When I was little my mom knitted a lot; in particular she made my brother and I sweaters. My brother still remembers his favorite sweater from when he was 10 years old, a navy blue zipped up sweater with red and white zigzag patterns (he still reminisces about it now, 25+ years later!). My favorite sweater was a dark pink long coat with a hoodie and pom poms. I remember hating the colour pink when I was a little girl, but oh, did I love that sweater.
Over the years my mom tried to teach me knitting, but I wasn’t an enthusiastic learner, so did things half-heartedly. When I wanted to knit something my mom would cast on for me, show me the stitch, I’d knit, she’d do the difficult bits and fix my mistakes, and cast off for me. It worked out pretty well on my end. However, I got the impression that knitting was hard. But the good thing about that is that I was always amazed when I met anyone who knitted.
A few months ago (inspired by wonderful, talented bloggers) I thought to myself: I want to learn knitting, really, really. So I bought Stitch n' Bitch: A Knitters Handbook, and looked up you tube tutorials. Knitted a few washcloths. Heck, I even joined Revelry!
So I discovered a few truths about knitting: 1) Knitting is not hard, it takes effort and persistence 2) Real wool is really expensive! 3) The Noro Scarf is legendary 4) Elizabeth Zimmermann is even more legendary 5) Knitting makes TV watching ‘productive time’ not ‘wasteful, brain-dead time’!
Let me just say that I’m not a talented knitter. I get confused by patterns and I’m REALLY bad at counting stitches. Plus, I’m the kind of knitter who when she notices a mistake a few rows down WON’T undo and re-knit. Just too lazy!
My first project was a baby blanket made by Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, fat garter knit stripes in 5 colours. I’ve already given it to my pregnant friend, so no pictures. Maybe I’ll get a shot of it with the little one down the road.
Now, on to scarves:
The legendary Noro scarf, made famous by Jared of Brooklyn Tweed:
I bought some Noro Silk Garden (sold in 50g balls) from Three Bags Full on Main St., and at around $11/ball, it was quite an investment. I loved Jared’s scarf colours, I wanted to unoriginally recreate it, but I couldn’t find the exact colours, so I chose one colour that was darker, in the green/blue/grey/black range and another that was quite a bit brighter with all sorts of colours.
Yarn impressions: I wasn’t too impressed initially with Noro Silk Garden. I one ball I had a few knots (some knots tied together two entirely different colours (i.e. black…lime green!). The balls were dispersed with plant fibres, that to be honest, felt more like thorns than anything else. It was tedious pulling out every rough bit of plant matter. It wasn’t soft as I’d expected (however, I hear I softens very prettily after a first wash). That all being said, the colours are spectacular—I love especially the reds and blues—the yarn has such a concentrated, vivid colour that it’s hard to believe anything can be such a shade.
Pattern: a very easy and basic knit one, purl one pattern. I only screwed this up once. I was confused about slipping of each end on Jared’s site (my fault, not his), so I just slipped the first stitch of each row. I used a total that amounted to 3 balls of yarn, unlike the 4 that Jared used. That means I have the beginnings of another Noro scarf!
Result: Love it. It’s at times subtle, with lots of bright bits. The 1x1 rib makes it look like stockinette stitch, and it’s thick and squishy. It will make someone very warm!
Suddenly I was obsessed with stripes. I had these 4 balls of Cascade 220 that I’d bought for these baby booties, but I’d made the baby blanket instead so what to do with these yarns? Another stripey scarf, of course.
Yarn: Cascade 220: 1 hank of white(100 grams / 220 yards), and half a hank of turquoise and red yarns each (50 grams / 110 yards).
Pattern: As with the Noro scarf, a 1x1 rib pattern of knit 1, purl 1. The white had 2 row stripes and the blue and red have only 1 row-stripes. I slipped the first stitch.
Result: I didn’t love it just looking at it (and my husband called it a ‘Christmas Scarf’ even though there is no green to speak of), but when he or I tried it on, suddenly our faces got brighter and our skins became vibrant. It’s a picker-upper, a transforming scarf! I was genuinely surprised and delighted.