Saturday, November 3, 2018

Let's Knit an Advent Scarf!

A few years ago, I participated in Tricia Weatherston's advent scarf for 2015-- the "Cables and Lace Advent Scarf".  (The pattern is not currently available, unfortunately.)

Much to my shame, I still haven't finished that project! (!!!)  I think I did all the knitting, but I'm not sure if I ever bound off... I know I was debating whether or not to make it a loop, but I can't recall if I ever decided and bound off!  One thing I do know is that it still needs blocking.  Maybe I'll do that in the next couple of weeks...

In any case, even though I haven't done all the finishing, even after all this time, I really enjoyed the process of knitting that scarf, and so when the designer's advent scarf for this year popped up in my Ravelry pattern suggestions, I gave it a closer look.

The last two years' advent scarves have been in styles/techniques that I either didn't feel up to trying (stranded colorwork) or wasn't really interested in at the moment (mosaic), but this year's theme is intriguing-- Japanese knitting.

Now, I know next to nothing about Japanese knitting, but I've seen (covers of) books of Japanese knitting stitches, and they're beautiful.  How does Japanese knitting differ from other knitting?  I couldn't tell you.  It looks a lot like other (beautiful, textural) knitting to me, but maybe it's distinctive to someone more familiar with knitting stitches than I am.  I'm excited to learn more about it and give it a try!

The pattern page is here-- Advent Scarf 2018-- and there's more information in the Sock Madness Forever group on Ravelry (see this thread in particular).  The pattern will be updated daily between November 24th and December 24th and is generously offered for free during that period.  Very shortly after that, it will be available as a paid pattern (with photos added).

I'll have to see what I have in my stash.  It calls for quite a bit of yardage!  This might be a good excuse for a little yarn shopping... ;o)


ETA:
I dug out the 2015 scarf and found that I actually already have bound off.  (I grafted the two ends together to make a circular scarf.)  No excuses, now.  Must wash and block it!

I also had a look through the stash, because despite my joke about shopping, I'd really rather not spend money on more yarn, at the moment-- definitely not for a very warm scarf that I probably won't even wear much, given our brief, mild winters.  (But I still want to knit it!  Process over product!)  Frankly, there are just too many other things I'd rather put the money towards.

I don't want to make this from acrylic, because I simply don't enjoy knitting in acrylic.  (Crocheting acrylic is perfectly fine, but when I'm knitting, I prefer the stretch of wool or other animal fibers.)  I tend to buy only small amounts of "knit-friendly" yarn, because I don't make sweaters and other large things-- and this scarf will be fairly large. 

Just about the only yarn I have enough of is the same yarn I used on the last Advent scarf.  It's a relatively rough-textured yarn given to me (in a large quantity) by Donald's mother.  100% wool, I believe, but that's all I know about it.  I enjoyed knitting it, but it is a little rustic, and when I drape that 2015 scarf around my neck... Let's just say I'm not sure I'll ever wear it, if it doesn't soften with washing. 

The first step will be to wash the scarf to see if I can get it to soften up significantly.  If so, great!  I can then make the scarf with more of the same yarn without worrying it will never be used.  If not... I might still knit with the itchy yarn, but maybe instead of making a scarf, I'll double the width and make a couple of throw pillows.  It doesn't matter so much if a decorative pillow is prickly, since it's mainly for looks and needn't come into prolonged contact with bare skin. 

Practically speaking, with our lifestyle and climate, a couple of throw pillows will get much more use than a scarf, so maybe that's the best option, even if the scarf comes out of the wash as soft as cashmere.  ;o)

And then there's the question of whether or not to dye the yarn.  (What color would be best for cushion covers?  Hmm...)

It's all still up in the air, but the first thing I need to do is wash that scarf.