Red Yarn at Night, a Knitter’s Delight
The Lady-of-the-House can’t imagine being without a skein of red yarn in her stash. If there is a yarn that will start her digging to the bottom of her purse while she is standing at the till in a yarn shop - for any stray coins that will enable her to complete an unplanned purchase – that yarn will mostly likely be red.
She’s been pretty frugal so far this year about relying on her stash. Spring planting and general gardening upkeep with its telltale sign of poison ivy on her weeding hand, where her knitting needles normally rest, deterred her. Not stepping into a yarn shop for her usual quiet moments of perusal has kept her stash down to size, too. (She expects this will change soon). Lancaster is sprinkled with cubbyhole size yarn shops that display the softest and prettiest wool. None are as conveniently close to the Lady-of-the-House as she’d like. Once there, however, she has had some nice chats in knitter’s language with the owners. “I’ll wait outside,” says the Man-of-the-House if he is with her.
One such red impulse skein, which had been too comfortably lodged in her stash for an incalculable amount of months, was recently dislodged. This is how it happened.
She was leafing through the spring issue of Spin Off magazine, eyeing its pages of frilly feminine scarves. The subscribers were previously invited to submit a scarf knit in their own handspun following pattern guidelines. This issue features them in a “Handspun Gallery of Helix Scarves.” The beautiful hand-dyed homespun is quite impressive.
The scarf pattern sparked the interest of the Lady-of-the-House. “Ooo, I’d like to make one of these,” she decided. I’m not proficient enough yet at the wheel to spin yarn as pretty but . . . there must be a red skein in my stash somewhere?” her intuition told her.
The crimson wool the Lady-of-the-House had purchased, on . . . what day she couldn’t remember, was the right weight (sport weight) and had just enough yardage. She was so pleased she responded out loud with a rhetorical, “Well, how do you like that?” If the Man-of-the-House were in earshot he would have asked her who she was talking to. But he wasn’t.
The title of this post came to her on an evening when the setting sun was glowing a peaceful deep pink through the trees. Red sky at night, a sailor’s delight. On that evening her project was started.
The camera inaccurately portrays the shade of red wool which is prettier in person.
“This pattern is simple enough to share with my new knitting friends. They will be impressed with how they can do frilly with one trick – wrap and turn,” she thought. Garter stitch (all knit) keeps the project simple. The Lady-of-the-House likes the look and feel of garter stitch. Next to stockinette, garter stitch is far more practical than conventional pattern makers give it credit for.
Several years back she knit the yoke of William’s baby cardigan in garter stitch, keeping the sleeves and body in stockinette. It’s to be handed down to baby Joseph.
Frilly Scarf Pattern
CO – Cast on
K – knit
With sport weight (240 yards) try size 5 or 6 straight needles, knitting a swatch or two for gauge, until you settle on a fabric that has the tension you like.
CO 24. K a row
K8 – wrap n’ turn – K to end of needle
K4 – wrap n’ turn – K to end of needle
K across all 24
Repeat the three rows until the scarf is the length you like.
Knit an extra row as the last row. Bind off. Weave in ends.
The set of three rows is easy to remember after it is repeated a few times. You can visually check where you are by examining any wrapped stitches on your row or a previous row. If you skip or repeat a row on occasion (because the telephone rings, the baby is crying, or a pot is boiling over) and forget where you left off - there is no need to stress – and probably no need to rip. Unlike the accuracy required of a sweater, a skipped or repeated row in this scarf will be imperceivable. You are making wedges on either side of the scarf. The wedges create the frill. Keep knitting.
How to Wrap and Turn
Rows K8 and K4 are your short rows. At the end of each short row: wrap and turn.
With working yarn behind your needle slip the next stitch purl-wise to the right needle. Bring yarn forward.
Return slipped stitch to left needle.
K8, slip the 9th purl-wise onto the right-hand needle, bring yarn forward (hold yarn low enough so you can insert the tip of your needle to) slip the 9th back onto the left-hand needle. Turn the work and knit 8 back to the end of your needle. Do the same with K4. The wrapped stitches will be knit when you knit across all 24. The Lady-of-the-House gives a bit of a tug on the working yarn when knitting the first stitch after a turn.
She started another “wrap n’ turn” scarf in peacock blue. One must use up one’s stash. Do you see how she has wound her ball so that it unwinds from the inside?
Fingering weight is ideal when making a small scarf that can be worn indoors as an accessory. The Lady-of-the-House chose to work with a thicker yarn - sport weight - because she couldn’t resist the call on her curiosity to be finished with the project sooner. If you are patient and don’t mind working on size 1 or 2 needles, here are the numbers: 30 – 10 – 5.
For Fingering Weight (yardage 350)
CO 30. K a row
K10 – wrap n’ turn – K to end of needle
K5 - wrap n’ turn – K to end of needle
K across all 30
Until next time,