14 September 2009

Spectacular 14 Scarf

Of course, I did take some knitting with me on the Wisconsin vacation. Had to have that! And it was so nice being on a road trip vacation with the Cuddly Hubby, as he could drive and I could knit. (I may be passionate about knitting, but I do not recommend knitting and driving at the same time. Sometimes, you just have to be patient, Grasshopper.) You'll recall I had been experimenting with some brioche/shaker/Estonian patent stitches. This project evolved out of the net stitch that I showed in the video on 17 July. I was looking for an excuse to try the technique in a project. And this particular project also served a practical purpose.

The Whole Nine Yarns had been to the TNNA market in June and purchased several "skeins" of Spectacular 14 from Bjorn of Hand Painted Knitting Yarns. Part of what makes this yarn unique is that it is already cut into long lengths, rather than flowing continuously from a skein. The colors are beautiful -- complex and interesting. And the yarn is sold in strands -- about $15 for ten strands. The yarn was purchased for the shop with the idea that ten strands could make a project. This would be good for holiday gift giving. Well, upon further experimentation, ten strands didn't really work. Hmmm. And of course, a lot of knitters weren't sure what to do with already cut up yarn. So, we needed a project that would show off this yarn and get people to start thinking about how they could use it creatively.

The net pattern stitch turned out to be an excellent choice. Although it looks as if I've used Spectacular 14 on every-other row, I've actually used it only on every fourth row. So the pattern turns out to be an excellent "hamburger helper" for knitters. Even with that, I needed twenty strands rather than ten to produce a reasonable width of scarf. The total cost of the scarf, including strands and background yarn, is around $50. And the cut strands were functional, because they produced a self-fringe.

For the background part of the scarf, I used about 1.5 skeins of Cascade 220 in color 9338, which is a complex heathered grey-green. Jenna, Caryn, and I spent a lot of time talking about which color to use with the Spectacular 14. The green worked okay, but this would also be interesting with a light mocha brown or possibly oatmeal. We were looking for something that would coordinate with Spectacular 14 without stealing the limelight. Walking around with ten strands and holding it up to the wall of yarn gave me a greater appreciation for how unusual the color combinations are in this yarn. And as you can see, the back of the scarf, while different from the front, is still very interesting with a Swiss dot pattern.

In September, I taught this technique and this specific project as a class. It was exciting to get other people involved and to get the knit one more below technique out into the world. I'm looking forward to seeing what the students accomplish, as it is always interesting to see how other people put color and texture together. And we've put it on the schedule again at the beginning of December. If you happen to be in the shop anytime soon, you should be able to find the Spectacular 14 scarf hanging around. Feel free to give it a look.

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