Sunday, November 07, 2010


Way back in November of 2009, on November 9, to be exact I started a little knitting project. A drop stitch shawl/scarf. I had been trying to recreate a store bought scarf, saw something similar at Stitches East, and decided to go for it. It required the casting on of one hundred and fifty stitches, which I did. While I was in labor. After I cast on the oodles of stitches, I was able to knit a couple of rounds before bellying up to the epidural bar. Then there was some dropped, not on purpose, stitches and a yarn break and I packed up the project and moved onto the having baby project. Since then I have worked on the baby project full time and am happy to report she is alive and kicking and learning to earn her keep modeling my knitwear.

The knitting project, however, was less full-time and more on and off. That being said, I finally finished it. The fact that a scarf took me almost a year makes me nauseous. I mean really. Ten months? For realz? In my defense (and yes, I do realize I am defending myself against myself, but whatever), I did finish a pair of socks and start a sweater and learn to crochet (poorly) so it's not as if I worked on it constantly. But still. Ten months!

The pattern was written by a yarn shop in Rhode Island called Unwind. Basically you cast on one hundred and fifty stitches, or one hundred and eighty if you are in labor (thankfully one hundred and eighty is divisible by five so it worked out perfectly) and then you knit those one hundred plus stitches, through the back loop, in the round, until the thing is eighteen or so inches. If you, like me, have a lot of yarn, you might go nineteen inches. Then you do this bind off where you are binding off five stitches and then pulling the yarn through a stitch and then knitting and dropping stitches and if this sounds confusing to you, you're not the only one. I am good at blindly following instructions, which I did, and it worked. But it was also a bit scary. Especially since I started it while driving in the car to Cooperstown (a city where I had no knitterly support) for a mini-vacation. I mean honestly, I was in the car with all this time to realize that for all intents and purposes I had knit the body of a sweater (read: LOTS OF WORK) and was doing some hinky bind-off which might be wrong and render all of that knitting USELESS.

Nonetheless, I did the cast-off and it seemed okay. I figured in for a penny, in for a pound and so I started dropping oodles and oodles of stitches. Seventy-five percent of the knitting I did? Dropped. Now not only was this sucky because all of my hard work was for naught. But also, I used alpaca which is basically like one big wad of self adhesive and thus, hard to drop. Really hard. In the end I did manage to get it done without breaking any of the long floaty bits (or anything else for that matter).

So then it was happily ever after right? Uh no. My nerves got another run for my money when it became obvious that the cast-on was WAY tighter than the bind-off. Now I figure that a slight difference in tension is normal, but when you throw in baby labor as part of your cast-on, you will, apparently, get the wholly mother of all tightness. Which in practical speak meant I could have a trapezoidal shaped scarfy wrap or take drastic measures. Those drastic measures? Cut the bars/dropped stitch sections for the cast-on row. Almost a year done of knitting and then I am faced with the prospect of hacking away at it. Which, me being me, I did. I went through and cut off the bars for the entire cast-on row. Then I gave the thing the evil eye and dared it to unwind or unknit. I did do a slight weaving of ends and kind of rubbed the ends figuring this and alpaca would put me in good stead. So far? So good.

After the cut-o-rama, I then had to block the thing as it looked like a pile of pasta. I was a bit scared of submerging it in water since alpaca has been known to turn into a wet rag of nothingness. After all I had gone through I decided to forgo my normal dunk and pin and got out the iron and a spray bottle. It was time consuming but, for the most part, I got all those drops looking smooth.

For the rest of its life, I will remember starting this scarf while I was in labor and having the anesthesiologist rip it when he went to put in my epidural. It is my Juliet scarf. For that reason alone I don't hate it. If I had to do it all over again that sucker would NOT be nineteen inches wide. I intended to make it a wrap but it looks TOTALLY stupid as a wrap and instead I wear it as a very fluffy scarf. I also am thinking the dropped bits would be fewer as I hate the fact that I undid so much of the work. But when all is said and done, I do like it and have worn it several times (like to ♥Rhinebeck♥).

Yarn: Schoppel Wolle, Baby Alpaka Naturbelassen, Color 98808870, Lot 1119344, 3 skeins
Needles: Susan Bates Circs, size 5 mm (US 8)
Pattern: Drop Stitch Wrap and Scarf by Unwind
Time: 10 months?!?
Care: Machine washable, gentle (hardy har har). Dry flat. Low heat iron.


Lisa said...

Love the picture of your baby wrapped up in the scarf.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

What great pictures of both of you!!!! Love your scarf ~ enjoy :)