Giftblitz Basketweave Neckwarmer
by Huan-Hua Chye
I whipped up this little neckwarmer for my friend Charlie’s birthday, in a “three days, three birthday gifts” crafting frenzy, Giftblitz ’07. Because of the time constraints, I needed patterns that would work up super-quickly, without requiring a lot of swatching and futzing. I improvised this one, and it came out well; it’s nothing original, but I thought it would be helpful for other people who may find themselves in Giftblitz situations and want something that works up fast, doesn’t require a swatch, and can be adjusted after the fact to the proper dimensions if your gauge is drastically different from mine. It may be small and easy, but as evidenced by the success of the Pidge, non-knitters probably won’t really care, particularly if you use something luxurious, like cashmere.
One size can be adjusted to fit all
Approximately 17.5″ x 5″, unstretched
Knit Picks Cadena [70% Peruvian highland wool, 30% superfine alpaca; 110 yds/100 m per 100g skein; color: Mist (gray); 1 skein (this pattern uses up only about 1/2 skein)].
You can substitute any other smooth, bulky-weight yarn with suggested gauge of 3-3.5 sts per inch. This is a good opportunity to use up single skeins of bulky-weight luxury yarn.
Even though the yarn felt fine in my hands, I found this yarn slightly itchy against my neck from the alpaca–if you’re purchasing yarn specifically for the pattern, make sure to check the itch factor first.
Using multiple strands of a lighter weight yarn is another good option (great for stashbusting those half skeins!) Leigh made two lovely versions of this neckwarmer with double-stranded worsted weight Malabrigo.
1 US #11/8mm circular needle or pair of straight needles (piece is worked flat, so the length of the circular needle doesn’t matter)
Optional: 1 crochet hook, US size J/10/6 mm, if you want to make crocheted button loops rather than knit buttonholes.
Number and size of buttons of your choice (I used two 1″ fake tortoiseshell plastic buttons)
Approximately 12 sts/16 rows = 4 inches/10 cm in basketweave stitch; to substitute yarns, look for a gauge of 12-14 sts per 4″/10 cm. No swatching required–read on for more info.
Seed stitch (reversible, over any number of stitches and rows)
Row 1: *k1, p1* to end.
Row 2: Work the stitches the opposite of how they appear; in other words, purl the stitches that look like knit stitches to you, and knit the stitches that look like purl stitches to you. Over an odd number of stitches, this means you will *k1, p1* to end; over an even number of stitches, *p1, k1* to end.
Basketweave stitch (over 4 sts and 8 rows)
Row 1 (RS): *k2, p2* to end.
Row 2 and all other WS rows: work sts as they appear (knit the knits and purl the purls).
Row 3: Knit to end.
Row 5: *p2, k2* to end.
Row 7: Knit to end.
It’s very easy to work. On the wrong side rows, of course, you can just read your knitting. On the right side rows, if you see any purls on the row below (i.e. the last row you worked contained *k2, p2*) you will just knit across, no patterning. If the row below was knit plain, you will work either *k2, p2* or *p2, k2* across the row. Look at the columns of knitting in your work–you will have alternating short columns and long columns of knit stitches, “weaving under” blocks of purl stitches. If the short column is first, start with k2; if the long column is first, start with p2. (This may be more confusing than helpful, but if you swatch, it should be clear what I’m talking about.)
Using the long-tail cast-on (or cast-on of your choice), cast on 46 sts.
For all rows: Slip the first st purlwise with yarn in front, work in basketweave stitch till the last stitch, knit the last st. (This creates a slipped-stitch selvage, or chain selvage. Or you can use any edge treatment you like. Techknitting suggests knitting the last stitch through the back loop)
Work in pattern as established until work measures 5 inches, or desired height of neckwarmer. Bind off using the method of your choice… until you get to the last loop, when normally you would cut the yarn and draw it through the last loop.
Now it’s time to compensate for any gauge issues you may have had. Wrap the neckwarmer around your neck and see if it fits. If so, or if it’s too large, cut the yarn (leave a very long tail) and draw it through the last loop, and skip ahead to “Finishing.”
If the neckwarmer is too small, turn your work 90 degrees and pick up stitches along the side selvage (not the cast-on or bound-off rows). You should pick up one stitch per slipped stitch, so you will have these stitches plus the last stitch from the bind-off on your needle. For me, this was 13 stitches. Work in seed stitch until the neckwarmer is almost the right length–I knit for about 1″–then, if desired, you can make buttonholes.
This site has an excellent overview of different buttonhole methods. I used “Method 1″ from their site, aka “easy, cheap buttonholes,” to create two buttonholes–three stitches in from each outer edge, I bound off two stitches, then cast on two stitches above–then I used the yarn tail from the final bind-off to whipstitch around the buttonhole edges to reinforce them. Once you’ve worked the number of buttonholes of your choice, work one or more additional rows in seed stitch (I worked two additional rows), then bind off using method of your choice.
If you don’t want to make buttonholes, you can just bind off and use the crochet button loop method described below. The crochet button loop method is more adaptable–you can work loops to fit specific buttons without having to swatch. I wasn’t set on any particular buttons, so I just made buttonholes and then rummaged in my button box till I found two that fit the holes I had made. You should make sure the buttonholes are slightly smaller than the buttons, or your neckwarmer won’t stay buttoned.
If you did not work buttonholes in your piece, either use the tail of your yarn (if you cut a long tail) or attach a new piece of yarn and work crocheted button loops along the edge of the neckwarmer.
To do this, work single crochet along the edge until you reach the place you’d like your button loop to be, chain stitch a chain to fit around your button, then reattach and single crochet along the edge again. Repeat for the desired number of button loops. Like for the buttonholes worked into the edge, the chain should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the button so that the neckwarmer will actually stay buttoned.
Weave in all ends. Try on the neckwarmer to see where the buttons should sit in relation to the buttonholes in order to ensure a snug fit, then sew the buttons on with matching thread or one or two plies split off from the yarn.
The pithy version:
With 1/2 skein of bulky weight yarn, CO 46 sts on size 11 needles, work in basketweave with a slipped stitch selvage till work measures 5″, then, if desired, turn and pick up sts along side edge, work in seed stitch till neckwarmer fits neck, and either work buttonholes or bind off and work crocheted button loops. Sew on buttons. Be warm.
by orata / Huan-Hua Chye, October 2007. v. 1.1. For personal, non-commercial use only. Please do not copy or distribute this pattern without express written permission. http://featherandfan.wordpress.com