Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bits, pieces, and other thoughts

At long last the election season is over. While I can easily express my pleasure at the end of this long ordeal I have no words for how I feel about Barak Obama's election. It is the first time I have been genuinely excited and enthusiastic about a president. I'm still trying to take in the enormity of it all, and feeling very emotional about the great shift that has just taken place in the national psyche. Change won't happen overnight, but just in having such an unlikely candidate (as he himself said) prevail shows that change has already occurred.

So what have I been knitting this past week or so while so much was going on in the polls, the news, and elsewhere? In the absence of a big project I have been making scarves using batches of yarn I inherited from my Sew Group friend, Laurel, after her passing a year or so ago. There were lots of different yarns, primarily in the fuchsia/magenta and teal colours she loved so much, and in a variety of textures and fibres (lots of cotton, silk, and rayon blends) and while there was lots of yarn there wasn't any more than a ball or partial ball of any one thing.

I started with the magenta and fuschia batch, and made a lengthwise-striped scarf in seed stitch. I left a long tail at the beginning of each row, knitted across in seed stitch, and then broke off the yarn at the end, leaving another long tail. I did this on every single row, working anywhere from 1-4 rows in any single yarn or colour, and alternating the colours and textures as I wished. I knotted the loose tails together with an overhand knot every time I had 4 tails to secure them. The seed stitch does a wonderful job of blurring the edges between colours so the stripes have more of a woven effect. The scarf is about 65 inches long, not including the fringe, and each row took approximately 7 yards of yarn. Any length of yarn not long enough to go into this scarf went towards scarf #2.......

For scarf #2 I also knitted lengthwise and left long tails for fringe at each end, but used a simple basketweave stitch to play up the woven effect. This scarf is more of a decorative,, scarf in place of jewelry length of about 54 inches long,not including fringe. Once again, I changed colours and textures anywhere from every 1 to 4 rows. I forgot to check how many yards I needed for each row on this one.

By this time I had lots of yarn left, but most of it was in lengths too short to do a lengthwise scarf like the two above. The same was true for the teal yarns. Laurel had used a lot of these yarns for necklaces that she used to make, combining lots yarn into twisted ropes that were embellished with beads and such. Many of the yarns I had from here were already cut into 1 1/2 - 3 yard lengths. So how could I make scarves using such short pieces? I didn't want lots of knots on the back side of the scarf.

My solution was to knit a scarf the short direction as is more usual, but I left long tails at the beginning and end of each row as I did above, creating a fringe along one long edge of the scarf. I knotted the tails for fringe every 2 rows for this one. This scarf used up all of the scraps of magenta and fuchsia and was done in garter stitch, with a single back-and-forth per colour or yarn. I only needed a 1 1/2 yard length to do each garter stitch 2-row ridge. I don't have a detail of it, but in the first photo in this post it's the scarf on the far left.

For the teal yarns I did the same thing but made a slightly wider scarf using seed stitch once again, and once again varying the number of rows with any one yarn either 2 or 4 rows. I still leave a tail on one side at the beginning and end of each row, even if it is the same yarn. I'm knotting the tails every 2 rows for this one, as for the other side-fringed scarf.

mixes, so I repeated stripes of each of those yarns in somewhat regularly spaced intervals (in the In both the magenta and teal side-fringed scarves I am creating a repetition of sorts to help tie all the disparate colours and textures together. In each case, I had some chenille yarns that were fairly noticeable in theteal scarf you can see the dark navy blue chenille and the bulkier turquoise chenille in the photo at left.)

I used size 7 needles for all of these projects, and used up a lot of stash yarns to boot. As a pleasant bonus, I also like the finished scarves! The magenta ones are outside being blocked right now as can be seen in the first photo, but should be ready for action by tonight. I'm hoping to finish the teal one in the next couple of days. This is great sports knitting, needless to say!

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