very bad week, but it has caused enough upset in the Pransell household that it’s spoiled the whole week. However, I was determined to get something finished, to feel like something good and productive has come out of the last seven days. While it is unblocked, I feel that I’ve gone some way to achieving that.


Baktus Scarf (lace version) by Tehri Montonen (original pattern by Strikkelise)
75g Knittery 4ply merino (have lost the label, and can’t remember the colourway sorry!)
3mm needles
Started: July 2009
Finished: August 2009

This project was borne out of a need (or want, more like) to work on something simple while we moved and for my commute to work (my poor bikes are sadly neglected in our new location). It worked well in those circumstances as the pattern was easy to remember after a couple of repeats and the project itself was quite compact.


Prior to making Baktus, I was absolutely convinced that variegated yarns and shawls were not for me. In fact, this yarn was not far away from being offered up for destash. Now I think there are exceptions to the rule. I don’t Baktus is something that will become a wardrobe staple for me, but I do think it will work well as a ‘transitional weather’ piece.

Looking at it now it’s off the needles, it does seem a little short. I don’t intend to wear it over my shoulders, just as a neckerchief, but a good blocking should be able to sort the shortness out somewhat.

A quick post…

…using my parents’ internet while I visit (and go to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show). If the internet gods are smiling upon us, we’ll have the net at our new house this week. It’s funny how reliant on the internet we’ve become; on the one hand it’s a little frightening how our much of our lives revolve around it, but also testament to how useful it is.

The house is still a sea of boxes, but I have located all my knitting gear (A couple of projects came with me of course). However, as my current projects required a bit of concentration, I started a new, relatively mindless knit just for the moments here and there between packing, cleaning, and then cleaning and unpacking.


The original pattern is Baktus by Strikkelise, but Tehri from Mustaa Villaa posted a variation with a yarn over row. I’m not sure who it’s for, but I’m enjoying the process of knitting it, so I’ll deal with the recipient issue later.

Madness, the final installment

My dear partner’s birthday happens to fall right near Christmas, which means that most knitted gifts aren’t immediately useful. Despite this, I still made him Henry for Christmas. Well, it was intended as a Christmas present, but I didn’t get it finished in time for either Christmas or his birthday.


Henry by Mareike Sattler
1.75 balls of Grignasco Tango, shade 211
4.00 and 3.50 mm Addi circulars
Start: November 2008
Finish: January 2009

I made a few modifications to the pattern, starting with the yarn. I thought tweed and herringbone would go together nicely, but struggled to find a 4 ply tweed in a suitable colour. Opting for a slightly heavier weight yarn meant that I could reduce the number of cast on stitches… to 416.


Before starting, I had read some criticisms of the pattern in regard to the cast on and cast off not matching. To try and get around this, I knit the ending rows a little differently to the pattern, knitting one row less, and finishing with a purl row rather than a knit row. This made it look a little more even, however I suspect that the stitch used in the scarf is just not conducive to looking identical at the cast on and cast off edges. I think this is largely due to the slipped ‘bars’ of yarn that form the herringbone pattern settling at the bottom of the stitch, making the space above the ‘bar’ larger than the space below the ‘bar’. This all makes perfect sense to me, but I’m not sure if it will to anyone else!

I also opted for a cable cast on, rather than the tubular cast on. This was largely due to my eagerness to get started on the project, as I feel that the tubular cast on is a bit fiddly, and wouldn’t add that much to the look of the scarf. Because I opted for a cable cast on, I cast off by knitting two together, then slipping the resulting stitch back onto the left needle. This made the cast on and cast off edges close to looking the same.

All in all, I am (and most importantly, he is) happy with how the scarf turned out. All indications suggest that when cooler days are upon us, the scarf will become useful. I also see another version of this scarf in my future, using some Malabrigo Worsted I have squirrelled away. I cannot say that it’s the easiest knit in the world, but the effort that goes into it pays off handsomely.