Sunday, January 2, 2011

Some men prefer lace

...Sure they do!  After hitting "Publish Post" on yesterday's blog entry, the scarf recipient walked into the cafe.  I showed him pictures of the possible scarves, and after talking a bit and showing him the yarn, he said he really liked the stitch in Matthew's Scarf.  Granted, he thought it was cabled, but doesn't that just demonstrate that not all lace is too frilly for men?  Whatever it is, he liked the stitch pattern.  And I'm glad, because I think I'm actually gonna enjoy knitting this scarf.  And I generally hate scarves, since they take for. ev. er.  I'm intrigued by the construction of this scarf, which will have a central section of plain ribbing to go around the neck.  I'm picky about my neck getting full protection from cold air; lace might not be the best thing without having to wrap it multiple times.  The way this scarf is made, it can be crossed over itself in the back so that the lace panels hang neatly down the front in a manner fitting for a gentleman's attire.

I ripped out what I showed in the previous post, and have already re-knit it, plus a couple more rows.  This time, I dropped down two needle sizes, and the rip/re-knit gave me a chance to figure out what I'm doing with the decreases, which are written out in a way I have not been able to decipher.  I'm kinda making that part up, but I think it achieves the desired effect.

Something I did not mention about this yarn that made the pattern choice a real challenge is the way the yarn behaves; in stockinette stitch, the plies line up such that stitches, albeit smooth and silky, appear to lean more heavily on one leg than the other.  The resulting vertical lines bother me, so I think the strong play on textures in Matthew's Scarf will be perfect for this yarn.

A word about swatching: I'm trying to be a better boy when it comes to swatching, having been encouraged in part by Clara Parkes' good words on the subject.  I was really happy that I did some for this project, as I found it to be invaluable in unearthing some of the yarn's qualities.  I still didn't measure the swatch before washing, but at least I washed it and know that the resulting fabric was good they way I knit it.  I mean to say that bit of swatching really helped me overcome my knitting block.  The simple bit of stockinette didn't require advance planning, and it helped me get rolling on this project, while demystifying the fear factor of the yarn.  And again, simply starting in a pattern and not being afraid to rip it all out again was freeing and very helpful.  Now I'm convinced this scarf will be lovely, and much more refined than my usual products.  Now that I think I'm on track, I'm loving this yarn.  And I must say, it has frogged beautifully (probably five or more times).

A couple posts back, Amanda asked,
Did you end up blocking any of the washcloths? ... the blue and green one, did you have many ends to weave in, or carried the yarn somehow?
No, I didn't block them at all.  Especially not the one I knit in front of the Christmas tree.  ;-)  I'm happy that one of them has already found its way into the sink, last time I checked.  I made sure it got used.  As for the one where I alternated colors, I carried the yarns up the inside, switching colors to knit back across all the stitches in the next color.  Now when it came to weaving ends in, four still felt like a lot in this project, especially since I decided to split the strands in half for better concealment.  

I received a bit of a tour of Philadelphia on New Years Day, and I must say it was kinda pretty from atop this hotel.  You'd never guess that down in the street itself, it was a noisy, trashy mob scene.


  1. I really like this stitch pattern too, and I'm glad your intended recipient decided to go with it. My problem with this style of scarf has been the rather insubstantial bit that goes around the neck. It's thicker because of the rib, but it's also narrower because of the rib. That's a very clever idea to knit it extra long so it wraps around twice. You're a smart cookie. :-)

  2. What yarn are you using for that scarf? Also, funny story about man lace. I'll email it to you.

  3. I'm glad that you are learning about the merits of a swatch....I personally ahte them but I do make them just for garmets usually, as I do want my sweaters to fit me correctly. I can't wait to see the scarf progress and men do surprise us from time to time... ;)

    Scarves do take; however, I find that if I use a repeat that makes me want to continue they go much faster. I am on the third and final skein of the yarn I chose and with the four row repeat I finished about 200 rows the last two days....sending karma and mojo to you for this one!

  4. Swatching? And worse yet, washing said swatches! Incredible! Hey, when you get some progress on Matthew, post a photo or two of the wrong side. I've got one skein left on the Henry scarf and I'm hoping the WS is better looking after blocking!

  5. Swatching.. blarh ! ~ however a must in most cases ! ~ saved me from projects of doom many a time ;)

    I love love love the view, looks very pretty. I live in the city, so views like this look amazing to me :)