Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Purple Mystery Scarf

Recently, I met my friend Diana for lunch and she mentioned how much she loved the knitted gifts that I had given her. Cowls, scarves and socks, she told me that she uses them every year and that any time I need a gift I can always give her socks. Hmm! That gave me an idea! I needed a gift for my friend Cindy but couldn't think of anything. Cindy is an avid Baltimore Ravens fan. She wears purple to the office on Fridays, during football season and she has season tickets to the games. She probably gets really cold sitting in the stadium in the winter and I'm sure that she owns all of the Ravens' cold weather gear (hats, gloves, etc.). This year for Christmas, Cindy will be getting purple knits--socks and a scarf--to combat the cold weather. The great thing about the scarf is that it can also be used for occasions where she wants to show her "colors" but doesn't necessarily want a team piece with a logo.

After perusing through the volumes of commercial scarf patterns I couldn't find what I was looking for ( a worsted weight scarf with a tight weave to block the wind).  That means I am going to have to design the scarf.  I grabbed my knitting stitch dictionaries and spent the next several days choosing patterns and knitting swatches. After several days of knitting swatches, frustration finally set in. I have a beautiful merino wool (Malabrigo Worsted) but none of the patterns that I chose seem to work with the yarn. The wool is soft and luxurious and it needs a textured pattern to highlight those characteristics. Finally I decided on the Little Boxes pattern in the Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook by Melissa Leapman (available from Amazon) and was happy with the result.

Scarf in progress.

I wrapped the scarf around Mozart to show the drape.

I love everything about this scarf!  It's soft, warm, drapes well and the color is an amazing rich, deep purple. I keep telling myself that this is Cindy's scarf and I can always knit another for me.

Directions For Purple Mystery Scarf:

The Knit Stitch Pattern Handbook by Melissa Leapman (available on Amazon)- Little Boxes pattern- pg. 25
2 skeins Malabrigo Worsted in Purple Mystery-skeins are 100 grams and approximately 210 yards
Size 7 (US) Knitting needles- I used Addi Clicks Lace with a 24 inch cable
Yarn needles

1.  Cast on 36 stitches using your favorite cast-on method. I used the long tail cast-on.

2.  Follow the pattern beginning with Row 1. This is the right side of the scarf.

3.  Repeat Rows 1 to 4 of the pattern until the scarf measures approximately 70 inches or the desired length. End the pattern with Row 4 (wrong side).  I chose 70 inches because I want Cindy to be able to wrap the scarf a couple of times around her neck and then tie it for warmth. 

4.   Knit Row 1 one more time (right side) and then loosely bind off all stitches.

5.  With dark colors I like to set the dye so that the wool doesn't bleed when the garment is washed.  The thought of the color bleeding out the first time the garment is washed makes me cringe, especially when it's a gift.
To set the dye, soak the garment in 1 cup of white vinegar and luke warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't use hot water or it will shrink the wool and felt it.  Gently squeeze out the excess water. Do Not Wring or Twist The Garment! 
Fill a basin with cool water and a mild detergent, preferably one made for wool knits. Soak the garment in the detergent for about 5 minutes and then gently swish it around in the water with your hands. Rinse the garment in cool water, then add 1/4 cup of vinegar  to a basin of cool water and place the garment in the basin and swish the garment around in the water to remove the final trace of soap. Gently squeeze out the water. Do Not Wring the Garment!
At this point I like to place a large bath towel on the floor (tile floor) and lay the knitted garment on the towel. Starting at end, I slowly roll the towel and the garment, pressing down with the palm of my hands to squeeze out the excess water as I roll the towel up. After the towel has been rolled, press down on the towel a few more times to remove the excess water. At this point the towel should start to feel wet. Gently unroll the towel and remove the garment and place it on a dry towel. Avoid stretching the garment during the transfer. Dry the garment away from any heat source.   

6.  Lightly steam the scarf with a steam iron to relax the yarn so that the scarf will lay flat. Hold the iron a few inches above the surface of the scarf while steaming so that the iron doesn't flatten the stitches.