Archives for category: you bastard scarf

The first real snow of the year was today–by “real,” I mean the snow actually stayed on the ground for more than a few minutes. It seemed like a good time to take some pictures of my finished You Bastard camel scarf. (Click on that link if you missed the earlier posts and want to know why it’s called You Bastard.)

you bastard scarf closeup


you bastard scarf

you bastard scarf


scarf on head

Pattern: My own–mistake rib worked on 27 stitches

Yarn used: 2 skeins Karabella Camissimo, currently $6 per camelicious skein from School Products, color 18109

Needles used: US size 10.5/6.50 mm

Started: December 3, 2007

Finished: December 5, 2007

Size: 7″ x 55″, pre-blocking, 7″ x 72″, post-blocking (that’s a lot of extra length! Wow.)

Notes: It doesn’t look like much, but it’s really soft and fluffy. So soft and fluffy, in fact, that I decided to rejigger my holiday gifting plans and give this to my grandma, who will probably really appreciate something else warm and cuddly, rather than my dad, who will probably receive a more interesting-looking scarf of some kind.

I will not, however, tell her what I named this project.

The photos from a sunnier clime were taken in 2002 at the Benicia Camel Races, which, in addition to adults trying to ride angry camels, also featured a children’s emu race. This was one of the most hilarious events I have ever seen in my entire life. The emus could run much faster than the children who were nominally herding them towards the finish line with their brooms, and the emus, with their pea-sized brains, were having a really hard time figuring out what was going on. So usually the emus would eventually turn around and run back after the children, who would drop their brooms and scream. The emus would be puzzled and frightened by this, and turn and run back towards the finish line again for a few feet, stop, look around, turn and run back the other way… eventually, I’m sure one or two of the emus finished the race, and a good time was had by all those who were not permanently psychologically scarred by the experience.

Just so it’s not all snow and beige drabness, here’s a picture of the Plymouth Boku Hyphening* mitts I’m making for my friend Ken.

As I related in earlier posts, I ran out of yarn while I was making these in New York, and made them shorter in a desperate attempt to squeeze two mitts out of one skein of yarn, but failed. Now that I’m back home with my Boku scrap stash, I just need to insert afterthought thumbs and weave in the ends, and they’ll be done.

*Get it? Like Dashing, but shorter? hyuk hyuk.

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…

Or something, anyway. You’d think all the yarn in the world had been discontinued. Here’s one installment of the stashy goodness I picked up in California:

Classic Elite Tapestry

6 skeins of Classic Elite Tapestry, part of a Marvelous Mukluks kit (also including a pattern, a postcard with pictures of mukluks, a basket, and a crusty, ancient single-use package of wool wash). Grand total: $5! Found in a thrift store on California Avenue in Palo Alto. I think I’m going to use this for mittens, like maybe a pair of Elli’s herringbone Pom mittens. Not sure how much yarn it will really take, but I’ll find out the hard way, I guess.

(Speaking of which, here’s a picture of how far I got on my second Selbuvotter mitten before running out of CC yarn.


Now I have to place another Knit Picks order so I can get my $2 skein of Telemark!)

Here’s a whole slew of pictures of a skein of Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October.” I don’t even want to knit with this yarn, it’s so beautiful. It looks much paler than the online pictures I’ve seen of this colorway. So many lovely, warm colors in the skein, and that great Tencel shine. I would have called this Nectarine or Rose Gold rather than October. I associate October with stronger, darker reds and browns and brighter yellows and oranges than this.

I bought it at Imagiknit in San Francisco, and I think, if I can bear to, I’ll make a small lace shawl out of it.

I picked up this tiny bundle of Habu XS-45 20/3 bamboo laceweight at Stash Yarns. It looks like pure spun silver:

I plan to make a Swallowtail shawl out of it.

(I’m having a hard time thinking of casting on for either of these right now because I have this terrible, greedy fear of giving away the finished object.)

One more thing. Meet You Bastard.

you bastard scarf

Also, this is Sasha, the cat I helped cat-sit. Look how flat his teary-eyed face is! Awww. He’s the most beautiful of all. Sasha

“The fact is that camels are far more intelligent than dolphins. They are so much brighter that they soon realized that the most prudent thing any intelligent animal can do, if it would prefer its descendants not to spend a lot of time on a slab with electrodes clamped to their brains or sticking mines on the bottom of ships or being patronized rigid by zoologists, is to make bloody certain humans don’t find out about it. So they long ago plumped for a lifestyle that, in return for a certain amount of porterage and being prodded with sticks, allowed them adequate food and grooming and the chance to spit in a human’s eye and get away with it.

And this particular camel, the result of millions of years of selective evolution to produce a creature that could count the grains of sand it was walking over, and close its nostrils at will, and survive under the broiling sun for many days without water, was called You Bastard.

And he was, in fact, the greatest mathematician in the world.”

–Terry Pratchett, from Pyramids. (I think this is a good place to start with the Discworld books–more or less standalone in the story arcs, and not too many in-jokes)

I have been knitting this baby camel scarf for two hours while watching Tin Man (so far, vaguely interesting, but not compelling) and, as I predicted in my post from a couple of hours ago, the Karabella Camissimo yarn is horrible to work with. The needle gets caught in the boucle fluff and keeps the yarn from sliding. The polyamide core of the yarn is not stretchy at all, so all this tugging against both the nonstretchy core and the stuck fluff kind of makes my hands hurt.

Therefore, I am dubbing this scarf, 27 sts of mistake-rib on size 10 1/2 needles, the You Bastard scarf, because

1) it involves a lot of camel (32%),

2) I am desperately hoping it will go faster with much application of pointy sticks

and, of course,

3) it is a total bastard, and hates me.