Friday, January 2, 2015

a rookie mistake...

so there I was, the week before Christmas, trying to come up with a quick gift for a forty-something man, the operative word being quick. No time for a sweater, need something fast, not too complicated using what I have on hand. He already got socks.
Now, I'm not really a scarf person and not sure if he is but maybe it's time he had a nice scarf...
I have some absolutely scrumptious baby alpaca grande in black that isn't enough for anything else...actually have a bit of winter white too.
Now what is the criteria for a good scarf? not too thick, two-sided or looks good on both sides, doesn't roll...I looked online and there were some eternity (or is it infinity?) man scarves. I kind of ruled that out - he's not exactly the metrosexual man variety, but not a redneck and not really hipster either. So, just after the AK cardigan, I thought, I know! a tuck stitch might do it - I had done a great article for KnitStyle that remains unpublished, dealing with easy tuck stitch fabrics that could be used knit side or purl side, along with suitable edgings that worked  without garter stitch or ribbing. All the swatches were made in a mercerised cotton and were all nice and flat.
Did I forget to mention that I would be using the LK150, based on the yarn, of course?
I quickly zipped off a fast swatch and bonus! it looks like a hounds tooth check! totally current (for girls anyway)...but it was sort of tight and quite firm. I was knitting at T9, the largest stitch size. No problem. I rewound everything (can't afford to waste this stuff on a bunch of swatches) and made another swatch on every other needle. Oh darn, after knitting about 60 rows I can see that the edges are really curling  - must be too loose. Starting over, I knit again on every needle, hand feeding the yarn to get a looser stitch. This is okay, but after about 70 rows, it looks like it is curling in again (it's the alpaca), but now, I'm totally in love with both sides of this fabric. I'll sleep on it...
How about the scarf is squares, with knit and purl side alternating AND the stripe factor is alternating...brilliant! On my new third piece, I decided that changing the yarn would be quicker and easier if the carriage was on the right side for the colour changes...oh crap! now this just looks like stripes! what happened? AND it was all rolling to the same side! Then it dawned on me. I should have known better!
Okay - here's the stitch pattern:

Cast on waste yarn and ravel cord, ending carriage at right (CAR).
Black, K1R. Set russell levers ll - l.
Select every other needle (EON). K1R (this makes a tuck row).
Change to White. K1R (stockinette). Select opposite EON. K1R (tuck).
Repeat these 4 rows throughout.

When I decided to change colours with the carriage at the left, I used the same sequence, but now the second row was stockinette instead of tuck and that changes it into an awkward stripe instead of the two-colour tuck pattern... a rookie mistake with the yarn changer on the standard gauge machine.
Efforts to create that 'quick' scarf were abandoned and I went with some black and white tweed texting mitts on the standard gauge instead. All was good for the gift opening.
Pieces of scarf are still hanging on the LK, awaiting more bright ideas...
Yeah, happy new year to you too!