The Shallow End of the Pool

Day 2
in which I describe in painful detail, how undeterred by the warning shot over the bow from my sister's scarf fiasco, I heedlessly waded in and committed myself to knitting another scarf and found myself once again adrift in the shallow end of the Pooling Colors Scarf.

In case there are any doubters out there that remain unconvinced of my scarf knitting deficiency, I submit for you exhibit B, a further exegesis of my scarf knitting ineptitude.
A little over a year ago I was intrigued by a scarf knit by another blogger, (I'm thinking it was Renee but I'm not sure.) It was a Pooling Colors Scarf by Lori Gayle by from the Fall 2004 issue of Interweave
Lori Gayle discovered that it was possible to knit certain skeins of hand dyed yarn such as "Anne" by Schaefer Yarns, in such a way that the colors "pool" into vertical stripes.

This idea piqued my interest and I wanted to knit this scarf. Now, all I needed was someone to knit the scarf for, someone who likes scarfs, someone who had a birthday coming up at sometime, someone like....*scans room for victim honoree* hmm, let's see, Ani, yeah, that's it, Ani.
Ani likes scarfs, Ani has a birthday and Ani likes it when I knit her things. Ani, however, when I showed her what I wanted to knit for her was not as convinced as I was that this scarf was destined to be hers, but I assured her this scarf had her name written all over it. ;)
All she needed to do was choose the colorway, so she chose a skein in oranges and browns, breaking from her usual black, black, and black on black.

Not needing any more reason than that to start a new project (rarely needing any reason at all, to begin a new project), I dove right in and after a little fiddling with needle size and casting on methods, I managed to work with the yarn to get the colors to pool consistently in a garter stitch.
The pattern suggests size us 5 needles and 41 stitches. This worked pretty well once I remembered to knit the first stitch and not slip the first stitch as I usually like to do.
I was beginning to think this was going to be a breeze. I was "getting gauge" rather quickly and things were moving along just swimmingly. This was going well, too well, that should have been my first warning.
I never learn.
It's only when I left the safety of the garter stitch pattern and attempted to knit the scarf's stitch pattern that the bottom dropped out on me.
The pattern that Lori uses is a reversible pattern. It uses yo's and has you purling three stitches together. Which is okay, but because of the way I knit, in order for me to purl three stitches together I would have to rearrange the position of the three stitches each time that I purled three stitches together. This pattern though not difficult was going to be awkward and slow going, I decided pretty quickly that this stitch pattern wasn't going to work for me if I ever intended to finish this scarf...ever. ( Is it getting hot in here? I think the irony is on, I can smell it.)
I'm a pretty patient person as these things go, but this was going to put that to the test and I just wasn't in the mood to test the limits of my patience. I still wanted to knit the scarf but I was going to have to find a different stitch pattern to do it.
So I did what I usually do when I am out of my depths and don't know how to proceed. I pulled the whole thing apart and dropped it into my knitting bag and I left it there until I can stand to look at it without cringing I'm somehow inspired with a better idea.
In theory finding another pattern shouldn't be difficult, in theory. The problem is in order to keep the effect of the colors pooling in vertical stripes the number of stitches must remain the same, in this case 41 stitches.
Even number stitch patterns won't work unless it's an even number stitch pattern + 1. So 10 stitch repeat + 1 would give 4 pattern repeats and a 8 stitch +1 would give 5.
A 12 stitch repeat doesn't work, a three or nine works if you knit the first and last stitch.
Cabling or traveling stitches don't work with this scarf. Having only the one skein to work with a lace pattern would make the scarf longer and I wanted to have a pattern that accented the stripe effect of the pooling colors and it would be nice if the pattern were reversable. That's not asking for too much.
"Really Ani, I was gonna knit you that scarf and all but then
it got all like -this is hard! -you know?"

After pouring over all the stupid stitch patterns that I could find and swatching numerous times I settled on a fairly simple pattern with yarn overs and knit 3 togethers instead of purl three together, would you believe the first pattern I tried after I abandoned the written pattern?

One time could just be a fluke, but twice, now twice getting hung up on a scarf knitting project, Well, that...that...that...Well, I don't know? That's more than a fluke, don't you think? You know, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... I forget the rest, but you know what I mean, don't you?
So with this new year upon us, I am determined to resolve my scarf knitting issues and finish knitting these two scarfs, so I can hopefully move on to more interesting and entertaining fair and hopefully find myself in more safer waters, maybe something easier to knit like a Fair Isle Cardigan or Latvian mittens or something.

My goal is to have Ani's scarf finished to give to her for her birthday on Sunday. I have been working daily on the scarf, currently it is about 2 feet long, wish me luck.

2 Opinions:

Chris said...

Good luck! I can hardly wait to see the finished scarf. Will you post the lace pattern you chose? I'd much rather k3tog than p3tog...

limedragon :-: Harriet said...

Can't wait to see the end result either!