Army Scarf

Review of Marcy Smith’s Retro Striped Scarf pattern.

I knew I wanted to make the Retro Striped Scarf as soon as I saw it.  It seemed very cozy.  I also like the fact that it was a scarf with a little more interest than your basic hdc scarf that was also manly enough for the average guy.

I decided to make this scarf for an above average guy, my father, more or less in Army colors.

Army Scarf (Wrapped) Amry Scarf (full length) Army Scarf (closeup) Army Scarf extreme closeup

Pattern: Retro Striped Scarf by Marcy Smith

Size: 6 feet

Yarn and Hook: Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Mink Brown, Forest Green Heather, and Wood Print, using size J (6.0 mm) hook

Modifications: Did not add the fringe, had to adjust rows to counteract curling on the increased edge (see below).

How it Went: I liked this scarf much more in theory than in practice. There were two things that kept me from liking it more.

First, it turns out that the three colorways I used had slightly different thicknesses which made it hard to keep the width constant. The fact that the scarf is on a bias helped disguise it, but it was a struggle.

Second, I kept finding that the increase edge kept curling in a way that meant I had to chain extra stitches to keep it from curling in on itself.

On the positive side, I really liked the Wood Print colorway.  (I also really liked the Forest Green Heather because of the way it incorporated turquoise with the dark green.) Also, I learned a new stitch (moss stitch) that looks nice and is very easy.

Bottom Line: I like how the scarf ultimately turned out, but I doubt I’ll make this particular pattern again.

Works in Progress: Washcloths and a Hook Roll

Updates on my current works in progress: a knitted washcloth and a crocheted hook case.

Christmas gifts are finally complete – even my last straggler – so it’s full steam ahead on other works!

Knitting

After my “first” knitting project; which did become a Christmas present for my youngest niece, I decided I needed to do something simple to start training my hands what knitting feels like.  I picked up Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting as my intro book, and I’ve been working through the Dirty-Girl Washcloths.

I started the first of the 3, an all garter stitch washcloth, right after Thanksgiving.  For reasons I no longer recall, I opted to do that one in a pink worsted-weight acrylic I had on hand rather than wait until I could get back to my stash and get started with some cotton yarn.  I’m not particularly thrilled with the end result (too large, uneven, and not the greatest yarn choice for a washcloth) but it did really help me get that knit stitch ingrained!

Dirty Girl Garter Stitch Washcloth (complete)
Dirty Girl Garter Stitch Washcloth

I’ve started the second washcloth, in stockinette with a garter stitch edging.  This one is being worked in “Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Twists.”  According to the pattern, I should be done by now as I’ve reached the right number of rows.  However, I decided I wanted it a little bit closer to square, so I’m going a few more rows on it.  Not too much longer before I start on the final one!

Dirty Girl Stockinette Washcloth (in progress)
Dirty Girl Stockinette Washcloth (in progress)

Also, knitalongs with the knitting group coming soon…

Crochet

I thought about returning to my unfinished Go For Baroque sweater, but I’m not quite ready to pick that up yet.  Instead I’m ramping up the hook roll from Lisa Nakrent’s Rainbow Rolls pattern.

So far I’ve found a few oddities in the pattern, mostly in terms of colors.  The pattern calls for 9 colors, labeled A, B, C, D, E, G, H, J, and K.  Notice that there is no F or I.  However, the pattern instructions refer to colors I and F.  I think that “I” is supposed to be “J”.  Based on the pictures, I think “F” is supposed to be “D”.  The final confusing bit is that the instructions talk about using color “A” for part of the back of the hook roll, which sounds like an error.  The rest of the hook roll back is done in color K, and the pictures don’t appear to have a second color where the instructions say to switch.  I’ve submitted a question to Interweave Crochet, the pattern publisher, so hopefully I’ll get an official answer.  Otherwise I’ll just muddle along. :)

Currently I’m working on a gauge swatch.  The pattern calls for Halcyon Yarn Casco Bay Sport, which I couldn’t find at my usual yarn sources.  So, I’ve substituted Berroco Pure Pima.  I’m pretty excited about this yarn.  The colors are very vibrant and it feels great.  I hope it will be nice to work with.

Rainbow Hook Roll - raw materials
Rainbow Hook Roll - raw materials

Continental Purling

Looking at different ways to purl as a continental style knitter

Holiday crafting is finally finished.  I finished all but one piece in plenty of time, but that last piece proved to be far more time consuming than I expected!

With the “must complete” list done, I’ve started my 3rd knitting project today, a stockinette stitch washcloth from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting.  And now that I’m having to purl, I’ve discovered that purling as a continental knitter is really hard.  So, I thought I’d do a quick post with some resources for continental style knitting.

I did my first knitting project holding my needles in the English method (i.e. the way that pretty much everyone here in the U.S. does): yarn and working needle in your right hand.  I found it very difficult to hold my yarn in my ‘working’ hand.  While I was working on this project I came across the Continental Method.

In the Continental Method, the yarn is held in the left hand and the working needle in the right hand.  This positioning is exactly the same as I use in crochet.  So, for my second knitting project (the garter stitch washcloth from Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting), I did it in continental style.  I was amazed at how much easier this was for me.

However, when I started work on the stockinette stitch, I discovered that purling was more difficult; it felt very awkward and I couldn’t figure out how to purl as smoothly as I could knit.  Thankfully, youtube came to my rescue!

Here is my personal favorite continental purling method so far:

It has relatively low left hand movement, which is what made continental knitting seem to go so fast.

My second favorite variation involved using your middle finger to help push the yarn around the working needle.

The final variation I’ll highlight is the Norwegian Purl: (This video by RoxMpls explains why it works, but I thought the previous video was a little bit better for learning the stitch itself.)

I think for me that the first method above might work best for long series of purling, but the Norwegian method may be better when you’re alternating knit & purl stitches in the same row.  In testing these a little, I found that my stitches in Norwegian purl tend to be a bit loose, whereas using the first method my purl stitches have a tension similar to my knit stitches.