Thursday, June 12, 2008

110 dropped stitches... no problem!

Pattern: Phiaro Scarf (on Ravelry), by Katie Himmelberg, from Knitscene Winter 2007/Spring 2008
Yarn: Southwest Trading Company Bamboo, in colorway 134/Azul. Approx. 1.4 skeins (or 350 yards)
Needles: US 7/4.5 mm
Started: Late April 2008
Finished: Cast off on May 25, 2008. Completed finishing (weaving in ends and braiding fringe) on June 3, 2008.

In April, I decided to knit Emily a scarf for her birthday. I knew she had been eyeing this scarf in the new Knitscene magazine. I picked some Bamboo yarn from the stash, in a colorway I knew she would approve (it has teal in it) and set forth.

This pattern is a wonder of design. It's a scarf, but it's knit in the round in stockinette stitch, so it's pretty mindless knitting. (The cast-on edge is slightly tighter than the cast off edge, but it isn’t really obvious once the scarf is wrapped around your neck. I’m not sure how this could be avoided or fixed.)

The magic comes during the finishing: when casting off, you cast off a block of stitches, then drop the next block of stitches, etc, until you get close to the end and then drop 30 (yes, 30!) stitches in a row. After reading about other people's experience with this pattern on Ravelry forums, I knit through the back loop the stitches immediately before and after the stitches to be dropped (like suggested in the pattern for the Clapotis). This is meant to minimize pulling on the edge stitches.

Once you unravel the dropped stitches all the way down, you now have a big circular band, that just grew to more than twice it's original length and looks like a big mess!

To get the fringe you cut the strands from the 30 dropped stitches right down the middle, and then proceed to braid the bazillion ends you just created... Blocking is essential, or at least getting the scarf damp enough to get the kinks out of the strands of dropped stitches. I didn’t actually pin it down, I just draped it over the back of a chair. It dried really quickly, because it's so airy.

I cast off on May 25, after knitting to a width of about 15 inches (I measured at the time, but now I forget the exact measurement). It’s a pretty airy scarf, so I think this width works. I then spent 3 evenings braiding the fringe… The finishing for this scarf is pretty intensive, with a lot of ends to weave in on the cast off edge and all the braiding to do. But it’s a pretty easy knit (if a bit repetitive) and the end result looks really cool.

Gave it to Emily last night, who promptly wound it around her neck and didn’t take it off all night! I think that counts as a great success!

1 comment:

Emily said...

I love it, thank you :) Glad to see all the photos of it in progress - I had been planning to make one but I hadn't really read through the pattern - looks more complicated than I imagined!