This year my sister had a milestone birthday. Years ago we agreed on a rule of no birthday or Christmas presents for adults. Given this was her 50th birthday I decided to ignore that rule.
The planning for this gift started in June last year when I went to the Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair. I purchased 2 skeins of Luxury Merino Silk yarn from Nundle Woollen Mills. The yarn was 50% merino wool and 50% silk so it was so lush and squishy. It was perfect for a special occasion gift.
I hung on to the wool for months not knowing what I would make with it. In total I only had about 340m which limited what projects I could do. It was too much wool for a cowl but not enough for a shawl. Every month or so I would log into Ravelry and look for ideas. From the start I kind of thought of something with cables. I have mentioned it before in my head I have a list of things “real knitters” do and cables are on that list. In 2021 I learnt how to knit cables. Cables look fancy but I found them easy to do on narrow projects like scarves or headbands.
If you are not familiar with Ravelry, it is a database for all things yarn related. You can find patterns, designers, yarns. You can set different search parameters to narrow down patterns to the style or yarn weight you have. On Ravelry I found a pattern the Caswell Scarf by Janet Harvey. It is a free simple scarf pattern that has 3 cables on the front of it and 2 cables on the back. It isn’t a very big scarf but it was in 8ply yarn which is the thickness of the yarn I had. I would look at other patterns but I kept going back to the Caswell as I was really drawn to it. It was the perfect pattern but at the same time it wasn’t. It looked too small and it was only one colour. One feature of Ravelry is that you can see the makes of others who have made the item. I looked through the projects of others who made the scarf and saw that one person had made a two tone version of the Caswell. It gave me an idea.
I decided to use the Caswell pattern as a base but put my own spin on it. I would knit my own version of an infinity scarf. I had never attempted anything like this before so I was pushing myself outside my comfort zone but it was only yarn. If it failed I could just unravel it and start something else.
The Caswell pattern has a garter stitch border at either end and a garter stitch border that runs up either side. To make my infinity scarf I omitted the end borders. I did a provisional cast on with 28 stitches so that at the end I could join the two ends together to form the infinity loop. Using Microsoft Word I made myself up a colour code chart of a 12 row repeat of the cable pattern. The cable pattern is only a 6 row repeat but I decided to do 12 rows as it was easier for me to follow with a double repeat.
To make knitting easier I put stitch markers in to indicate the garter stitch borders. Knitting wise this was a really easy pattern. You were only really working with 4 stitches at a time. Between the 2 stitch markers you only had 20 stitches so you really couldn’t go wrong. I started this in January, I had the stress of surgery in the back of my mind but I was still able to concentrate and knit this. It gave me something else to focus on so in a way it was very therapeutic.
I had no idea how long the finished scarf would be. I knitted until I ran out of the first skein of yarn and then started on the second. I used 4mm needles as it was 8ply weight yarn. I thought I had a 4mm cable needle but I couldn’t find it so I use a 5mm cable needle instead. I don’t think that made much difference. The yarn was lovely and soft but it was prone to splitting so I did have to watch my stitches a little.
To join the ends I had a couple of options. I could do a 3 needle bind off but that would leave an obvious seam or I could graft the ends together. I have mentioned on here before I don’t like doing seams or grafting in yarn projects. I can do the kitchener stitch on socks to finish them but that is about the only grafting I do. I really wanted the join to look seamless so it would look professional. I’ll be honest part of this project was me showing off that I can do fancy knitting stuff. I searched Youtube and found a tutorial on how to graft in stitch pattern. It looked complicated but when you broke things you were only really looking at a couple of stitches at time. In different yarn I knitted up a mini version of my scarf so that I could practice the grafting first before I tried it on my precious scarf. The mini version sat there for weeks. Finally after my surgery and with time running out before I needed to gift the scarf I was in a better headspace and I attempted the graft on the mini. I got about halfway through it and was reasonably comfortable enough to try it on the “real” one. To be picky the seam isn’t entirely seamless (it wouldn’t win awards in a show) but for a first attempt on “real” project and with yarn that split easily it wasn’t too bad. It certainly looks neater than a 3 needle bind off. A personal reminder for next time pull the grafting thread yarn all the way through from the start leaving only a tail at the end. I had to adjust the graft through a lot of the stitches to even out the yarn once it was done.
I didn’t block this scarf partly because I ran out of time but also as it was joined as in a loop it would make blocking really hard to do. It still looks really good. The finished measurements when it is laid flat are 41.5″ x 3.5″
I am really pleased at how this turned out. I challenged myself with something outside my comfort zone. I enjoyed making this scarf. Not just the knitting side (I’m still not over cables yet) but also the design and planning side. I manipulated a knitting pattern and created a chart. I grafted in pattern. I did some fancy knitting and I am proud of that.