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April 19, 2006

Re-filling the gift basket

More simple knitting. None of it is particularly original, but it's all fast, pleasant to knit and makes decent gifts.

I can't show you the toilet paper covers from the forthcoming Knit.1 article on embellishing knitting in their full twisted glory; I'll just say one thing: more that 150 safety pins. However, since no one in their right mind is going to knit toilet paper cozies; the bottom two hats in the photo below are the exact pattern that's in knit.1, unembellished except for a sensible pompom on top. Knit (as in the magazine) in a double strand of Wool-ease, they are being given to the parents of newly-born twins. The light blue hat on top is the same stitch pattern, but a different gauge and with a turned up cuff.


I've made a few scarves to vary the tedium. Both were made from yarn from the Goldman's haul. This one is plain garter stitch in Berocco Lavish. It's a faux fur yarn with glitz shot through it, and at the specific number of stitches in the scarf, the printed repeat of the striping knit up into vertical stripes for a very Phyllis Stein effect.


Cast on 3 stitches, increase one stitch at the beginning of each row until the scarf is four inches wide. Continue knitting until desired length, or you've only got about a yard and a half of yarn left. Decrease one stitch at the beginning of each row to reverse shaping, when you have only three stitches left, k3tog, pull the yarn through that stitch to bind off. Ta Da. Decorate with a tassel or as desired.

The knitting is simple enough to do as a first project, but if you're a beginner knitter, do yourself a favor and make your first project in plain yarn. Novelty yarns, especially fluffy or furry yarns are a source of intense frustration to new knitters, because they can't see the stitches. I used to give new knitters this pattern to do; now I have them do a plain garter stitch scarf in bulky wool.

Speaking of same, this one is knit in garter stitch lengthwise rather than vertically for two reasons. It's the simplest way to make lengthwise stripes, and also I only had two balls of yarn (Tahki Baby, a superbulky merino) and did not know when I was going to run out. I think a slightly thin scarf is the lesser evil compared to a too-short scarf, so I cast on sufficient stitches for the right length and kept striping as long as I could while maintaining symmerty. The biggest consideration for a lengthwise knit scarf is how to cast off. A standard "chain" cast off does not match the cast on, and on two five foot long edges, the disparity becomes striking. I used the sewn garter stitch cast off from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac:


Begin with yarn at the right side. Break yarn, thread through needle.

*Thread needle through first two stitches as if to purl. Thread needle back through the first stitch as if to knit. Drop off first stitch*

Continue until you've cast off all the stitches. This has a similar tension and look to a cast on; use it where you want the cast off edge to match the cast on.

Here's another picture showing the "right side" and "wrong side" of garter stitch stripes. These are 4 rows or two ridges wide.


Posted by Leigh Witchel at April 19, 2006 11:15 PM

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