Full disclosure: it’s been so long since I’ve posted about a craft, I was thinking of eliminating that section completely from ye olde blog. Once upon a time, I thought I’d post a craft a week… now once a month seems like a stretch. However that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy crafty-type stuff when I have time. And though I really don’t have time right now (oh dear god, so much to do) last night, in between trick-or-treaters, I started a scarf.
I don’t need any more scarves. I gave myself a stern lecture on this subject when unpacking my winter clothes this year—I have lots of scarves. Beautiful cashmere ones people have given me, ratty beginner knitting projects, more polished later versions—I have more scarves than anyone really needs. On the other hand, scarves are an integral part of my favorite cold weather look: give me some boots, sparkly earrings and a pretty scarf and I’m a happy camper. So I guess I can always use at least one more. Besides, everything I do in life revolves around words (reading, writing, researching)–sometimes it’s nice to do something that is a bit less…well, verbal.
The pattern is the Color Wave Scarf from Simple 1-2-3 Knitting, a book I picked up a few years ago because it was deeply discounted and I had a few dollars left on a gift card. I wouldn’t recommend the book–1/3 of it is baby patterns, which I really don’t need at this point in my life (god bless Margaret Sanger); the “here’s how you do a stitch” section is pretty awful (the pictures are so complex that I forgot how to cast on and had to go look it up); and most of the patterns you can find for free online. But since I have the book, I’m using the book–and I’m sharing, so you don’t have to have the book too.
Anyway–this pattern is a super easy version of feather and fan lace, and it knits up really fast (don’t you love those airy lace patterns? They grow so much more quickly than other patterns.) This is one of the better patterns for beginners at lace–for three rows you are just knitting or purling (and you can do that, right? remember all of those scarves?) then on the fourth row you decrease a few stitches (those knit 2 together stitches), you add them back (those yarn over stitches) and end up with the same number of stitches as you began with, but now with a lovely wavy pattern.
So… if you’re looking for a new pattern, if you’re ready to learn to knit lace (or just need a break from all of your more complex projects), I’d like to suggest the Easy Ripple Scarf.
Here’s what you need:
Finger weight yarn, about 350 yards. I’m using Yarn Bee Snowflake Wool Blend, in Fall Kissed. Because it’s pretty and I had it in my stash.
I’m using 10.5 needles. I suspect smaller needles might highlight the pattern a bit more. But I’m kind of seriously lacking time right now, and smaller needles = tighter weave= longer knitting time, so I’m happy with this.
Here’s what you do:
Cast on 38.
Row 1. Knit
Row 2. Purl
Row 3. Knit 1, (knit 2 together) x 3, (yarn over, knit 1) x6, (knit 2 together) x 6, (yarn over, knit 1) x6, (knit 2 together) x 3, knit 1
Row 4. Knit
Then just keep repeating row 1-4 until it’s as long as you want it to be. Bind off, weave the ends in, block.
It helps me to think about Row 3 of this pattern in multiples of 3: we’ve cast on 38, but take away the 2 end stitches (the knit 1 you begin and end with) and the wave pattern is really 36 stitches long. Of that, you combine for 3 (knit 2 togs) add for 6 (yarn over, knit 1), combine for 6, add for 6, combine for 3. The combining is like subtraction–you’re taking 2 stitches and making them 1; the adding is like, well, adding–you’re taking 1 stitch and making it 2. Since we’re not changing the width of the piece, every time you add, you subtract and vice versa, so we stay at 36 stitches–then with the beginning and end knit 1, at 38.
And voila! I love making pretty things.