Agnes est ici!
Yup, it’s time for another pattern release, the Agnes Shaped Scarf!
This one represents a real departure for me in a lot of ways! For starters, I usually know exactly what I want to make, stitch pattern and all, and then I find the yarn to match the idea. This time, however, I only knew that I was going to make a scarf with the yarn that I bought, but I wasn’t sure at all what details the scarf would have. While browsing the yarn aisles at A.C. Moore on a recent Saturday, this pale taupe yarn, Lion Brand Yarn’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, in a super-bulky gauge caught my eye pretty quickly. I loved the shade and thought it could become something sophisticated and unusual.
Second, I don’t work with cables a lot. The “back side” of cabled fabric isn’t my favorite because of its puckered, distorted look, and cables can also create a heavy fabric (not to mention gobbling up a lot of yarn in the process….). Third, I don’t work with synthetic yarns very often. But in this instance, the combination of cables and synthetic really work! Why? Because the proportion of synthetic in this yarn (in this case, acrylic) actually keeps this super-bulky yarn from also being really heavy, so you get a lighter-weight yarn for its given gauge. And with such a thick yarn, the cabled fabric would really pop; big, fat, swooping cables in such a chunky yarn can become a modern reinterpretation of what we think of as a traditional cabled scarf.
True, the back side of the cabled fabric is still puckered and not as attractive as the right side, so I mentally sorted through a few ways to keep the back side from making too much of an appearance. What if the scarf sat around your neck without sliding off and without turning over? The scarf would need to be shaped purposefully to do that, and so a lightbulb went off. Short rows! Another technique I don’t employ often, but which can be an incredibly useful tool when you need it.
The cabled fabric is created first, and because I’m Type A, the cables switch direction at the halfway point of the scarf (the center point at the back of your neck). I like that at that center point, you can see the change in direction that creates another neat curve in the fabric. Then, the ribbing is picked up from an edge of the cabled fabric. As the ribbing is worked, short rows are added to bend the cabled fabric into a hairpin, with the center of the bend at the center of your neck.
The ribbing serves several useful functions in the scarf: it adds width to the scarf, which is useful for actually keeping you warm ha ha!; it adds another textural dimension to the scarf that plays off of the cabled fabric; and it provides the means to shape the scarf into its final shape that drapes around your shoulders and stays there. For a better view of the final shape, I attempted to take some overhead shots, but when you employ the floor as your canvas and you also are a Mommy to a very nosy busybody of a shih tzu….
….well, sometimes your photos aren’t exactly what you were expecting. 🙂
A couple of final thoughtful details were used to really elevate the scarf into something lovely to look at and useful to wear. I made the scarf extra long, almost 80″ to be exact, so that it could easily wrap around the neck and ensure that it looks as good going as it did coming. I also added a bit of garter edging to each of the short edges of the scarf. As you might imagine, the ribbing and the cables have different gauges and different ways of behaving. The cables lay flat and don’t bias in any direction, whereas the ribbing, combined with the short rows, cause the scarf to lay with a slight inward curve that runs all the way to the tips of the scarf. This is a beautiful feature, and the garter edging just keeps the short edges looking square and uniform.
So there you have it! An adventure in cables, picking up stitches, and shaping with short rows, all employed in a super-bulky medium. Agnes was a really fun experience, both in the planning and the knitting. (Which by the way, on US 13 needles, the knitting is SPEEEEEDY! You can easily create this in a leisurely weekend.)
And a particularly exciting end is in store for Agnes: the sample will be part of an upcoming charity auction to support Hollaback!, a movement dedicated to ending street harassment (such as sexual harassment and abuse committed in public and on the street) using mobile technology. Please check out the website if you’d like to learn more about how you can become involved or spread the word to others about this great organization!
Have a wonderful Sunday, and enjoy the tiny signs of Spring on the way!