Experimental Knitting

…in which curiousity kills the silkspinner.

I recently found some interesting variegated gold yarn and made an extremely simple scarf for my grandmother, pictured below.

littlegoldscarfUpon finishing, I was left with an impractical skein and a half extra of the yarn, not enough to really do anything with. However, I also had a tiny amount of some purple flax yarn my sister had recently brought me, and the two looked fairly nice together.  Clearly a bicolored project was in order.

At this point it occurred to me that, while I’d been learning about cabled knitting for the past year, I hadn’t seen many projects featuring multiple yarn colors and cables.  I wasn’t sure if this was because a) mixing colors in a cabled project and producing a nice effect is difficult or impossible, b) sane people reasonably think that you shouldn’t distract attention from intricate patterns with unneeded complexity, c) said projects existed and I merely hadn’t seen them, d) that sort of thing makes a project awfully hard to block, or e) other.  Ergo I decided to find out if I could knit a small scarf with gold cables but purple background.

The answer to this question turned out to be yes, I could, but only if I was clever in my choice of pattern. My first attempt turned out to be wrong in every respect — the pattern had the cable strands staying in one place and twining around each other, such that the large stretches of unbroken background tended to clump displeasingly and it was hard to tell the crossings of the gold strands apart from the color changes in the yarn. I switched patterns to one that had lots of cable strands moving rapidly over the background  (found here, originally sent to me by hobbitknitter: http://thestormmoon.blogspot.com/2008/03/free-pattern-celtic-cable-neckwarmer.html). This attempt went rather better, although it was still troublesome that the background yarn was slightly thicker than the cable yarn. The other way around might have been better.  Finally I wound up with the following.

DSCN0031experimental scarf

I’m fairly pleased with it. I think eventually I might try a larger project of the same kind, although of course that would require a good deal more planning.

Scarf II: the sequel

Here’s what I did with my hands during Vericon.


I’m afraid you can’t see it very well, due to lack of an actual camera. It’s about 47 inches long and made of handspun purple and gray heathered wool (the pinkish purple yarn from my last post, in fact). The center design is a five-stranded braid made by alternating crossing the first and third strands on the left rightward below the second and fourth, and crossing the second and fourth rightward above the third and fifth. Hence the pattern repeat is much less complicated than it looks. The outer edges have a simple cable in three stitches. The scarf was quite quick to make, because the yarn is comparatively thick (about bulky weight, although of course not precisely so). The original pattern came from http://www.mimknits.com/downloads/cablescarf.pdf. As before, it doesn’t belong to me, posting my results here is not for any commercial use, etc, and many thanks to its author.  Here’s a closer look.


Now, off to ship it to my aunt. The esteemed esqg and I will be posting about the embroidery project soon! We promise!


This summer my sister brought me a large skein of wool from the Aran Islands, and as I was much in need of a scarf, I decided that the sensible course was to cable the living daylights out of it. Here’s the result, which I finished in late December.scarf2

It was knit on size eight needles and a single double pointed needle for the cabling. The wool is approximately sport weight and slightly heathered; I estimate there were roughly seven hundred yards thereof.  It still smelled quite strongly and pleasingly of lanolin when I began to work with it. The pattern can be found here: http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/08/triumph-cable-scarf-pattern.html. (Note that this pattern is copyrighted to its originator. I am very grateful to him or her for posting it so that others could use it, and am only posting my results with it here so that my friends can see.) The completed scarf is quite thick and measures 52 inches by 7 inches. Each pattern repeat is about 3 inches long. Here is a closer look at the pattern.scarf4

As you can see, there are ten strands to the design; the six middle strands work their way once across the diagram in the course of two pattern repeats. The temporarily outermost strands of the six also twist around themselves. The scarf is knit such that all cables are worked on the even-numbered rows of the sixteen-row pattern; the odd numbered rows are simply knit or purled as appropriate. At the start, a pattern repeat took about two hours to complete, but familiarity with the design allowed me to whittle that down to ninety minutes by the end of the scarf.

And now onward to the next project…