Pity the family of the Australian knitter. What do you get for Christmas? Socks, when it's too hot to want to wear any. Or scarves, just when a cool breeze would be more welcome on your neck.
This is Mum's christmas scarf, made from 100% bamboo (Cleckheaton), something that has come as a very odd surprise to every non-knitter I showed it to. Lovely silky stuff, with no itch for Mum's sensitive skin. Mum's kind of colours - dry grassy green and the colour of inner avocado flesh. Yum.
Revisiting this project, I feel mildly bad about a recent whinge to K the other night about his lack of excitement over the new things I knit.
Sometimes I'm just so... excited - in my laid back way - about the things that I can make (or try to make...) and the new skills I learn, and I expect him to just get it by osmosis or something.
On this one, K was my design consultant and he saved me from settling for the wrong pattern, or at least plunging in and knitting half of it before changing my mind.
I knew I wanted something a bit lacy or holey, but the variegated colours in the bamboo meant it had to be something pretty simple. I started with this Swiss Cheese scarf pattern. I quite liked the overall effect and K did too. It was going to be unusual and probably something Mum would have liked - an interesting, funky textured fabric. But I was getting these big loops at the corners of the holes. This is partly because the yarn is very drapey and has no stretch. I know there would be a way to avoid this happening, but I didn't have time to go through a lot of trial and error. Oh, and it was in garter stitch so it was going to go through a lot of yarn.
I put it aside and moved on to the zig zag lace pattern of Palette from Knitty instead. I was quite set on this. I loved the fact that it was a lace pattern, but angular. Mum is really not a girly lace person. I was all ready to go, had worked out how many stitches I wanted to cast on, and I just really wanted to start. But K didn't really like it.
Now, don't for one moment think that I always seek his approval on my projects. Anyone who knows us would find that hilarious - we're far too independent for that to be believable. But he was quite engaged in the planning, and I trusted his judgement on this one. I forced myself to come up with another option, and ended up liking it so much better. I was trying to be too tricky for the yarn. Turns out it just wanted to be a nice, flowing mistake rib.
I couldn't help sneaking in a little bit of trickiness for extra texture by dropping columns of stitches here and there, a bit like Clapotis - yarn overs at the bottom, and twisted stitches either side of the stitch to be dropped. I put the columns where I felt like it and made them of different lengths, trying to make it look simultaneously random, yet balanced overall.
My brain loves this kind of knitting. It's a really simple mindless pattern, but has the added element of intermittent decisions - where to place the columns of dropped stitches. I actually didn't want it to finish (except that Christmas was coming and the goose was getting fat).
There was one odd thing about the yarn. I had three balls from the same dyelot. The first two were reasonably consistent in the way the colour changes played out in squares and rectangles. When you stand back and squint, there is almost a tartan effect. But the third one was quite different - the colour changes were much shorter. Luckily I didn't mind it in this scarf, but I imagine it could be really annoying in a garment.