Yarn Along (by Bethany)

yarn along 11.13.13

As you may know, Yarn Along is a weekly event hosted by Ginny at her blog, Small Things. I tend to participate enthusiastically for a few weeks at a time, then drift away, then recommit, and so forth. Ginny had a baby last week, and I assumed that she wouldn’t be participating in Yarn Along this week. But she IS. Ginny is a true knitting stud.  If you’ve never visited Ginny’s blog, now would be a great time to visit, and I especially recommend this post, which includes some of the best baby (and child) pictures that I have ever seen.

Here on Postcards from Purgatory, the holiday knitting season has officially begun. I have several projects in progress and I’m excited about every one of them. Mostly I’m knitting scarves, which, in spite of the fact that scarves are easy and inexpensive to knit, is a new obsession for me. The woman who taught me to knit refused to let her students make scarves. She said that after one learns the basic knit and purl stitches, one should knit either a sweater or a pair of gloves because these projects require patterns. She said that if we started with scarves, we would always feel intimidated by patterns and would never learn to read them. She was the one who first introduced me to Yankee Knitter Designs, and I have knit many of these sweater patterns over and over again.

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of a blanket I was working on, and I mentioned that I later tore out the first few rows of the pattern and started the project over as a scarf because I wanted to get the hang of the pattern first. Later, it occurred to me that I could use this same procedure as a deliberate choice, not just as a way to correct mistakes. I pulled out a ton of lace patterns that I’ve either started and abandoned or never started at all (I am not intimidated by most patterns, but I AM intimidates by lace patterns. All those yarn-overs!), modified the patterns to suit the long skinny shape of a scarf, and got busy.

The scarf in the photo is made with a variegated sock yarn, and I’m loving it. I knit 5 rows of garter stitch to hold the scarf’s shape, then 28 rows of a relatively simple lace pattern that gives the end of the scarf that sinusoidal wave pattern. Then the middle of the scarf is knit in stockinette, and I’ll close with 28 more rows of the wave pattern and then 5 more rows of garter stitch. I’m loving this pattern – especially the way the colors work together. I’ve never really done much with variegated yarns and am wondering what took me so long. My only question now is whether I’ll put fringes on the scarf when it’s finished. I’ll play that by ear, I think – I can always rip them out if I don’t like them – but am open to your thoughts and suggestions too.

And the book I’m reading – just LOOK at the book I’m reading. When I bought this book in a thrift shop a few years ago, I never really intended to read it. I bought it for the hilarious juxtaposition on the cover: the name of the Nobel-laureate author side by side with a picture of a woman in a ball gown chambering her fist to aim what my martial arts-trained eye tells me is going to be an extremely ineffective punch at the Confederate soldier who is holding her and laughing hysterically against a pink and white background that looks like the wallpaper Paris Hilton would hang in her Chihuahua’s bedroom. How could I not buy a book like this? For a while I even considered cutting the cover off and having it framed.

But the other day, I was in need of a little amusement, and since the cat was sleeping, I turned to my bookshelves. I was in exactly the right kind of mood for The Angry Wife. I’m moving slowly and have only read about 45 pages, partly because of all the knitting and partly because it’s hard to read when one is always closing the book, looking at the cover, and giggling. But I’ll read it soon, and I’m looking forward to reporting in on whether this novel is as absurd as it looks.

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6 Responses to Yarn Along (by Bethany)

  1. badkitty1016 says:

    That’s a pretty scarf. Here is a dumb knitting question: obviously that yarn is dyed such that it comes out in stripes. What would happen to the stripes if you were knitting something wider, like a sweater?

    • lfpbe says:

      Good question. This yarn is designed for socks, so they are meant for a narrow finished product. It’s possible to buy other variegated yarns that are designed for sweaters and other wider projects. On this scarf, each color forms about 2 3/4 rows of knitting. An adult sweater would be about 2-2.5 times wider than this scarf, so the stripes would be very narrow (only about one row of knitting each). Depending on the colors, this could make an attractive sweater, but I don’t think I would ever use sock yarn to make a sweater.

      • badkitty1016 says:

        Oh, that explains it all! Different yarns for different projects. I had no idea.

      • lfpbe says:

        It’s not set in stone – if you know what you’re doing and can adjust the pattern, you can make just about anything with just about any yarn. But if you picked up sock yarn (which is very thin) and tried to use it with a sweater pattern (most of which call for a thicker yarn) and the needles indicated on the sweater pattern, the resulting sweater would be very small and probably out of proportion. An experienced knitter could work around this if s/he really wanted to.

  2. Pingback: Yarn Along (by Bethany) | Postcards From Purgatory

  3. Pingback: Yarn Along (by Bethany) | Postcards From Purgatory

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