Posts Tagged ‘scarf’


I’m always fascinated by the Habu Textiles stand when I see it at knitting shows, and their yarn with a very thin stainless steel core had intrigued me for ages before I bought a cone of it at the Ally Pally show, back in 2010. There was a pattern with it, for a scarf, but I only did a few rows before I decided that it was just too thin to enjoy working with it on its own, plus I didn’t like the fabric it was producing.

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I looked on Ravelry, and found that there was another pattern for a similar scarf, but worked with another strand, of merino. So I pulled it out, and at the Harrogate show later that year, I bought the required merino, and another cone of the wool and stainless steel. Then put it all in a cupboard and forgot all about it. Which isn’t like me at all, obviously.


But then a couple of months ago there was a thread on one of the Ravelry forums about the stainless steel yarn, and it prompted me to pull it out and have another go with it. The pattern most people use is Kusha Kusha, which starts with a decrease section with both yarns held together, then carries on with both yarns for a while before switching to just the stainless steel one and decreasing needle size. All of which sounded a bit unnecessary to me, so I used both yarns all the way, and increased at the end to match the beginning.


The fabric was still a bit coarse (someone at Knit Night said it looked like chain mail, which almost put me off the whole thing!) but the pattern said to felt it slightly when you were done. I really should have done a swatch and felted that, if only to reassure myself, but whilst I’m a firm believer in swatches for garments, I pretty much always just wing it with everything else, so I didn’t.


When I started this I envisaged it as a reasonably long term simple project, that I could take along to Knit Night or do in front of the tv, but once I’d started I somehow couldn’t stop, and it was finished in no time. Not knowing how much it would shrink when felted, I guessed at a bit taller than me (very scientific!) and this is what it looked like when I cast off.


And this is it after felting! I did it by hand, with a bowl of water as hot as I could get it from the tap, and a bowl of cold. I’d dip it in the hot (with rubber gloves), then into the cold where I’d rub it about a bit, then repeated that a few times till the edges started to felt. To dry it I laid it out flat, then pulled the edges into soft points all the way along.


And this is the finished product! It’s rather different from anything else I’ve made, but I do like it. The stainless steel in the yarn is fun, in that you can shape it a bit – if you crease it it stays creased, and it has a bit of body to it.


The felting process has softened up the fabric considerably too – it looks much less like chain mail now!


One problem I did have was with knitting from cones – I mostly knit on the sofa, with my ball of yarn to my right, between me and the back of the sofa (and my legs up on the sofa in front of me), but that didn’t work with cones, they just kept rolling around and I was afraid of snapping the yarn if I pulled. So I used an old pair of straight needles and a basket to rig up a sort of lazy kate for cones (they were about half an inch too big for the kate I use for plying when spinning!)



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It’s foggy again here today, it’s really getting to be wintery out there, and frankly I could do without it, even if it is an excuse to wear lots of handknits all at once! But whilst I was photographing my cowl yesterday, I also took the chance to get some pics of the glittery scarf I’ve been knitting for my mum for Christmas, which is finished at last.


You can also see my new coat, which is completely impractical and completely not what I set out to buy, but I love it anyway :)


The scarf’s knitted in King Cole Galaxy, which is a singles yarn with sequins on a separate sewing cotton-type thread every so often. It’s a bit blingy, but I’m sure mum will love it. Hell, I love it! Although if the sequins were just silver instead of being that holography thing where there are lots of different colours at different angles I’d love it more, that is just a tiny step too far on the bling-o-meter. I see that the newer colours (purple, red and pink) have got self coloured sequins, which I like better. But anyway, this is bling on a stick!


I used the vine lace pattern I’ve used several times before, which is a good pattern for having a bit of a lacy thing going on without being too overwhelming, but with hindsight it wasn’t the best pattern to do in a soft black yarn, as it’s hard enough to read the pattern in a yarn where you can see the stitches, if I made a mistake in this it was almost impossible to find it, and tinking back was a nightmare. Thankfully the sequins cover up a multitude of sins!


I had three balls of yarn, and was going to just keep on knitting till I ran out of yarn, but I suddenly realised that I was up to 70” long, and mum’s only about 5’ 3” tall, so going by the rule that a scarf should be as long as the wearer is tall, it was already about nine inches too long. So I stopped, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and blocked it, stretching it width-wise instead of lengthwise!


I don’t think it is too long though, I’m about 5’ 6” tall, and it looks okay on me, wrapped once round my neck, or doubled and threaded through the loop.


I’m actually tempted to buy some more of the yarn and make one for myself. Hmmm.

The yarn wasn’t bad to knit with considering that it’s only 31% wool (the other components are 65% (premium!) acrylic and 4% soft payette, which seems to be a word made up by the yarn industry, with a possible derivation from scales of armour, which seems more likely that the prevalent google definition of a town in Idaho…) But as mentioned it’s a singles yarn, and I think that if it was used for a garment it would pill very quickly. Of course, it’s likely that you’d only wear it a couple of times on festive occasions, so you might be okay, but it’s a thinish yarn to be knitting quick festive knits in. There is a huge yardage though, 175m per 50g ball (yes, I know that saying yardage then quoting in metres is wrong, but metreage sounds wrong too. Well, I think so.) I used just under three balls.

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My raspberry ripple scarf is finished! I finished it off at knitting group on Wednesday night, and as soon as I got home I blocked it by ironing it through a wet tea towel – I usually soak things and pin them out, but I thought that trying to get the edges straight might be tricky, plus I really wanted the fabric to be very flat, so I went with the iron.


And all was fine until I came to wear it the next day, when it dawned on me that the reason that feather and fan-type patterns usually have at least some garter stitch is because stocking stitch curls. Uh, duh. Of course I knew that! I just didn’t associate the stitch pattern with stocking stitch (okay, I can be very dim sometimes, I know…) and it wasn’t until it just wouldn’t stop curling that the penny dropped.


You can see it starting to wave in this photo, and as I wore it the two edge portions folded in on themselves so that the scarf was half as wide but twice as thick. Oops. The yarn’s still pretty though! And I can probably live with it curling – it’s not one to wear for warmth particularly, more for decoration in the office.


And it’s just the right length for that. It’s also beautifully soft :)

The details – the pattern is Chevron Scarf, by Joelle Hoverson, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and the yarn is my own hand carded/handspun. I used 3.5mm needles, and it took a eleven days from start (blending the batts) to finish – the actual knitting took a week.

In other news, I’ve been playing with Fiona’s drumcarder again – I was going to take it back to spinning group on Thursday night, but she’s had a leak in the shop, so the meeting was cancelled and I’ve still got it, and the opportunity seemed too good to miss.


These two braids of superwash BFL were from the Wildcraft fibre club a couple of years ago, and whilst they were lovely, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with blue and yellow striped yarn, so they’d been languishing in my stash. I found another 65g of white BFL, and 20g each of cashmere and silk, and made some smooshy pale green batts.


This is half blended and half waiting. There are eight batts (just over 300g) altogether, I tried putting less fibre on each batt and it made things a little easier. I also put each on through the carder twice, which was a bit tedious but did blend them more.


Whilst looking for the BFL I’d come across a 100g bag of angora I’d bought at Woolfest last year, clipped straight from a rabbit.


It was still in clumps, and I didn’t think that I could spin straight from it (it may be possible, but I don’t think I’m up to it!) so I found a 100g bag of white merino, and a bit more cashmere and silk, and blended the whole lot together, for just over 200g of fibre.


Again I blended each batt twice, and they look pretty well blended, there’s a few streaks of silk, but I like that in a yarn.


They’re very floofy, and there’s angora all over my living room – spinning them could be interesting! But the yarn should be lovely and warm, I’m thinking perhaps the lining for a winter hat.


Then this afternoon I attacked this very old braid of BFL and silk. It was a bit compacted, probably because it’s been stored for so long (it was one of the first fibres I bought after I started spinning three years ago), and there were quite prominent streaks of silk in it, so that went through the carder too, only once this time.


It was dark by the time I’d done, so this is the best photo I could manage, but it gives an idea. I’m sure it’ll be easier to spin!

Now I really should put the drum carder away and do some actual spinning. But for tonight I’m getting on with knitting the Morgain shawl I’ve been on with for a while – it is growing, but the rows are getting long now…

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I’ve had a busy weekend, crafting-wise. Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day catching up on the week’s TV and knitting my two handspun projects – the first is the shawl I started a few weeks ago, which is growing slowly, although the rows are getting long now.


It’s not much to look at yet, but I’m sure it’ll be lovely when it’s done and blocked, the yarn is feeling beautifully soft :)


Second is a scarf I’ve started with the yarn I spun from last weekend’s batt. It wasn’t until I’d done a fair chunk of it that I realised that the ripple pattern went perfectly with the name I gave the yarn – raspberry ripple!


I’m loving the way it’s knitting up, it’s very random, but the pattern is showing the short stripes off perfectly. Some sections are pinker than others…


I’m still not quite happy with the falkland bits, although they do look a lot better knitted up – it’s amazing what knitting will do for dodgy handspun! – but I’m pleasantly surprised by the bamboo bits, which are absolutely fine, despite feeling a bit odd when I was spinning it.


I’ve also been ripping out knitting – this cardigan was an early effort of mine, it was the second I’d made from the pattern, and in a classic example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, I decided that I knew better than the pattern writer, and put my new-found skills of grafting to use on the shoulders (um, that seam’s there for a reason!) and compounded the problem by knitting on the back neck band to live stitches instead of casting off and sewing the band on. Predictably as soon as I put it on the whole top of the back stretched like mad (the fronts were about three inches apart when I laid it out!) and it fell off my shoulders all the time. I did persevere with it a bit, but then it ended up at the back of the cupboard, where I found it when sorting out last week. The yarn’s Silk Garden, so too nice to give away, and yesterday I steeled myself to unpick the seams (not as easy as it sounds!) and reclaim the yarn. There was also a matching beanie which I quite liked but never wore, so I pulled that out too.


And now I have 420g of lovely Noro looking for a project. Yum.


Today I decided to do a bit of sewing, so I fished out my various Clothkits projects-in-waiting, and made a start.


Watched by Mollie, obviously.


First up was a hat for my nearly-two-year-old niece. The pattern pieces were all nicely printed on the fabric, and were easy to cut out, but for the lining you have to pin them to the unprinted fabric and cut round them, which they don’t tell you on the website. Sewing the six hat panels together (times two, including the lining) was a bit fiddly, and I was a bit bemused to find that they didn’t mention snipping the seam allowance before ironing the curved seams. The brims went on surprisingly easily, and then I sewed the lining to the hat. And stopped and had a look at it. There are three sizes, done by using a different seam allowance, and I’d done somewhere between the two largest ones (the largest is supposed to fit a 54cm head). But when I tried it on it fitted me just fine, and the circumference is more like 60cm. Hey ho, it’ll fit her one day.



The lining was also a bit big for the hat, so I topstitched round both edges of the brim, so that the extra fabric is at least inside the hat.


It is cute though! I love the birdies.


And lastly I started making a skirt for myself. But I’ve only got the outside done, so I’ll do the lining and finishing tomorrow, hopefully before it goes dark so I can get some photos. I hate these dark evenings, I so wish they’d stop muttering about permanent summer time and do something about it. And if Scotland don’t like it, let them stick with GMT, countries in Europe cope with different time zones, why can’t we? Bah. Right, now to hunker down with my ripply scarf and wait for the Strictly results. I so hope Nancy goes this week.

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During the freezing weather before Christmas, the knit I wore most was my green Peaks Island Hood, made about this time last year. The Rowan Cocoon was part of the Great Kemps Haul, and there was more lurking upstairs, so when I found myself without an easy project to take to my parents’ with me on Christmas Eve, I started another one, in a blue-y grey colour this time. Apologies for the photos, the self-timer on my camera was not playing ball, so I had to do them all at arm’s length, so I couldn’t get the whole thing in. Plus I hadn’t realised quite how dreadful I looked after flu, so I had to discard most of them so as not to scare you…


Lots of people seem to have had trouble with this pattern, but I can honestly say that both times I’ve done it it went without a hitch, and I had no trouble understanding the pattern at any point. The only thing I did slightly differently was to use stitch markers during the last fan section, moving them along to keep them outside the fan sections on the k2tog/ssk sections.


This is the way I found myself wearing the other one most of the time, with the hood part folded back and a separate hat.


Then when it’s really cold, you can put the hood over the hat and have two layers over your ears. Snuggly!

One of my favourite parts of this scarf is the buttons, they keep it securely over your chest, with no chance of the ends flipping back over your shoulder as scarves tend to do unless you knot them, and then you get that draughty bit under the knot. I angled the buttons instead of putting them in a straight line across the scarf, it just seemed to lie better that way.


I also love the way the fans are mirrored on the hood increases/decreases.


There’s also a nice slip stitch edging, which is very neat.



I used about three and a half balls of Rowan Cocoon, in the Cloud colourway. The pattern is Peaks Island Hood, by Ysolda.


Mollie seemed to like it, and was determined that it was going to be a bed for her. Eventually we compromised.


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I spent the early part of yesterday afternoon weaving the purple scarf for my aunt. Then I spent the later part of the afternoon laboriously unweaving it. I decided to try a balanced weave of about 10 ends per inch in each direction, which was looking fine until I came to wind it onto the front beam, when it all went very wrong –


I think it was because it was superwash wool, with no grabbiness to keep the threads in place. Another lesson learned.

I nearly cut the whole thing off and threw it away, but again my northern thriftiness intervened (along with the fact that I really wanted to use this colourway for the scarf), so I carefully unwove the whole thing. This time the non-stickiness of the yarn worked in my favour, it was fairly easy to do, if somewhat tedious. Then I gave up for the day and did a bit of spinning.

This morning I had another go, beating the weft down more vigorously, and it all worked much better. My edges still aren’t perfect, but they’re better than the last one, probably because I concentrated more. Again I’m inclined to blame the slippy tightly spun yarn – the first scarf I did was in a softer merino cashmere blend, which behaved itself better. Anyway, several hours and half a Miss Silver audio book later, I had this –


With much neater edges.


As soon as I’ve given it a soak and hung it on the line to dry, prior to a quick blast in the tumble dryer, I warped up the loom again, this time with some one ply tussah silk from Texere. I’ve been warping inside, but there’s not too much room, and the peg is hard to anchor properly, so since the loom was outside, I improvised with the bottom of the parasol stand and a tree. The top of the upright is tied to the tree to secure it, it worked a treat, although the silk is very sticky and was quite hard to manipulate once I’d wound it on.


Last year at Wonderwool I bought some very pretty kid mohair fibre from Freyalyn.P4266281

I roughly split it into reds and greens, and spun a red bobbin and a green bobbin, plying them together.


There was only 128m, and I couldn’t think what to do with it, so it’s been sitting in a box ever since, until I fished it out today and thought it would be a good start to my weaving with handspun career – I can see there being more of it in my future!


I’m vaguely thinking of making a bag with this fabric, so I weaved (wove??) a couple of inches at the beginning using 2-ply silk for a weft, to make a hem, then started off. I loved the way the yarn gently striped, it’s very Noro-esqe.


It was only a couple of hours before I had this – 13” x 23” of fabric, not including the hems. It’s lovely and soft. I warped the loom at 8dpi, and have about 14epi on the weft (that means I’ve got 8 warp threads (the silk) per inch, and 14 weft threads (the mohair) per inch – at least, I think it does!)

That’s another lesson for me – I thought that because the yarn was about 10wpi, I’d get 10 weft threads per inch, but obviously you can pack it in harder than that. One more thing to remember when I’m trying to work out how much length I’ll get from my yarn – it could be why I keep getting it wrong!


Now my arms and shoulders are aching from so much weaving, tomorrow I must do something different. It’s very tempting to carry on though, I’m just loving seeing how different fibres turn out. And there’s quite a few skeins of handspun lurking in my box…..

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