Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Triumphant Return

This is Brian reporting in.

I know. It's been a while since I contributed to this blog. Shameful. I mean it has my name on it and everything.

In all fairness I took a year off. Oh, I still picked up my needles now and again, but I found myself occupying my hands with the new (well, new since I last blogged) boyfriend and my awesome Wii. And I found my new (well new since I last blogged) job occupied more of my time than the old one did.

But I can see the fall colors out of my window even if global climate change is keeping me from feeling crisp autum air and the fiber bug bit me in the ass again and now here I am. I have a number of projects OTN* and even a few recent FOs to report about, and I'll give a full update soon, but I really wanted to talk about a new book, Knitting New Scarves by Lynn Barr.

Some of my correspondence with Bevin about this title can be read in an earlier post of Bevin's here.

The book is exceptional and has been really inspirational for me. Just reading through it is encouraging me to begin thinking of knitting in 3 dimensions, more so than I had before anyway, and I'm anxious to start some of the more unusual projects. There's practically nothing in the book that I don't want to at least swatch if for no other purpose than to just try the unconventional techniques routinely employed by these challenging patterns.

I dove right in and grabbed some Lion Brand WoolEase I'd long ago stashed for some long forgotten project and cast on. I chose "Stacked Wedges" because I liked the effect of the short row shaping from the photograph in the book and I was looking for an easy knit to mindlessly work on while I watched Heroes on the sofa with Boomer. In less than a week I've managed about half a scarf.

Here's photo of my progress.

This scarf features some simple short row shaping to create a really interesting geometric design. It zigs and zags as it comes off the needles. The color changes keep it interesting and the pattern can be easily memorized.

One thing to be aware of. The photographs in the book show a scarf with a clear right and wrong side. In those photographs, the join between colors is only visible on the back, while the wedges stack cleanly on the right side. However, following the pattern as written will produce a scarf with visible joins on both sides.

Because I discovered this well after I'd begun I've decided to continue on with alternating joins. It's very small and doesn't bother me too much, plus it makes the scarf truly reversable. But if I ever knit a scarf from this pattern again I would correct this problem by knitting 7 full rows of the old color after the second short row pattern on the left wedges instead of 6 and then 4 full rows of the new color before beginning the short row pattern again instead of 5. This easy alteration on every other wedge will put all joins on the same side.

This is a really fun knit and at this rate I'll be able to show off a new FO next week. But that's not binding. You know. Just in case I fall behind schedule.

I'm trying to decide what to try next. I'll keep you posted. I swear.

*on the needles


LynneB said...

Hi Brian,
Author of ‘Knitting New Scarves’ here. I’m so glad you find the book inspirational… it’s what I hoped for, and I appreciate you writing about it on your blog.

Hopefully you won’t mind if I address what you believe is an error in the book. Looking at the directions, you’ll see that every time a yarn color change is made, the pattern instructs you to do so on Row 1 (an odd row), following Row 28 (an even row). This indicates that color changes are always made with the same side of the scarf facing you, and therefore will always look the same. The photo in the book was knit (by me) following the directions as written.

If you have any questions about any of the other patterns or techniques, feel free to email me, lynne@sweaterscapes.com. Some of the knitting is a bit unconventional, so I’m happy to answer questions if it helps. Again, thank you for including the book in your blog.

Helen said...

There's a Knitalong starting for Knitting New Scarves - please see http://knittingnewscarves.blogspot.com/