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January 3, 2007

And now we talk about knitting: Mismatched Scarf progress

There's going to be more knitting for me in 2007, at least for a few months! I was absurdly busy on a big project last year for most of the fall and I didn't have a lot of time for knitting. My favorite time to knit is when I'm on the bus, and I ended up driving to work too often, my hours were a little ... long. Of course, with traffic I could probably knit in the Jeep if only it weren't a stick shift. Reminds me of a REALLY FUNNY (read: bad) joke I heard:

A blonde was driving her car when a police officer pulled up alongside her. He noticed the blonde was knitting while she was driving. He turned on his lights, and gestured at her to pull the car over, but she didn't understand him. So, she rolled down her window to hear him better.

"PULL OVER!" said the policeman.

"NO," replied the blonde. "CARDIGAN!"

Heh. I never said my sense of humor was refined or anything.

Scarf Stuff
So, anyway, what I am saying here in a rather wordy and comma splicey way is that I missed my knitting! After my big working project wrapped up, I still had the free-floating anxiety you get from stressing out over a thing for so long. (This used to happen to me every year after final exams, too.) So one night I just went though my yarn bins when I couldn't sleep, and rounded up all the like-colored orphan yarns in shandes of green or oatmeal or off-white. I started knitting it at the holiday Stitch 'n Bitch party:


This is a 2x2 rib stitch using 36 cast-on stitches with lots of mixing going on. I'm about 1/3 of the way finished so far, and this thing is wacky! I love it.
Click on the image below for a much BIGGER view:

Here is a close-up of some of my mismatched yarn stripes and color combinations:

All Those Bleeping Ends
When I mentioned I was making this potpourri-leftover-yarn scarf, Joyce (better known on these innernets as Mpratmom) asked me the following question:

I am knitting a scarf in my head of all the leftover pieces that will blend together nicely, but I cannot figure out the ideal way to keep all those end pieces from the joins from eventually working their way out and giving the finished scarf an overall ratty look. How do you keep the ends tucked into the scarf, especially if there are going to be a lot of joins from using many leftover pieces?

Okay, I don't have a picture here of what I'm about to explain because I don't have eight hands (unfortunately! think of all the simul-knitting-writing-eating-channel surfing I could do!) but you'll have to trust me, if I can do this little maneuver, anyone can do it. I am not so coordinated as it turns out. Guess my 8th grade gym teacher was right and I will never be a pro volleyball player. Yeah, I'll cry my eyes out later... after I finish this row...

So! After about row three of this scarf I had a really ugly bunch of ends hanging off the sides. Not good! I wove those in as soon as I changed colors, because I can be neurotic that way, and I realized it would take me FOREVER to weave in all the ends this scarf would have! So I started knitting them in as I went along. For example, when you cut one yarn and add another, use the cut yarn tail to cross over the stitches as you knit, locking them in.

Try it on a practice swatch to see what I mean... you take the cut yarn tail and basically let your stitches "weave" it in by just moving the cut end crosswise over your working yarn. On a scarf as crazy and nubby as this one, no one can tell where the ends were woven in. And since I do it as I go, there are no strays at the end of the day poking out! I was rather pleased with myself for seeing how well this worked. Who cares about volleyball! I am a scarf knitter! I'm sure it burns way more calories anyway.

Hope that helps, Joyce!

Yarn Stuff
One of the things I loved about making this scarf was that I discoved two new Patons yarns that I LOVE.

I got really mad at Patons a few years ago for discontinuing their fabulous 100% wool UpCountry yarn. It was affordable and gorgeous and soft and lopi and I loved it. The Patons folks seemed to be discontinuing a lot of their plainer, basic yarns and going wild with the frou-frou fun fur crazy wacky novelty yarns. It made me so mad! I mean I like a wacky yarn choice as much as anyone, but we still need some affordable basics out here!

Well, anyway, right before my big January 1, 2007 No More Spending thing kicked in, I made a quick trip to Michael's for a few things and spotted this Paton's alpaca-blend yarn called "Rumor" for $5:


GORGEOUS! You can see this skein is still attached to my needles up there in the progress picture of my scarf, I can't stop knitting with this silky, pretty yarn.

And it is soft as a dream to knit with, acrylic with 15% alpaca, and it's super snuggly and comes in great colors. I knitted one row in green on my mismatched scarf and immediately went back to the store for a big pile of this in a soft heathered pinkish red color. I think I'll make a matching hat and scarf combo out of the pink. (YES. I realize that stockpiling against the idea of not-spending for three months is rather counter-intuitive but hey. I do the best I can.)

Also on my pre-shopping foray to Michael's, I found a ball of Patons Shetland Chunky Tweed in a dark forest green which doesn't look very soft but it is! Knits up so touchable and nubby, I just love it. Way to go Patons, with the new alpaca blend, your new (beautiful) soy-wool stripes yarn, and all your Classic Wool, I feel like you're back on track and providing excellent yarn at decent low prices. Love, The Consumer. P.S. I wouldn't be mad at you for bringing back the Up Country, though! I'm just saying is all.

The cats are not as excited about the new Patons yarn selection.

Posted by laurie at January 3, 2007 11:39 AM