The better of me

Day 1,
in which I explain why I believe my knitting is getting the better of me.

I can knit. As to the manipulation of yarn on needles, I get it. I get it very well, some may even say I have a real knack for it, you could say a mastery of the skill. (However, I haven't completed the Guilds Master knitter program so I can't claim the title Master knitter, but between you and me....)
I knit forwards from left to right, I can knit backwards from right to left, I can knit holding the yarn in my right hand, I can knit in my preferred method of holding the yarn in my left, I can knit holding one yarn in my right and another yarn in my left hand, I can knit holding two yarns in left hand and one in my right.

I knit lace, I knit entrelac, heck, I can even knit entrelac lace. I've knit Fair Isle, I've knit Intarsia,( though I'm not fond of it), still I have successful knit it. I've knit socks, I've knit hats, mittens, ponchos, afghans and sweaters.

All these things have I knit. I tell you all you this not to boast about my knitting skills or to discourage any nascent knitters or knit bloggers out there who happen upon this blog, but so that you can fully understand how complete my humiliation is that I am getting my butt kicked by something so seemingly simple as a couple of scarfs, but there you have it.

What? Did I hear you right? Did you say scarfs? You did and I know.
I have promised to knit these scarfs, one for my sister, two years ago and one for my daughter a little over a year ago; and I have been unable to successfully knit either of them. I know you're thinking, why would you promise to knit a scarf for your daughter when you weren't able to knit a scarf for your sister. Well, because a little thing like failure simply isn't a good enough reason to stop an over confident knitter like me from making more promises.

What's so hard about knitting a couple of scarfs? Well, let me tell you.

My sorry scarf saga begins here.

I bought a gorgeous skein of Great Adirandack yarn. I, of course, have misplaced the band label so I can't tell you what kind of yarn it is or the colorway. It is two strands of two different types of yarn, one a mohair strand and the other a ribbon strand, hand dyed together in jewel colors. Because the yarn is a fairly expensive yarn, my thought was that I would buy one skein to knit a skinny scarf for my youngest sister.

( I actually bought two other skeins of Great Adironak Yarn, a cotton/rayon blend called "Tribbles" in the Cappuccino colorway to ostensibly make a scarf for my other sister, but we won't speak of that right now, I'm having enough troubles as it is.)

I had knit a scarf for my daughter in a fluffy fringe yarn called splash in a skinny tube. Knitting with these kind of yarns are no easy task for me, because the stitches liked to slip off the needles, and because of all the fringe, I either A) didn't notice that I had dropped a stitch or B) couldn't find the dropped stitch to pick it up.
But after much ripping and muttered curses, I manage to finish the scarf and in a blithely optimistic mood, decided that I would work the same magic on this yarn for my sister.
And I so I proceeded to do so. I knit a garter stitch tube scarf on size 10 needles.
However the results were less successful. The two yarns didn't knit together very well and I ended up having little ribbon loops popping up here and there. I tried pushing them to the inside of the tube, but they would keep popping back out; so in a fit of frustration I ripped the scarf and separated the two yarns into two balls of yarn and then promptly put them away to be dealt with some time in the future whenever I felt I could look at them again.
A year later I played around with the yarn and I figured out how knit the yarn so that the two yarns are in color sync and I didn't have the looping problem. Now I just needed to come up with a pattern that would work for this yarn.....No idea.
Another six months passes and I think perhaps I should try again, I have decided one skein will not be enough yarn to make the scarf so I purchase a second skein of yarn. Another skein of Great Adirandak yarn a different yarn in a similar colorway (Chagall)
Now I have two skeins of yarns that I don't know how to knit into a scarf.
Another six months later, as I was comtemplating how to knit this scarf I was struck by another inspiration, a third color, because when you don't know what to do with two colors why not add a third?
I was given a chenille sweater by my sister to possibly repair and failing that recycle. So I unraveled the sleeves and now have three balls of yarn to knit a scarf.
So enough already, it's just a bloody scarf, knit it already.
I tried knitting a multi-directional scarf....twice.
Once with one strand of yarn but I didn't follow the pattern properly and I knit the chenille two stranded so the two fabrics from the yarn had a different drape.
Starting over the second time I double stranded both yarns and got the pattern right but I the result was a thick scarf with not enough drape so I scrapped the whole plan again.
Scarf -2, Me-0.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, I hit the book stores.
As I was perusing the knitting books, I was asked by another peruser what book I was looking for and I sort of muttered to myself that I haven't a clue, but that wasn't entirely true. I tried to explain to her my scarf knitting woes and I told her I was looking for a book on knitting scarfs, ideally, scarfSTYLE by Pam Allen. We didn't see the book but the other shopper told me that she was the owner of a local yarn shop and they had a copy at her store.
Really? What store?
Coldwater Collabrative.
Really? I have been there. I happened to have the yarn in question in my bag with me so I showed her the yarn and asked her if she had any thoughts. She thinks perhaps I should perhaps add a strand of mohair with the second ball of yarn and knit a striped scarf lengthwise which is one of the designs in the book.
Could the solution to my scarf knitting woes be that simple?
I'm thinking she may be right.
I have picked up a copy of the book and it's come down to two ideas:
The lengthwise garter stitch striped scarf or,
the Sally Melville triangular, Wear-as-a-collar.
Which do you think would be the better choice?

2 Opinions:

Chris said...

I started to think lengthwise GS scarf halfway through your tale of woe, so I'm sticking to that one!

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

These are some awesome yarns! I'd say go for the lengthwise scarf. :)