Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The "This-Summer-Scarf-Totally-Rocks-My-World" Scarf

So, some of you may have noticed that I've been knitting a lot lately. My grandmother was a prolific knitter and my mother also knits, and they both taught me several times, but it never stuck. I finally figured out on my own how to knit about five years ago. Okay, I didn't so much figure it out as learn it from a book. Okay, it was a children's book called I Can Knit! But it worked, and I've been knitting on and off ever since. For my birthday last December, my mother gave me an excellent book recommended by a friend of a friend called Stitch 'n Bitch. Since then I've gone from a casual, I'm-bored knitter to an obsessive, I'd-rather-knit-than-read knitter, which is a little strange for me, since reading has been my favorite thing to do since I learned to do it. It might have something to do with having recently quit smoking and needing something to do with my hands. Who knows? You can figure out the psychological motivation if that's your thing. In the meantime, I'll keep knitting.

That little story is just an introduction to explain why I am so excited about this scarf pattern that I feel compelled to write about it. (See the discussion on "obsession" in the previous paragraph.) The pattern, designed by Twist's own Susan Gilroy and Shelly Stilger, is available for free on the Twist Yarn Shop website at They call it the "Double-Wrap Stitch Scarf." That name is certainly descriptive but a little prosaic, so I have decided to call mine the "This-Summer-Scarf-Totally-Rocks-My-World" scarf. I hope they won't mind!

There are three basic reasons why I love the Rocks-My-World scarf. First, it's fast. I may have been slightly influenced by the fact that the scarf I finished just before this one was about 7-1/2 feet and made entirely of seed stitch. It looks wicked cool, but it took about 2 weeks to make, and that was after a week of false starts while I decided whether I wanted ribbing, garter, to combine two colors, etc., etc., ad infinitum. The Rocks-My-World, on the other hand, took 3 days! Many of you know that I'm an instant-gratification kind of girl, so I practically started drooling as the Rocks-My-World spooled off my needles inches at a time. I started it on Saturday evening, as a balm to my shattered nerves after KU lost the second round, and finished it on Monday evening. I did spend most of Sunday working on it. Someone who knits at my medium-steady pace but is less obsessive would probably take about a week to finish it.

Second, the Rocks-My-World is very easy, although people who don't know anything about knitting will think it looks very complicated. I had one of the helpers at Twist (I would like to credit her, but I never caught her name) show me two stitches that I hadn't used before, but I had actually already figured them out myself. I just needed her to reassure me that I was doing them correctly. The whole scarf is just variations of the knit stitch, the simplest stitch.

Third, the Rocks-My-World is FUN! "Fast" and "easy" certainly influence the fun factor on this scarf, but it's also fun because you can use any kind of yarn to achieve any kind of effect. For this incarnation of the Rocks-My-World, I used approximately 2.5 98-yard skeins of Borroco Origami multicolored yarn in an overall reddish hue to achieve a 5-foot scarf. It's pretty stretchy, so it wears more like a 6- or even 7-footer. The summer theme is apparent not only in the loose-weave design that probably wouldn't be much use in winter, but also in the multicolored yarn, which is simply beautiful. It has every color you'll ever see in a summer sky, from a sunrise to the moments before the hail starts falling.

For future projects, I plan to use a monocolor ribbon yarn (like the bamboo yarn the pattern recommends) to make a more sophisticated version. Actually, I intend to make multiple versions in as many colors and yarn weights as I can get my hands on and can afford. The next time you see me, odds are good that I will be wearing one of these scarves. And, yes, women in my family should not be shocked to find a Rocks-My-World among their Christmas gifts next year. Send me your color preferences now, ladies.

I'm also going to try making a skinny, short version of this scarf to use as a head band/doo-rag/something-or-other-for-hair-containment device. I've got several different ideas for how to do that, but when I try to design things myself, silly things happen like spending 2 weeks on a seed stitch scarf, so we'll just have to wait and see on that one.

In conclusion, the Rocks-My-World Totally. Rocks. My. World. If you're a knitter, it can rock yours, too.

P.S., If you live in the area, go buy something at Twist, even if it's just some fancy stitch markers for your grandma! No, I don't work there. I just love them.

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