Archives for category: earth and sky brioche scarf

The Earth and Sky Brioche scarf has been done for a while now, since my trip to San Diego, but it went straight from the needles to my neck and is only now being Eucalan’d and wet-blocked. I thought I’d share pictures of it. It’s already one of my most-loved and most-worn handknits.

Pattern: Two-color brioche scarf pattern found at Run and Not Grow Weary

Yarn used: 1 skein Plymouth Boku in colorway 7 (mixed blues), approximately 1/4 skein Valley Yarns Northampton in “Chestnut Heather,” and approximately 1/2 skein Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in “Chocolate”

Needles used: US size 10/6.00 mm

Started: November 13, 2007

Finished: November 18, 2007

Size: 4″ x 59″, pre-blocking

Mods: Cast on 20 stitches instead of 15

Notes: I am so pleased with this scarf. I think it’s a strong contender as the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made, entirely due to the amazing colors in the Boku combined with the rich, dark chocolate browns of the contrasting yarns. Because of the way the pattern looks–it has an appearance of vertical brown stripes on one side with a receding blue background between them, and vertical blue stripes with receding brown on the other–it looks best when messy, folded, and crumpled, so you can see both sides of the scarf, and so that the contrasting color glows through where the brioche ribs are stretched or folded apart. Every time I see this scarf thrown off and lying in a heap on a chair or the bed, I feel like I’ve caught a glimpse of some rare rainforest butterfly, like Morpho Eugenia, resting for a minute.

In motion…

At rest.

However, I don’t know if everyone really agrees with me. I didn’t get any compliments on this scarf while out and about in New York, even when I wore it into knitting shops, where normally people are zealously eager to locate and compliment any knitted items on your body, whether you made them or not. (Maybe people in New York are too cool for that?) I feel like that’s a sign that this scarf is not really as great as all that, but I love it anyway. I don’t feel like the pictures have entirely captured its beauty, but perhaps I am always going to feel that way about it, like the mother of a mule-faced child.

I described it as chocqua when I first cast on, but that’s not really accurate. The blue ranges from aqua to cobalt, cornflower, violet, lapis lazuli, and turquoise, but unfortunately, that range of colors doesn’t easily lend itself to a snappy portmanteau.

I used the leftover Northampton from my two recent hats (Northampton is on sale at WEBS right now, by the way, $3.69 a skein for 247 yards!) until I ran out, then striped in a slightly lighter shade of brown, Wool of the Andes in “Chocolate.” You can see the stripes in the middle of this picture:

When I was arranging the scarf around my neck for the photos, I realized that the brioche stitch had resulted in some severe biasing. I am very curious about why this might be, since the stitch structure doesn’t seem like it should inherently lean in one direction or the other–you’re doing the same thing on both sides, just with different colors, so it seems like it should self-correct any bias–but it’s really pronounced, as you can see in the picture below. Those pointy scarf ends started out rectangular! I asked about it on Ravelry, and hopefully someone will have some insight.

Anyway, I finished You Bastard and cast on for a new project.

Installment the Third of my stash enhancement begins with these two skeins of bright red Nashua Cilantro, a smooth, matte, stretchy aran-weight cotton/poly blend picked up from the sale bin at Uncommon Threads ($5 a skein):

I’m making Elizabeth Zimmermann’s February Baby Sweater from Knitter’s Almanac for my cousin’s baby. They’re adopting her from China and bringing her home this Christmas. She’s a little less than a year old and is apparently very tiny. I am planning to knit the body first and adjust for short sleeves if I start to run out of yarn. Also, since she’s a toddler, I’m going to put some pearl snaps on to close the sweater, instead of buttons. This is probably overkill, but I worry.

Los Altos has two yarn shops right around the corner from one another: Full Thread Ahead and Uncommon Threads. Apparently, they only have one brand in common. The vibe at the two stores is very different; Full Thread Ahead seems like it caters to a younger crowd, with lots of unusual brands and fibers and handpainted yarns (SWTC, Curious Creek Fibers, Interlacements…) I liked the vibe in there, but actually found it sort of hard to find something in my price range that I was crazy about. I eventually found their cache of repackaged Southwest Trading Company Optimum mill ends (it’s called Jewels, and they have both DK and worsted weight) and bought a couple of skeins for a Drifting Pleats scarf:

Uncommon Threads seems much older and stodgier. I felt like I had to whisper in the store, and stand up straight. But their selection of yarns was much more appealing to me–lots of traditional stuff like Rowan, Classic Elite, and various Shetland yarns. And a big wall of Koigu! Along with the aforementioned Cilantro, I got a skein of beautiful semi-solid Classic Elite Waterlily for a new pair of fingerless mitts, or maybe a hat.

classic elite waterlily

So that’s that. Time to try and get a few more rows done on this baby sweater. I’m kind of concerned that the skein I’m knitting from is already looking alarmingly skimpy, and I’m not even done with the garter yoke yet.

P.S. Today it snowed a tiny bit. The first snow of the year, as far as I know! I guess I shouldn’t be too excited. There’s plenty more where that came from…

Here’s one of the patterns eating up my stash of self-striping yarn.

These shapes and colors in these pictures remind me of Andy Goldsworthy photos.

Here’s a overhead shot of the entire scarf:

You can see what I meant about it probably looking even more effective in a yarn with fewer colors in it, right?

Here are a couple of shots of it modeled–the curves aren’t as pronounced as when it’s laid out flat:

Pattern: Kureopatora’s Snake, from String or Nothing
Yarn used: Plymouth Boku, color 5 (mixed reds), from WEBS, approximately 1.8 skeins

Needles used: Size 7/4.5 mm

Started: 11/11/07

Finished: 11/12/07

Size: 8 pattern repeats, not counting the set-up and finishing rows. 4-5″ wide, 66″ long post-blocking.

Mods: Just the length.

Notes: This is a really cool pattern–one of those few really unique scarves out there that isn’t just a stitch pattern applied to a long rectangle. It’s made up of the side triangles of entrelac worked in 1×1 rib, causing the scarf to wave back and forth in long, slow, trumpet-shaped curves.

I couldn’t get a full pattern repeat out of the last bit of yarn, so I frogged back and worked the finishing rows, ending up with quite a bit of leftover yarn–hence “1.8 skeins” instead of “2 skeins.”

I started this pattern a while ago with some Patons SWS, but got frustrated and gave up after heading the wrong way in the entrelac a couple of times. This time around, I paid careful attention as I was setting up the pattern, and only messed up once.

Here’s how I thought about the scarf pattern to keep from getting confused by the entrelac.

The stitches on the needles are divided into two sections: stitches you are actively knitting, and dormant stitches you “devour” with the decreases at the end of every other row.

For most of the scarf, look at the rows and see if you’re heading towards the center. If so, you’re on what I considered the RS, and you will need to increase at the beginning of the row, work to the split between the two sections, then ssk one stitch from the active stitches with one stitch from the dormant stitches and turn your work.

On the WS, just work p1, k1 rib (always starting with p1) across the active stitches.

The increases at the beginning of the RS rows are either (knit into the front and purl into the back) or (purl into the front and knit into the back) of the first stitch. When you’re increasing at the beginning of the row, look at the stitch you’re working into, and work the increase that starts with the opposite type stitch: for example, if it’s a knit stitch, work (purl into the front and knit into the back).

And if something looks weird in your entrelac, make sure you haven’t knit straight across the row into the dormant stitches.

Here’s a glimpse at another Boku project (colorway 7), a bicolor brioche scarf combined with leftover Northampton, looking all cheerfully chocqua and color-coordinated with my Sicily tablecloth:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Plymouth Boku > Noro Kureyon. It’s soft and evenly spun, no knots, no vegetable matter, and it has gorgeous colors. Maybe not quite as lovely as Noro colors, and it’s not as luminous as Silk Garden because it doesn’t have mohair in it, but it’s much nicer to work with than Noro. It’s cheaper, too!

Oh, and speaking of snakes, here’s the next snake I’d like to make. I’m not really big into knitted toys, but he eats the mouse! How cute/horrifying is that? A: Very! I love it!