Thursday, December 8, 2011

knitters gift guide - scarves edition

Far be it from me to diswade anyone from jumping into any number of monumental projects with more or less ridiculous expectations of finishing them as gifts by the 25th. Be my guest and join me in the crazy. But if you're a tich more realistic than myself, I thought I'd suggest a couple of projects that are totally doable.

May I present my series of 3-strand scarves. The idea is to knit 3 strands together using a relatively simple stitch that really lets the combination of yarns shine. They knit up really fast because holding 3 strands together makes for a pretty chunky yarn and you can knit them on big needles. These are the sort of project that you could complete in an evening while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Selecting your yarns may be the hardest part - but if you like yarn shopping like I like yarn shopping, it's more fun than I'd like to admit.

Sample #1 - garter stitch

Here's the simplest of the lot (confession, I didn't make this one - it was purchased but I'm showing it for it's demonstrative value not to showcase my own workmanship)

Pick 2 colors - an accent color and a complimentary/neutral color, in this case red and white. Could be fun to use school/team colors to personalize it. To duplicate this look, your 3 yarns would be:

1) red
2) white
3) white - either use 2 strands of the same white or find 2 different yarns of differing textures to make it more interesting

The stitch: Garter (knit every row) on extra large needles - keep it loose.

Sample #2 - ribbed scarf

This one is almost as easy as the first and only requires that you know how to purl. And so as not to loose all credibility, I did make this one.

Find a yarn that is really interesting in color and texture and showcase it with two neutrals. I found a ball of recycled silk yarn at a quirky little store in Alaska and couldn't figure out what to do with it. I ended up pairing it with a white single ply wool and a silk bamboo blend in an oatmeal/taupe color.  So to duplicate this scarf your 3 yarns would be:

1) Recycled silk (find something showy - I like that this is verigated)
2) fluffy white wool
3) silk-bamboo blend (oatmeal)

The stitch: basic 1x1 rib. K1, P1 (repeat). On the next row, knit the knits and purl the purls and repeat to the end.

#3 - the stitch that shall not be named* scarf

This scarf is a little bit trickier. I wouldn't say that it's difficult but it requires a bit more attention than the previous two - which you could probably do with your eyes closed once you get a few rows in. Watch what you're doing and you'll be fine. It's really quite simple and looks awesome.


Here, I found a yarn I really liked and I chose 3 colors that looked good together. In this case, a worsted weight single ply wool, in 3 shades of purple.

The stitch: (co an even number of stitches) slip the 1st stitch; * yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1. The pattern is the same every row, front and back. 

Have fun with it and be creative. The possibilities are endless and you're sure to come out with a one-of-a-kind gift that will keep you're loved one warm this winter. A couple of final notes. 1) As I've noted on the #3, I like to slip the first stitch of a row, it makes a nice edge but really consistency is key. 2) Keep 'em narrow. Because with 3 strands these scarves will knit up quite thick, they can be quite narrow. I think that that #2 is only 12 stitches wide. 3) Also, as you can see, some of these have tassels which can be fun, or seam the ends together and make an infinity scarf.

Happy knitting!

*This stitch has a name, which though in a historical context is probably not only understandable but also descriptive, it's nowadays a derogatory slur that I don't like to use even in this context.

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