Sunday, May 13, 2007

Black is Beautiful

It is unfortunate that the photo is so terrible because this is a beautiful scarf. I wanted something warm, soft, practical and solid black and managed to hit on all four. It is knit in brioche stitch with two stands of Lacewight Baby Alpaca in black and one of Baby Ull , also in black. The ends were knit in garter stitch for 8 rows on size 9 (5.5 mm.) needles and the body was knit in brioche stitch on size 10 1/2 (6.5 mm.) needles. It has 19 stitches of brioche stitch in the center and a three stitch version of Annie Modesitt's i-cord edging on each side but the edging was unnecessary because the brioche stitch forms its own nice edge. The ribs are not as prominent as they appear in the photo--that is a distortion in the photo caused by the blinding sunlight.

This took so long to complete because I wanted to use a decorative border but could not get it to work. I cast on using a provisional cast on and, as I neared the end of the scarf, I perused Knitting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein looking for a pattern. Unfortunately, almost every pattern was knit beginning with a cast on rather than ending with a bind off or was knit side to side. I could have used one of these and grafted it on to each end of the scarf but brioche stitch isn't particularly suitiable for grafting in my opinion. So, I gave up and used garter stitch which provides a nice horizontal pattern in contrast to the brioche ribs and prevents the ends from flaring. I had used a garter stitch border previously on a brioche stitch scarf I made for my mother out of three strands of laceweight baby alpaca and liked the result. This time I substituted Baby Ull for one of the strands of alpaca because alpaca lacks the memory of wool and it is my hope that the wool will keep the scarf from stretching out of shape.

Pattern: My own, 25 stitches wide.
Yarn: Two strands of Misti International Laceweight Baby Alpaca, 80 g. (about 700 yards total) and one strand of Dale of Norway Baby Ull, 97 g. ( about 350 yards).
Needles: Addi Turbo 9 for the borders; Denise 10 1/2 for the main part of the scarf.
Size: 5.5" by 61" but the brioche stitch makes a thick fabric that spreads out easily.
Begun: Sometime in 2005.
Completed: April 20, 2007.
Helpful Hints: A simple edge works well with this stitch pattern. Choose something that will prevent the ends from flaring out. This looks lovely in three strands of laceweight yarn of coordinating colors. If you want to get the most out of your yarn, weigh it before you begin and again after you complete the first garter stitch border. Calculate how much yarn the border needed then periodically weigh your yarn as you near the end so you'll have enough available for the ending border.

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