Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Alpine Knit Scarf

Way back in April, I posted an entry about my intention to knit an 'Alpine Knit Scarf' for my ISE4 pal. As it's just possible that some of you may have been wondering what happened to that scarf, I should probably fill you all in on the details.

Where to start...

At the beginning, I guess.

The original 'Alpine Knit Scarf' in the pattern was knit on 3.5mm needles using a much finer yarn than the one I had chosen, so my first thought was that I would probably need to use a slightly larger needle to knit my pal's scarf, so I cast on the required number of stitches on my 3.75mm KnitPicks Options needles as a starting point. After one repeat of the diamond pattern, two things became clear -- that on 3.75mm needles the scarf was going to have more in common with a throw rug than a scarf, and that the lace pattern was way too loosely knit and had no definition to speak of.

So I switched to the 3.5mm needles in my KnitPicks Options set -- which was the original needle size specified, after all.

This was a little better, but it was still way too wide and the lace was still lacking in definition. However, the good news was that I was now fairly certain that switching to 3.0mm needles would most probably give the lace pattern the correct definition. The bad news was that the KnitPicks Options set doesn't go down to needles that small.

I was keen to get started on the scarf, so while I waited for a 3.0mm KnitPicks Classic circular needle to arrive, I decided to go ahead and cast on using what I hope would be the next best thing...


The Boye NeedleMaster Interchangeable Needle System -- which were my needles of choice when I knit all of those hats and beanies for 'Just Enough Faith' late last year.

As the Boye NeedleMaster needles have fairly sharp points, I decided they would probably be the best ones to use while I was waiting for the KnitPicks needles of choice to arrive.

These needles are sized using only the US needle sizes, so I consulted my KnitPicks View Sizer for the US equivalent for 3.0mm needles...


... and discovered that the size I should be using was US2.

So I cast on again.

The pattern definition of the lace was much better this time, but as the scarf was still going to be wider that the original, I decided to substitute three repeats of the double rose leaf pattern in the centre panel instead of the original four, and cast on for the fourth time.

This was much better.

I was even liking the results enough to finally take a photograph of my progress...


While the points of the Boye NeedleMaster needles were working well for the lace pattern, I definitely wasn't enjoying the bumpy cable join, so I eagerly awaited the arrival of the KnitPicks Classic 3.0mm needles.

After my new KnitPicks Classic circular needles arrived, I was taking a photograph to show the difference between the cable connections...


... when I noticed that the KnitPicks Classic 3.0mm needle looked a bit thicker than the Boye NeedleMaster US2 needle I had been using. When I tested them both in the View Sizer, I discovered that this was indeed the case, as while the KnitPicks 3.0mm needle fit the hole quite snuggly, the Boye US2 needle went through with a fair amount of leeway. I soon discovered that US2 is one of those needle sizes which is interpreted differently by different manufacturers, and that the US2 size Boye uses for its NeedleMaster set is actually 2.75mm.

I've also since discovered that KnitPicks had brought out a second version of their View Sizer after I purchased mine, which actually has holes for both US2 sizes...


And as you can see, I've since purchased one of the new View Sizers in the hope of avoiding this type of problem in the future.

So...

What to do?

I really didn't want to keep knitting on the Boye NeedleMaster needles as the bump in the cable join was driving me crazy. And, if I was completely honest with myself, I was still firmly of the opinion that the 3.0mm needles really were the right size to use as the lace fabric was looking just that little bit too tight on what I had knit up to that point.

So I took one last photograph of my work in progress...


... and then started again.

This time things were much better.

The KnitPicks Classic needles were a joy to use, and before too long I had almost half of the centre panel repeats completed...


I kept knitting, and the scarf continued to grow...


... and eventually I had completed the specified number of repeats of the double rose leaf pattern for the centre panel...


... which in an ideal world would have meant that the end was in sight, but at this point I wasn't so sure. The yarn I'd chosen to use has a lot less stretch than the original yarn, and I really wasn't expecting the length to increase to anywhere near the same extent as the original with the final blocking. Adding to this my opinion that the original dimensions specified in the pattern were a little on the short side anyway, I decided to knit a few more repeats of the double rose leaf pattern.

I knit twenty extra repeats of the double rose leaf pattern as it eventually turned out before I was finally confident that the finished scarf would be long enough.

With the deadline for sending the scarf to its intended recipient approaching and the centre panel finally complete, I quickly finished the end of the scarf, and had it blocked to its final size.

As it turns out, if I'd stopped knitting the centre panel at the specified number of repeats, the finished scarf would have been fairly close to the measurements listed in the original pattern, as the yarn proved to have far more give to it when blocked than I had any right to expect. I'm glad that I did work all those extra repeats though, as the finished scarf measured around two metres in length, which for a scarf which will definitely double as a summer evening wrap is just about the perfect length in my opinion.

And here is the finished 'Alpine Knit Scarf', photographed relaxing on a bench in the Sydney sunshine...


And up close, to show some of the lace pattern detail a little better...


And finally, a close up look at the diamond patterned ends...


Project Details:

'Alpine Knit Scarf' - from Jane Sowerby's 'Victorian Lace Today'
Approximately 5 and 2/3 balls of ONline Linie 164 'Java' in shade #05
KnitPicks Classic 3.0mm circular needles
Cast on 103 stitches instead of the original 121, and worked three double rose leaf patterns across the centre panel instead of the original four
Total number of repeats of double rose leaf pattern in centre panel: 58

I am beyond happy at the way this scarf turned out, as the final drape of the lacy, knitted fabric in this yarn once it was blocked was incredible and by far exceeded all of the expectations I had when I first started the project. The scarf turned out so well that Michael still can't believe I gave this scarf away, but I knit it for someone who has had bad experiences with similar swaps in the past and I'm so glad I was able to send her something to help restore her faith in people.

And of course I can always knit another one for myself, as for once I've had the foresight to buy enough extra yarn to do just that -- I always knew giving this scarf away when the time came would be difficult.

As you can see...


... I've already cast on and worked the first diamond pattern repeat of the second scarf, mostly as an encouragement to myself to work on it from time to time between other projects.

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14 Comments:

At 4:57 pm, July 10, 2007, Anonymous SallyO said...

It's gorgeous and she's a very lucky lady (which I'm sure she knows).

 
At 6:28 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger Lara said...

Just gorgeous Pamela!

 
At 6:58 pm, July 10, 2007, Anonymous Vanessa said...

That's just stunning. You're so determined and skilled.

 
At 11:05 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger Janette said...

The Alpine Knit Scarf is absolutely gorgeous!

 
At 11:10 pm, July 10, 2007, Blogger Ami said...

Beautiful!

 
At 11:37 pm, July 10, 2007, Anonymous mary lou said...

beautiful -- I'm looking for a project like this for an intro to lace knitting. (I have a simpler one, too.) Do you think it would be appropriate for a reasonably experienced knitter who is new to lace? Thanks.

 
At 1:08 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger EllyMae said...

Beautiful work. Great Blog post too!

 
At 1:58 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger Heather said...

The shawl is gorgeous, and I love the color! Thanks for sharing. I am sure the recipient will love it.

 
At 6:23 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger knitintensity said...

Beautiful shawl!

 
At 8:38 am, July 11, 2007, Anonymous Donyale said...

Wha? THAT is amazing - little did I know that was what you wanted the Knit Picks for - it is SO lovely. Your pal is one super lucky chick - wish it was me....fantastic.

 
At 9:14 am, July 11, 2007, Blogger Knitelly said...

I think your alpine is the most beautiful one I've seen in blogland. The guage of the diamonds on the border looks just perfect (I think the book version looks too loose and holey). Thanks for sharing the details, and lucky recipient!

 
At 2:06 pm, July 11, 2007, Anonymous 2paw said...

That scarf is absolutely beautiful!! A true work of art!!

 
At 6:11 pm, July 11, 2007, Blogger knitabulous said...

So, like you need another comment like this, but that Alpine Lace scarf is gorgeous and I hope I get you in ISE5.

 
At 3:21 pm, August 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fantastic piece of art work you have done! Congratulations and love to catch up soon...

Marcus

 

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